Northern Ireland v Republic of Ireland

Darts - World Cup of Darts - 04 Jun 14:00

A battle of the two Ireland's, and, all truth be told, there should be only one winner. Each of the Northern Ireland players are better than their counterparts and I fully expect them to get through.

As this is the last 16 stage, it goes to two singles matches which, if one side wins one each, there will be a final doubles match.

The first match up is Daryl Guerney against William O'Connor. Guerney is ranked at 28, compared to O'Connor at 61. Here we have one player who is improving and developing successfully on the PDC circuit and another whose progress has stalled.

Guerney is becoming one of the most dangerous players to face on the circuit. His scoring power has improved and developed, as well as his results. A semi final at the Players Championship finals has been followed this year by a European Tour final. Since April he has not had any standout runs, but he has had plenty of last 16 finishes on the tour, and he has demonstrated before a capacity to improve his game up on the big stage.

O'Connor in contrast is not at the same level as Guerney. He does seem to play ok at a specific German event, the German Darts Masters, where he has reached a Quarter final and last 16 in the last two years. However, that is at a different stage to this one and he has never carried this good form into this event.

Outside of the German Darts Masters, he has not broken into even the top 16 of any tournament in the last 2 years. His form also from yesterday was particularly poor at times and I would make Guerney a big favourite in this match. He has also lost their only two meetings in the last 3 years comfortably to Guerney, with their most recent meeting this year seeing Guerney win 6-1, so I expect this form to continue.

The other match, Brendan Dolan v Mick McGowan, is certainly closer but I would still definitely fancy Dolan in this one. One time McGowan was a very good darts player. However, illness has restricted that progression and he has never improved from there. He has rejoined the tour this year. However, it has not been to much effect. Only one last 16 place on the tour this year underlines that he is still struggling to find his best game and he was not particularly impressive yesterday.

Based on the rankings, Dolan should be a comfortable winner here. McGowan at 105 to Dolan at 20 would suggest this. Dolan's recent form though does not look impressive. He has not made the last 16 of any tour event October last year.

The thing that sways me to Dolan is his record in this event, which is nothing short of superb. A Quarter Final and Semi Final in the last two years with Michael Mansell as a partner was largely to do with Dolan's impressive performances, beating Michael van Gerwen, Robert Thornton amongst others at this event. He clearly enjoys this event and raises his game for it and, for all he struggled at times yesterday, he had better flourishes of brilliance than either of his opponents today showed.

All things told then, I expect Northern Ireland to comfortably get through with two singles victories. If it does turn out that Dolan does lose to McGowan, I would say odds of 1/2 would be fair on Northern Ireland winning the doubles. The only team in the last two years to beat them in that format have been the Netherlands. The Republic had, with this team, lost in the first round last year and their doubles record reads as two wins from 6 matches in doubles in the last two years. All things told, if it came to it, I would fully expect Northern Ireland to get the job done in the doubles. I do though expect a reasonably comfortable victory for them in the singles. Therefore, I feel 1/2 overestimates the ability of their opponents and underestimates the ability of Northern Ireland.
Toby +73.60
Stake: 30 1.50Coral
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Posted 3 years ago

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