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Aidan reports back from his "PDC Experience"!

My Weekend at the PDC Pro Tour in Killarney-Part 1

Posted: 24.10.13 in Throw Like A Pro Blog category

Aidan reports back from his "PDC Experience"!

Two years ago, I set out to become a professional darts player. I have had my ups, and my downs. During this fantastic weekend in Ireland, I got my first real sense of what it would be like to play this game for a living.

The INEC Killarney welcomed the elite in professional darts players between the 18th – 20th October, bar five or six who opted out of competing for various reasons. It’s the only tournament I know of, bar the UK Open, where amateurs have the opportunity to mix it with the pros, either by paying straight in to the main event, or attempting to qualify on the morning of each day.

The standard, exceptional. The atmosphere, second to nothing I have experienced before. The feeling you get when you win a game in front of a crowd, on a PDC board, well I couldn’t tell you because I didn’t win a game! But that’s ok.

Here’s how it all went!

Friday October 18th – The Irish Masters


11.30am           Bags packed. Spare stems, flights and socks all packed. Set out from my house, facing the three and a half hour drive to Killarney.


3.30pm             Arrived at the Gleneagles Hotel. Greeted by exceptional staff that looked after us all weekend. Up to the room, grab a quick shower and bag down to the restaurant for a quick bite to eat.

4.40pm             Make the short walk from the restaurant to the INEC. Check in at the registration desk for the Irish Masters. The pros use this tournament as a nice warm up for the Pro Tour events. The amateurs hope to draw one of the big names in the opening round. Time to check the draw…


4.45pm            Jamie Caven!!!!!


5.00pm             It took 15 minutes for me to come back around. It was what I had hoped for, yet when you see your name beside Jamie Caven, your heart sinks a little bit. I have played loads of pros in exhibitions, but this was different. It was competitive. Cue the nerves!


5.05pm             The tournament was beginning at 6.00pm, so I spent an hour on the practice board, getting myself warmed up. Expectations were quite clear in my head; just throw your own game, keep the head down when you’re not throwing and pay no attention to your opponent. The warm up was going ok, I was comfortable.


6.00pm             The boards were cleared, to allow the competition to start. I had two preliminary games on our board to watch before my turn. This was tough. I was idle; I wasn’t throwing, only thinking. Thinking about the game, what I wanted to do, what I didn’t want to do. This was 45 minutes of torture to be honest.

6.45pm             Time to go. As soon as the final double in the second prelim game was secured, I jumped on to the board. I like to keep it simple just before a game, so I just kept throwing at the bull. I was on my own for two minutes, before Jamie arrived.


6.55pm             It was the first to four legs. Jamie won the bull and it was time to go. A crowd had surrounded the board, all desperate to see Jabba up close and personal. In quick summary, I lost 4-0 but was happy with how I threw. Plenty of 100’s, a couple of 140’s and in general, I could hold my head high after that performance.

7.20pm             I grab a drink, sit down and begin to analyse. Nerves have always been an issue for me, yet I reflected that during that game, I felt none whatsoever. I was very relaxed, and stuck to my plan. I didn’t look at anything other than the board or Jamie’s heels. No distractions. And it certainly helped.


11.30pm           Time for bed. It felt like I was leaving when the party was just getting started, but I had two very early starts ahead and wanted to put my best foot forward. Sleep time.


Saturday 19th October – PDC Pro Tour Qualifying Event 1


7.10am             Yep, you’re reading it right. It was still dark when I woke up. In to the shower, and straight down to the INEC once again.


7.30am             Breakfast wasn’t served until 8.00am, so I decided to go down to the venue, register, throw for a little while and go back for breakfast before throwing at 9.00am. It didn’t work like that, and this could have had a negative influence on my game.


8.30am             I have been throwing for about 45 minutes at this stage. Chants of ‘It’s too early for this’ echo throughout the room. I needed to win two games in order to qualify for the main event. I had a cup of coffee, and sat down for a few minutes before we got going.     


9.00am              And we’re off. A worse start to a game I couldn’t have hoped for. 2-0 down, and I couldn’t throw a straight dart. In those two legs, I don’t think I even through a 60, never mind hitting a treble. I managed to pull it back to 2-2, and I was awake.

                        I’ll be honest. Thoughts of seeing my name in the main draw began to creep in. Stupid stuff I know, but I should acknowledge it. I was confident. Full of self-belief that I had my opponent in control, and I could see this one out. At 2-2, I stepped up to the oche needing 88.

                        Aiming for T16, it drops in to the T7 bed. Ok, think. T17 leaves D8. Go. Bang. T17. Ok, go for it now. Don’t be afraid of it. Bang. Yes. Oh wait. No. It nestled on the bottom wire of the D11. Sick. My opponent comes in to take away 56. Sick.

                        I am convinced if I had won three legs on the trot, there would have been no coming back. But the momentum was gone, the head dropped and a clinical final leg from my opponent left me walking to breakfast with that frustrating knot in my belly that wasn’t hunger pangs.


11.00am           I had some lovely food, and decided to head in to Killarney for a few hours for a walk. We came back to soak up some atmosphere in the Pro Tour event. Whilst throwing was very important for me this weekend, trying to steal some pointers from other players was important too!

                        The standard of the PDC circuit is simply astonishing. It’s only highlighted when you can stand five feet away from the likes of Ricky Evans, Peter Hudson, Darren Webster, Mick Todd and see that they are just as capable as the faces we see regularly on TV. It’s scary really!


7.00pm            I didn’t throw for the rest of the day. Went for dinner, and an early night again. 

Sunday in Part 2 Tomorrow!

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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