DUNDALK darts players joined together for a hugely successful charity night in the Stags Head last week, writes John O'Brien.
The annual 3-a-side competition raises much needed funds for St Olivier's Nursing Home and the format brought out the best in local darting talent.
It also attracted some of the local characters, judging by some of the team names: The Devils Disciples, The Rogues, The Old and New and 3 Dodgers were some of the names which seemed to fit just right.
The darts were of a high standard from the very beginning and it wasn't very long before Aidan Conroy hit the first 180 of the night.
It was closely followed by Daniel Dunn who was playing with Alan Rogan and Silvio Malloca. A formidible trio who were just in the humour to cause some upsets on the night. Three fine Rouges indeed.
The other team that was fancied was Macs Black which had three county stars looking to further their success stories John Donnelly, Alan Reenan and Gerry Rice. These three lads were in fine form throughout the evening and had come with the intention of taking home the cup.
The games on the night went quick and fast with the format of best of three games of 701, and this suited the northern team of Paddy Kearney, Seamus Rice and Ray Campbell. These three gents who named their team the 'Travellers' because of their trek down from Northern Ireland. In many people's eyes the travellers were hot favourites until they met Ollie Thompson who plays with them in the Dundalk League. Ollie led his team to a great win which had the venue buzzing.
The first semi-final was between the Commercial Club team of Gerard McKeown, John O'Brien and Brian Fitzpatrick and the highly fancied Macs Black. It is testament to the high standards set by these two teams that five of the six players will be travelling to Ennis with the Louth County Panel for the All-Ireland Intercounty competition - however, it was the only non-Louth player amoung them that stole the show.
Level at one game all, Gerard McKeown decided it was show time, grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck and hit a perfectly timed 180. This woke Macs up and Gerry Rice soon followed with 126 to leave John Donnelly with 32 remaining. McKeown was once again next to the Oche, facing a 110 score. He calmly hit the 20 followed by a treble 18 and then without a blink of an eye hit the double 18 to sink Macs Black. An excellent under pressure finish which caused the venue to go wild.
The other semi final saw Stags United - a mix of all teams from the Stags Head, Paddy Gibney Mick Murtagh and Andy Mackin - take on he Rogues of Dunn Rogan and Malloca.
This semi-final hwas as intense as the first with the Rogues taking the first leg with Alan Rogan hitting the double first. The stags replied with Mick Murtagh finishing 54 in a professional manner. The last leg was nip and tuck and both teams were soon at a double. Andy Mackin had three darts at double top to win the match but missed and Silvio Mallocca took out double 12 to take his team into the final.
As expected the decider was a close game but Alan Rogan was in great finishing form and took out 117 to show the Commercial lads that he meant business. The second leg was a dog fight with John O'Brien hitting 140 to gain some breathing space for his team only for Daniel Dunn to reply with 100 straight after. This spurred his team on and they were first to a double and the title of Old Folks Champions 2013
The aim of the night was for a good night of darts and to raise funds for a worthy cause and both of these goals were achieved with over €700 raised in total. The organisers would like to thank everyone that attended and who played in the competition. Special thanks has to be go to the management and staff of the Stags Head and to Mr Brendan O Rourke and his lovely wife for providing the food on the night and to Sean Maxi Kavanagh who took the pictures on the night.
All League competitions return next week so keep practicing!