DARTS | Stag’s Blue mark their first season together by winning the Open Shield

The Stag’s Blue team, winners of the Tuborg Open Shield. Pictured are: Tommy Joe McCartney, Raymie Carroll, Stephen Bailey, Ciaran Keenan, Stephen Bailey, John Donnelly, Alan Dullaghan and David Lambe. Missing from picture is Derek Morgan

The Andrew McAllister Perpetual Open Shield, sponsored by Tuborg, took place in the Avenue Inn recently.

With a place in the Tuborg All Ireland Championship on offer for the winners it was always going to take everyone throwing at their best to help their team to win it.

In the first semi final, the Stag’s Black played the Bodhran who raced into an early lead courtesy of the ever dependable QE Martin and Darren Ludlow — who hit a 156 checkout to win his game.

With matches being played over the best of seven legs the pressure was now on the Stag’s Black to respond or face going out early and they hit back in fine style with Anto McCabe, Paddy Kearney, Stephen Kells and Seamus Rice all winning to secure a 4–2 victory.

In the other semi-final, the Stag’s Blue played The Nest in what was always going to be a hard game to call.

The draw didn’t go the way of The Nest as they were numerically at a disadvantage. The Stag’s Blue won the first game but the ever reliable Mickey McMahon levelled the tie.

However, Alan Dullaghan, Raymie Carroll and Tommy Joe McCartney all won their matches 2–1 to make it an all Stag’s Head affair in the final.

The final between Stag’s Black and Stag’s Blue proved to be a mouth watering clash.

Mark McEvoy secured a 2–1 win over Ciaran Keenan before Alan Dullaghan levelled the match with a win over Ollie Thompson.

David Lambe threw his best darts of the season to secure a narrow 2–1 win over Neil Barry, hitting double 18 in a game which would prove to be the turning point for the Stag’s Blue. Stephen Kells then beat Stephen Bailey to leave it 2–2 with three games to play.

Raymie Carroll beat Paddy Kearney 2–0 to give the Stag’s Blue a 3–2 lead before Tommy Joe McCartney clawed his back from losing the first leg to win a thrilling game against Seamus Rice and seal the victory for the Stag’s Blue.

This was the second time that Tommy Joe had won on the night to secure victory for his team and there were great celebrations when he hit the winning double.

It was a great finish to a great night of darts with Stephen Bailey and Seamus Rice both hitting 180 and Tommy Joe McCartney hitting a 177. Along with Darren Ludlow’s 156 checkout — treble 20, treble 20 and double 18 — the quality of darts thrown was top class at times.

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