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Ireland's O'Connor clinches big win to book third-round spot at World Darts Championship

The Limerick man will go on to face Michael Smith.

Willie O'Connor celebrates after his win over Glen Durrant.
Willie O'Connor celebrates after his win over Glen Durrant.
Image: PA

IRELAND’S WILLIE O’CONNOR has booked his spot in the third round of the World Darts Championship after a 3-0 victory over Glen Durrant at the Ally Pally.

He will now go on to face Michael Smith, who is ranked ninth in the world and is a former World Championship finalist.

Limerick’s O’Connor dropped just one leg in a comprehensive straight sets win over the former Premier League champion and three-time BDO winner.

O’Connor, who is ranked 42nd in the world, made the brighter start after a 170 checkout in the first leg and controlled proceedings from there.

“It was a good finish to start the game, “O’Connor said after his win. “I put him under the cosh from the start. 

“I thought Glen threw pretty well in the first set. Obviously, I didn’t think he played fantastic but he didn’t miss much. He kept me under pressure.

“I scraped the first set, but when I came back after the first set, he didn’t turn up.”

When asked if he felt Durrant crumbled under the pressure, O’Connor replied:

“I hate to say the word ‘crumbled’ but yeah, he wasn’t the same man he was. It’s very hard to prepare for someone, especially when you know they’re not in form. You can’t really focus on yourself, which you should but somehow you get dragged into their game because you’re focused on what they do.

“And that did happen.

“I thought I threw alright [for] the first while but I didn’t keep the pressure on and I dipped with his game a little bit. Towards the end of the game wasn’t great.”

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Remarking on his progress to the third round, O’Connor said:

“This is where big things will happen, whether or not they’re for me, they’re going to happen for someone.

“I’m going to be here involved after Christmas and please God it’s going to be me that’s involved in the big things that’s happening. I can’t play like that in the next game. If I play like that, I’m going home.

“I just hope Michael [Smith] drops his level a little bit because he’s the man of the tournament.”

BTL 5

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