Leinster Darts battle set for Newtown
THE 2019 Leinster Darts Championship will be hosted by the Parkview hotel in Newtownmountkennedy over the weekend of January 19 and 20.
This will be a historic event for darts in Wicklow as it’s the first time for the county to host such a prestigious event, the second most important in the calendar after the All Irelands.
The weekend kicks off on Saturday morning at 11am with the Leinster Youths championship. The stars of the future from the eastern province will compete for the trophy with some of our own home-grown boys matching up with the best of them.
Saturday evening at 6.30 p.m., the Wicklow open singles competition will take place. This is an open event and all players are welcome to compete.
Sunday sees the main event of the weekend with the annual ladies and men’s team competitions taking place from 11 a.m.
Reigning Leinster champions Kilkenny and All-Ireland champions Meath will be the teams to beat but with Wexford, Offaly, Dublin and our own Wicklow competing it promises to be a super showdown.
Reflecting on Wicklow’s chances, new county manager Mick Lott was optimistic.
‘I am delighted to see the county hosting such a massive event and to be manager of a team going in the right direction is a massive thrill. We have a fighting chance, and, on our day, we know we can beat any side in the competition. Hopefully that day is January 20.
‘My assistant Pat ‘Bomber’ Murphy and I have worked extremely hard over the last few months and we have had great success in the invitational events throughout the province.
‘We have a great support network behind us with John Byrne, Eamon Franey, Alan Dignam and John White. We are delighted with progress so far.
‘The team is full of quality and a great mix of young and old who have taken a real liking to the new averaged based system we have used to select the panel. We feel this has provided for a stronger team selection and a resurgence in Wicklow darts.
‘We have nominated Wicklow’s most storied player, Martin ‘The Legend’ O’Connor from Rathnew as captain. His enthusiasm and drive have motivated the team. We are confident of a great year and hopefully the Leinster championship is the start of something special,’ he added.
‘Wicklow’s second team, led by Bray man Robbie Hammond, will also be flying the Wicklow flag and with the talent on his team they can do serious damage in a top-class competition.