Roscommon Menís Intercounty darts team followed up their Pete Donlon Cup success over Longford ten days ago with a run to the Quarter Final of the INDO All Ireland Intercounty Darts Championships in Castlebar at the weekend.
Saturdayís group wins over Offaly (7-5), Cavan (8-4), and Clare (7-5) meant Roscommon finished on top of their group. Opposition in the last eight was Wexford who disposed of Roscommon at an earlier stage last year. However, unlike Saturday last, Roscommon failed to make the desired start on Sunday. Wexford built up a 4-1 lead and despite best efforts, a 7-2 defeat could not be stopped. The run equals Roscommonís best efforts in recent years, having lost at the same stage in 2008 and 2009.
Bad weather since early December and a short Christmas break meant that the menís intercounty panel had not played together until mid January. Familiar and new faces from within the Roscommon Darts League put in a great effort within the past three weeks to play well enough to make the Last 8. Four wins in five outings, making it a good three weeks overall.
Roscommon 7 Offaly 5 (17-12 on legs).
Saturdayís group games paired Roscommon with Offaly, Cavan and Clare. Early performances were steady, although early nerves played their part. In Round 1 Offaly held leads of 3-2 and 4-3 and proved hard overcome. Mick Egan and Mick Kilroe got the ball rolling with wins. Offaly took the next three before John Paul Feeney used his best performance of the weekend to level 3-3. Offaly took the 7th game, but Patrick Tansey and Sean Fleming replied well to give Roscommon a 5-4 lead. Offaly took the 10th game followed by impressive and very important wins from Gerry Owens and David Concannon.
Roscommon 8 Cavan 4 (17-10 on legs).
Round 2 pitched Roscommon against Cavan where Roscommon burst into a 5-0 lead. Wins from Mick Egan, Mick Kilroe, Wayne Harris, Paul Carton and Paddy Connaughton seen Cavan take only two legs. From here games were swapped right till the end as John Paul Feeney dipped in form but was still unlucky not to make it 6-0 after putting in an opening leg that deserved more. Tony Thacker in his only display of the weekend made it 6-1. Patrick Tansey was beaten in game seven just before Sean Fleming put in a very good display to make it 7-2. Gerry Owens won game 11 as Lenny Docherty and David Concannon suffered defeats in games 10 and 12.
Roscommon 7 Clare 5 (18-15 on legs).
Roscommon produced some of their best darts of the weekend in this clash against a much-improved Clare side on recent years. For the third time on the day Mick Egan and Mick Kilroe got Roscommon off to a perfect gaining a 2-0 lead. Clare pulled it back to 2-2 as Wayne Harris and Paul Carton failed to hit the mark. Paddy Connaughtonís win over talented Clare youngster Sean Lahiff was crucial to the Roscommon effort as he produced a great display to restore Roscommonís lead. Connaughtonís win inspired Sean Fleming to put in his best display of the weekend as he struck home checkouts of 96 and 100 to put Roscommon 4-2 up. The last six games were won in the deciding leg. A win from Sean Finan was followed by wins from crucial wins Gerry Owens and David Concannon booking Roscommonís place in Sundayís quarter finals.
Roscommon 2 Wexford 7 (6-14 on legs).
Mick Egan opened up strongly against the darts in a high scoring opening leg against Noel Redmond. But a couple of missed doubles proved costly. Egan worked his way down to 48 in a good second leg but Redmond lashed in a 142 checkout to take the opening game. Despite missing a heap of doubles in a high scoring 1st leg, Mick Kilroe held his nerve to take a 2-0 win over Andrew Kavanagh to get Roscommon on the board. Despite the best efforts Gerry Owens and Sean Fleming, they went down in games 3 and 4 beaten with 14,15,16, and 17 dart legs. Jason Cullen striking checkouts of 142 and 54 against Fleming. Things got worse as John Paul Feeney was just pipped in game 5. Paddy Connaughton made it three wins from four on the weekend with a deserved 2-0 win over Andy Kavanagh to pull one back for Roscommon. But that was as good as the scoreline was to get. An under par Sean Finan had the odd chance but was beaten in game 7. Wayne Harris improved on his Saturdayís performances to put it up to highly rated Stephen Byrne. Harris took out a 125 in a 21 dart opening leg to hold his throw. But 15 and 16 dart legs from Byrne put Wexford one away from victory, despite the steady scoring of Harris throughout. Game 9 was to be the last as recent A1 Roofing Ltd Singles Winner an improving Paul Carton was beaten 2-1, bringing Roscommonís involvement to an end.
The Late Martin Hannon
The entirety of Roscommon County Darts was saddened last Thursday to hear of the sudden death of Martin Hannon, Roscommon town. For over three years Martin had been kind sponsor and supporter of Roscommon County Darts. The County Panel had met in Hannonís Hotel last Wednesday night week for a practice prior to the weekends All-Irelandís, with Martin speaking with players on the night. He was always friendly and obliging, making sure that everything ran as smoothly as possible before and during and after darts events at his venue. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and hotel staff at this time. May he rest in peace.
The Roscommon Youths Darts team takes part in the All Ireland Youths Intercounties next Saturday and Sunday in The West County Hotel in Ennis, Co. Clare. Roscommon have been three time Champions in 2004, 2005 and 2008. Managed by senior team player Sean Fleming and Tommy Beirne the team stand every chance of doing well on the weekend. All players and supporters from within the League wish the panel all the best. Travelling support is welcome.
The Paddy Higgins darts tournament details will be available soon. Also the dates for the Martin Kelly Cup and the previously postponed Tommy Kenny Cup darts tournament will be available shortly. News on all will appear on Facebookís Roscommon County Darts page and at www.rosdarts.com
League action returns next Friday night the 11th of February with the following fixtures at 10 pm: Timmyís v Hollywood; Creatonís v Flanaganís; McDermottís v Widow Patís; Spellís v Kateís. The Chariot Bye Nights game takes place Friday night with draw made. Winner qualifies for finals night.