Saturday night saw the annual Glencolmcille darts league finals night in Roarty’s Bar. And with the crowd gathering from early evening the tension at fever pitch between the players that practiced away from the main arena before they were called like Gladiators in ancient Roman times.
The first set of players through the gates were Liam Donegan, Noel McDevitt and Anthony Gallagher who took on John Con Mcginley, Martin McBrearty and son, Ryan, In the 3 man team competition.
It was the team of Liam Donegan that drew early blood in the practice room, but this was shortlived as team “Con” got off to a flying start with scores of 140 and 100 and a 102 checkout to take the first leg. The second leg followed the same pattern with big scores from the McBrearty boys and this time the leg finished by Ryan with a 68 finish. The third and final leg saw a closer leg and coming down to the wire but it was Martin McBrearty who took the crucial double to earn a fine 3-0 win and claim a fine win for his team Paddy Power had predicted earlier in the week that this was the form team!
Next through the gates and into the main arena were the Doubles, a youthful team of Hugh Doherty and Jamie McNern against some more elderly and hardened campaigners in John “Riva” Kelly and Anthony Gallagher. But it was the young guns that took the first leg in fine for with Hugh Doherty hitting two 140s and cleaning up the double to take the early lead. The second leg saw much the same from the whippersnappers and again Doherty and Mc Nern hit big scores to take a 2-0 lead. It was then time for the old boys to start to show what they can do and took the next leg with good scoring from Kelly and Gallagher. The game was levelled up as Anthony left on 40, hit double 2 then double 19 to square up the match.
Down to a last leg decider and this is where Mc Nern and Doherty came out flying, hitting steady tons to take a commanding lead. The double was swiftly hit by young Hugh to take the match 3-2. Jamie has played four finals and won all 4 on finals night!
The finals night was put on hold for a brief moment as a surprise guest entered. Martin Holland walking around Ireland for “Coast for Cancer” was welcomed in and got a great reception as his fundraising walk around Ireland hit south west Donegal.
The eagerly awaited Youth final was next on the cards and it was between Colin Doherty and Aidan McGinley, both coming from darting dynasties and definitely not the last time these young men will play in finals. The future is bright as the youth league has proved to be very successful in bringing on the talented young me of the future. But back to the action! It was Colin that steeled early in the first leg scoring very heavily with steady 60s and a couple of tons to set up a finish on tops, but early game nerves saw him almost blow this as young Aidan narrowly missed tops for a 151 checkout but Colin cleaned up and led 1-0 Game on!
Aidan then levelled things up and took the second leg with a fine double 10 to leave us all square in this race to 4. But it was Doherty that took the next two legs in 22 and 23 darts to lead 3-1 and be one away from his maiden title. But Colin is made of stern stuff took another one back and hit 2 x 140s in this leg to leave the deficit at one. The nerves were jangling and tensions were high and this was amongst the crowd! So fair play to the young lads that held their nerves! So what proved to be the last leg of the mat was also the best with 5 tons in this leg, three from Colin and two from Aidan, but it was Colin that took the crucial double 10 to take his first singles title; a very proud moment for all the Doherty family in attendance and commiserations to Aidan, but it takes two to make a great final
As the crowd now gathered to near capacity we had the build up to the B section final and with David Gillespie performing his annual MC duties to announce the finalists of Dylan Curran, son of Michael Curran and Noel McDevitt from John Eoinin’s Bar. Both playing in their first singles finals and it was Noel that settled much the quicker and took a steady 2-0 lead head start. Dylan then hitting a 140 in the third leg hit the double first to get him off the mark. Missed darts by both players saw the fourth leg go to Mc Devitt but Dylan missed doubles here to level things up Noel now leading 3-1 and two away from victory. Dylan then got within one again as he finished double 8 to the roar of the travelling crowd to get within the elusive one leg from the steadiness of McDevitt. Noel then extended his lead again to lead 4-2 and was now at “the Hill” and within touching distance of the title. Missed doubles saw Noel lose this leg and Dylan took this out to trail 4-3. As what proved to be the last leg saw Noel throw a steady leg and hit the double 16 to claim his first singles title. Congratulations to Noel and hard luck to Dylan; it won’t be the last we see of this young man, mark my words!
And then it was time for the Big One as they say! Defending champion Dermot McGuire, appearing in his third final in-a-row, against the man that beat John Con in that epic semi-final Kieran Carr. The waiting was over and it was time for the Darts to do the talking and it was Kieran that took the bull in the practice room and took every advantage he could against the defending champ. But it was Dermot that took this leg finishing tops in a 20-dart leg! Two x 140s in the next leg from McGuire saw him take tops again for a 16-dart leg. A good leg from both players here but it was McGuire again taking this one in 18 darts with a double 10 finish. Five perfect darts to start the fourth leg saw Dermot in unstoppable form taking the fourth leg in 20 darts to lead 4-0 and averaging in the mid-80s at this point in the match! Kieran then started the following leg with a 140 but Dermot followed with a matching score; clearly with momentum now Dermot also took this leg in 16 darts to lead 5-0.
The brilliance of McGuire continued as he another 16-darter to lead 6-0. Kieran started the following leg with a 180 and a roar from the crowed that inspired him to get his first leg on the board to trail 6-1.
The final leg of the match proved to be the only leg over 20 darts but still a great final with Dermot hitting the double 4 to take back-to-back titles. Is there any man out there than can stop this man! Just some stats from the final
22 scores of over 100 in eight legs of darts; 2 180; 7 out of the 8 legs under 20 darts!!!
So that was another fantastic finals night. Thanks to all the players and organisers and anybody that took part in any way through the year. It was beyond doubt one of the best finals nights ever seen locally!
Roll of honour Juniors
Junior Doubles Winners: Ryan McBrearty and Shaunie Boyle
Juniors Doubles Runners Up : Ronan Gillespie and Liam Donegan.
Junior top of league: Liam Donegan
Junior most 180s: Ryan McBrearty (6)
Junior highest checkout: Pauric McShane (129)
Junior overall Runner-up: Aidan McGinley
Junior Champion: Colin Doherty
Roll of Honour Seniors.
Team runners-up: Anthony Gallagher, Noel McDevitt, Liam Donegan
Team Winners: John Con, Martin McBrearty, Ryan McBrearty
Doubles Winners: Hugh Doherty, Jamie Mc Nern
Doubles Runners up: John Kelly, Anthony Gallagher.
Section B Runner-up: Dylan Curran
Section B Winner: Noel Mc Devitt
Most 180s: John Con Mc Ginley (15)
Highest Checkout: Liam Donegan (164)
Least darts: John Con (4 x13)
Most improved player: Aidan McGinley
Top of the league: Dermot McGuire
Overall runner up: Kieran Carr
Overall Champion: Dermot McGuire.