Limerick man hits incredible, arse-saving checkout at World Championship but it's not enough 4 years ago

Limerick man hits incredible, arse-saving checkout at World Championship but it's not enough

Alexndra Palace is a tough place to bring it.

This morning, Willie O'Connor will wake up probably most regretting that he didn't really show up.

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The Limerick star can rest easy in the knowledge that he already made waves making it the whole way to his first PDC World Championship but, on Thursday night against home crowd favourite Steve Beaton, O'Connor left too much behind.

A slow. slow start is ultimately what cost the 31-year-old as he went down in the end 3-1 in the first round at Ally Pally.

But it won't be all bad memories when he reflects on his world championship debut because there were flashes of the brilliance and even nerve that has set the Irish man apart at times.

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With the game hanging in the balance and with just three darts to save O'Connor's skin, the son of Munster thrived in the clutch and he nailed a three-dart 115 checkout to keep the tie alive.

It was a moment of magic - however brief - to take away because, ultimately, Beaton was given too much of an advantage to start his championship and the Englishman finished O'Connor off anyway.

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On the opening night of what will be two weeks of thrills and spills, champion Michael van Gerwen got his show on the road with a 3-1 first round win over Christian Kist and he did what the Dutch man tends to do, wowed the crowed with a 180 to kick things off and finished with a frightening average of 107.4.

Phil Taylor is in action on Friday evening with more Irish interest upcoming on Saturday with Fermanagh's Brendan Dolan potentially in action twice as he contests a preliminary round in the afternoon session.

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  • Brendan Dolan (Fermanagh) v Alan Ljubic - Saturday
  • Daryl Gurney (Derry) v Ronny Huybrechts - Monday
  • Steve Lennon (Carlow) v Michael Smith - Wednesday

Raymond van Barneveld won't be in action until Tuesday.