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It was sink or swim as Aidan took on Irish darts legend Jack McKenna!

How do you play darts in a sinking pub?

Posted: 14.07.13 in Throw Like A Pro Blog category

It was sink or swim as Aidan took on Irish darts legend Jack McKenna!

The weather has been hot lately, certainly not a climate that I would associate with throwing arrows. I entered another singles tournament on 13/7/13. It was an annual, invitational tournament which tends to attract some of the county’s top throwers to Kildare’s famous ‘Sinking Pub’.

Roche’s Pub is famous around these parts. Built in the 1800’s in close proximity to the bog, it has been sinking slowly for the last 100 years. You don’t need a pint of Guinness to find your balance shifting, as I would doubt any surface, floor and bar included, are level.

This only adds to the magic of this pub, and the factors that undoubtedly influence one’s dart throwing. America’s 2010 Ryder Cup team enjoyed a visit here for a reason; it’s small, homely, and traditional while serving a perfect pint of the black stuff. A place I would recommend any darting tourists to visit if in Ireland.

I digress. The tournament had over 20 invited entrants. Finding it difficult to monitor my body heat, I needed to mix quite regularly between warm up on the oche, and warm down in the beer garden. As you know, I don’t mix darts and alcohol, instead downing pints of iced water was the order of the day.

Throwing up a hill

No excuses. During my first round, I threw poor darts. I could offer an excuse that the sweat was pumping from my forehead, but I won’t. I could offer an excuse that I felt like I was throwing up a hill at the dart board due to the sliding floor, but I won’t. It was frustrating, but none of these factors can be included in my analysis. Because everyone face the same challenges.

I took on a local opponent in Round 1. We were last up on the board, and I had spent quite an amount of time waiting around. I lost the first leg, failing to hit a treble. I did in leg two and hit D8 in approximately 24 darts. All I kept thinking was: ‘You can’t lose this match. You can’t lose this match.’

In my opinion, I should have kicked on from here. Six darts at D1, having scuppered chances on D20, D10 & D5 ensured that I found myself 2-1 behind in a race to three. Standing back, waiting to kick off the fourth leg, and I had a little chat with myself. My outlook was all wrong, my approach, all wrong, my attitude, all wrong. It was time to start thinking: ‘You can win this match. Just relax. You can win this match.’

And I did. My scoring in the fourth leg went 60, 100, 45, 100, and 100 and whilst my doubles were a little dodgy, I had levelled matters. I grasped the momentum, and went on to secure a 3-2 victory while losing half a stone in the process!!!

Seconds Out... Round Two

I tend not to get nervous anymore. Whether it’s because I am gaining more experience, an improved belief in my own ability or just because I have adopted a sense of what will be...I’m not sure. Taking on one of Ireland’s darting legends, in Jack McKenna, in round two didn’t leave me worried. Still didn’t mean I would beat him though!

For anyone who isn’t too sure, this is probably the most famous video clip of Jack. He is on the receiving end of Paul Lim’s 9 darter in the Lakeside:


He beat me 3-1 in the tournament, and while I managed to throw some good darts, they were just a little hit and miss. I managed to forfeit my tendency to study his throw and try to learn from it. Yes I love playing darts, but I would still classify myself as a more successful fan than thrower. I would happily watch the likes of McKenna and others in action, but what was more important was to stick with my routine, my action and it paid off.

I threw a lot better in my second game, and despite losing I could happily pack away my darts having lost to a better player. A legend. It was a great tournament, in the sinking pub. One that will be notched in my calendar for the years to come.

Big Year Ahead

I am taking my challenge to the next level this year. I have decided to commit myself to some of Ireland’s largest tournaments throughout 2013/14. There are some fantastic developments coming up for me, the blog and all that goes with it. Here is a provisional diary of events that are coming up:

  • Tom Kirby Irish Matchplay Championship
  • Killarney Darts Festival
  • Ladbrokes Irish Darts Championship: (A series of 6 tournaments that take place throughout the country before a finals weekend.)
  • Darts Performance Centre New Forest Masters

There is one common denominator in all of the Ireland based tournaments. Some of the Ireland’s best, and indeed the world’s best will be there. And I want to take them on, to see if I can mix it, and maybe, just maybe... Throw Like A Pro ;) 


Meet Aidan

Aidan has been a fan of darts since a young age, although he didn't pick up his first set if arrows until he was 23. In that time, Aidan has been dedicated to finding out what it takes to become a professional. He plays with two club teams in his County in Ireland.

Aidan documents his ups and downs of improving his game, and explores some of the unknown, yet crucial elements of darts such as nerves, confidence and much much more.


Aidan teamed up with the Darts Performance Centre ahead of his battle with Raymond van Barneveld 12 months ago, a relationship which he admits has "helped me to focus on certain areas that needed improvement, and the support from Paul and Andy guarantees will make you a better dart player".

Aidan throws a 23g DPC Elite Performance dart. He loves to tell people that he has now lost count of the amount of 180s he has thrown. His highest checkout in a competitive leg is 130, and the closest he has come to a perfect leg was two maximums before crippling under pressure to finish out with a 15 dart leg.


His plan is simple: to be a Pro! Follow his journey right here!

Aidan welcomes any feedback, advice or questions. You can find him on twitter:

@A_Farrelly or email: throwlikeaprodarts@gmail.com

Author: Aidan Farrelly ( throwlikeaprodarts@gmail.com )

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