It really is evident that the Tuborg Dundalk and District Darts League is having an impact on the town when you walk through Earl street late on a Thursday night and you come across various players having conversations about “missed doubles costing us tonight” or “he hit 180 at a perfect time”.
This kind of statement is becoming common place in Dundalk as the scoring stats in the league get higher and higher. This was evident in the game between the Avenue Eagles and Commercial 1896 but even more evident was the nervousness from both sets of players when it came to hitting doubles. The first game of the night saw Daniel Dunn take on Brian Fitzpatrick. Despite Dunn winning 2-0 he was not as clinical on the finishing as he usually is and Fitzpatrick was left to rue his chances and missed doubles. This was the tone for the night in what was a very evenly matched game.
After Gerry Rice levelled the game by beating Bob Hillard the home team took out the next two games to take a commanding lead but Ian Rooney gave the Commercial a boost by beating Joe Finnegan despite Joe’s two dart 100 finish (T20 D20).
This left it down to Ray O’Brien and Alan Reenan to do battle in the final game. This was only Ray’s third appearance in a Commercial shirt and he was still searching for his first win to secure a draw. Alan has been playing well so far this season and was looking to secure a win for the Eagles. Ray was first with the big scores and he went on to take the first leg and then pushed on in the second to leave himself on D16. The pressure was put on when Alan hit 100 to leave a two dart finish but Ray took out the D16 to get his win and secure a valuable point for the Commercial team.
The First Division has shown itself to be a full of tension from week one and it continues in that vein. The Courtney’s team that started slowly are starting to gather momentum and when Anthony McEntaggart won his game against Vinnie Whitty it was the start of a whirlwind victory against an Avenue Celtic team that needed Michael McAlester to win the last game to prevent a whitewash.
The Punters Sharks moved closer to the Castletown river to Harry’s Bar, who were left slightly stunned as Shane McArdle took the first game.
The counter punch of Stephen McQuillan left the score at 1-1 but it was at this stage that Maurice Brown led the attack. Chris Murden followed suit in a great game against Liam Byrne to ensure the Sharks had secured at least a draw with two games to go.
Andy Neary fought back for Harry’s but the last game saw Ray McKenna finish the job with a 2-0 win over Frankie O’Hagan. Oriel Active travelled to the Punters Bar to take on the Dragons, and they soon put out the fire in the belly of the home team by rushing into a 3-0 lead.
Carl Thomas took out a two dart 72 finish in his game and Gary Stewart took out a two dart 77 finish to win his game but it was Patrick Taaffe who secured the win after withstanding a valiant effort from Robbie Durnin.
Patrick has been throwing well this year and this confidence showed when he hit his first 180 of the league on his way to victory.
Tony Reynolds’ win was a small consolation for the Dragons and with every game counting in relation to player rankings he maintained his good record.
The night was finished when Mickey Gartland’s win completed a good night for Oriel Active. So with the Sharks winning and the Dragons losing, the Tigers were next up for the Punters as they made their way across to the Commercial Club.
The Commercial Hawks gave another new player a league debut in the form of Mark Flynn and he didn’t disappoint when he started with a 2-0 win. This levelled the score after Colin O’Hanrahan won the first for the Tigers.
After all the double trouble suffered by their Premier Division stable-mates, the Hawks were in great finishing form with Davey Boland calmly checking out on 110 (T20, 10, D20).
This finish was only slightly bettered in the fifth game of the night by Tony Martin who checked out on 115 (T20, 15, D20). The night was ended when Johnny Knobloch overcame Paul Grimes to secure a good 4-2 win for the Hawks, who made up for their midweek defeat by the Stags White in a postponed game. Next week sees the last round of league games before the Divisional Cup 1st Round games lead the Tuborg Dundalk and District Darts League into the festive season.
Stags Red v Avenue Eagles; Stags Black v The Stags; Commercial 1896 v Jackie’s Army.
Punters Dragon’s v Kehoe’s; Courtney’s v Harry’s Bar; Stags Green v Avenue Celtic; Oriel Active v Punters Sharks.
Ferguson’s Gyles Quay v Stags White; Punters Tiger’s v Johnny Mason’s; Castle Knights v Commercial Hawks.