Limerick’s Willie O’Connor whitewashes opponent in first round of PDC World Darts Championship

Willie O'Connor

Willie O’Connor encountered little difficulty as he safely navigated his way through the first round of the PDC World Darts Championship.

The second of a number of Irish players competing at this year’s tournament, Willie O’Connor enjoyed a whitewash win over Niels Zonneveld in their afternoon session on Wednesday.

Zonneveld threw some decent darts and kept the first set alive with a 110 checkout but it became apparent from early on that O’Connor was on a different level.

O’Connor, who was beaten by Gerwyn Price in the second round last year, stormed off to a lead and never looked like letting the match slip.

The Limerick thrower became the first Irishman to make it to the second round of this year’s tournament after Keane Barry couldn’t get past Jeff Smith on the opening night of the World Championship.

“I didn’t know what to expect coming into today because I hadn’t played Niels before,” O’Connor told Sky Sports after the win.

“I did a lot of research on him, I was a little nervous, watched YouTube a lot, a lot of his games.

“I was on edge coming in. In comparison to how I have been practicing I probably didn’t show a sixth of what I have been doing.

“I have been practicing pretty good. My preparation had been pretty good coming into today. I can move onto the next one now.”

O’Connor will now face Derryman Daryl Gurney in the second round, with the all-Ireland clash set for Thursday afternoon.

O’Connor is backing himself to rise to the Gurney challenge when they share the stage in front of a spectatorless Ally Pally.

O’Connor continued: “I know what Daryl can do and I know what he’s capable of. In my head, I’m thinking Daryl is going to go up there and have a 100 average and I need to at least match that, if not beat it, to beat Daryl. And if I don’t, I’m going home.

“Daryl is a phenomenal player, he’s one of the best players in the world and, at the end of the day, I’m not saying I’m the best player in the world but I know I can beat the best player in the world on my day.”

Read More About: Darts, pdc world championship, Willie O'Connor