WORLD CHAMPION: Newly crowned BDO Masters champion John O’Shea (right) from Cork is the top entry for this weekend’s Killarney Darts Festival

By Sean Moriarty

Some of the biggest names in World Darts will compete in Killarney this weekend in the new 2019 Killarney Darts Festival.

The three-day festival is jointly organised by the Irish National Darts Organisation and British Darts Organisation (BDO).

The biggest darts event in Ireland, and also one of the newest events on the BDO calendar, will get underway today (Friday) and will run until Sunday. There is a guaranteed prize fund of €28,000.

Newly crowned BDO World Champion, Cork man John O’Shea, is one of the star attractions.

Last weekend he produced one of darts’ greatest upsets after he won the BDO World Masters at the famous Circus Tavern in Essex.

He defeated former two time BDO World Masters champion Scott Waites in the final 6-4 in sets.

Top overseas seed for the Irish Open element of the competition is English visitor Andy Hamilton. The Stoke-on-Trent based player enjoyed a professional career between 2004 and 2015, with one of his most memorable performances coming in 2007 when he lost the World Darts Matchplay semi-final to Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor, arguably the biggest name in the sport.

His main opposition will come from rising Scottish ace Ryan Hogworth, a professional for five years. Hogworth made it to the last 32 of the World Masters last season. The third seed is Englishman David Evans, a quarter-finalist in this year’s British Open.

Nearly 400 competitors will take part in various competitions over the weekend.

Saturday’s singles tournament will count towards BDO rankings next season and Sunday’s Irish Open will be the flagship event of the weekend.

Another top Irish entry (eighth) is Francis Carragher, a semi-finalist in both the Swiss Open and the Antwerp Open championships this season.

“It is great for the town,” Kerry Darts Team Manager, Gary McCormick, told the Killarney Advertiser. “There are 380 entered for it, some very big names. Keep an eye on Corkman John O’Shea who just won the BDO championship in England.”

The 32 strong Irish Open entry list includes dart players representing France, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium.

The Women’s Open is led by English star Fallon Sherrock and Aileen de Graff of the Netherlands. The entry also includes Russian Anastasia Dobromyslova who finished second in last weekend’s BDO World Masters.