Willie O'Connor stuns Ally Pally with biggest upset of World Darts Championship
Never have so many large men produced movements that consistently and aggressively draw the breath from you.
Willie O'Connor is a 32-year-old in good shape but darts isn't about physical fitness and the absence of that necessity doesn't make it any less of a sport - never mind one of the most difficult, competitive and exhilarating sports on the planet.
It's very simple: if you've ever tried to hit a double anything, you'll know full well just how hard the action is. Then you have to do it with one dart to finish the leg. Then you have to do it with prize money on the line. With TV cameras in your face. With an intoxicated crowd roaring in schadenfreude anticipation of the nerves that are hanging on your fingertips.
As a spectacle, darts is perfect. Bang, bang, bang, next. Bang, bang, bang twice more and the finish of the leg is on the line and the good stuff of sport, the bottle, is there in full view for the world to mull over.
It takes something special to make it in this sport and, then, to compete consistently with the best takes something even more than that.
Willie O'Connor can say he's found it.
The Limerick native stunned Alexandra Palace on Wednesday night when he surged into Round 3 of the PDC World Darts Championship.
After losing the best first set of the competition, it looked like James Wilson was never going to be stopped as the English man averaged a ridiculous 112 but O'Connor soon put him to the pin of his collar.
Outrageous checkouts, a shared batch of ten 180s and nerves of pure steel and Munster finest darts player was on his way to the last 32 of the world.
With two sets in the back, O'Connor had 80 to finish but couldn't see it out and had to regroup again for a fifth and final set.
"I thought I blew it, to be honest," he admitted afterwards.
"But I said, 'keep the head up, keep the pressure on and he has to fold at some stage'."
Van Barneveld is gone. Peter Wright is gone. This championship is throwing up all sorts of upsets already but do not underestimate what has just happened.
Put it into context. This is William O'Connor's second appearance in the tournament. He was being blown away by a 112 average despite playing well. He had to crawl back and then had the chance to win 3-1, but he blew it in his own words and, somehow, he regrouped to average 116 in the last set and throw a 12-dart final leg to finish it out.
Wilson was favourite to beat O'Connor and he was seeded 26 in the tournament. Not tonight.
O'Connor has risen.
Watch this space.
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) December 19, 2018