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Ireland well represented at the 2019/20 PDC World Darts Championship

Cathal Mullaney
Cathal Mullaney

05:32 13 Dec 2019

As this year's PDC World Darts Championship gets underway at the Alexandra Palace, Irish players are set to feature prominently. 

A total of eight players from the island will take to the oche in the hope of being crowned champion on New Year's Day.

Down's Kevin Burness goes up against Dutchman Jelle Klaasen from 7pm in a first-round clash tonight and is the first Irish player into action.

Burness will return to the stage later in the night if he wins for a second-round meeting with the defending champion, Michael Van Gerwen.

One Irish player, in particular, catches the eye: Keane Barry.

Aged just 17, the Meath youngster goes up against the experienced Vincent Van Der Voort of the Netherlands in the Monday evening session - a session that could be unique for Irish darts.

Should Belcoo's Brendan Dolan overcome Nitin Kumar in his opening match on Sunday afternoon, the Monday evening session could see an Irish player involved in every match.

Steve Lennon opens his campaign against Englishman Callan Rydz; William O'Connor goes up against Finland's Marko Kintele, the aforementioned Keane Barry takes on Vincent Van Der Voort, and two-time winner Gary Anderson awaits Brendan Dolan should he come through his first-round tie.

Before Dolan plays on Sunday, Ciaran Teehan takes to the oche for his clash with Ross Smith, while Mickey Mansell faces Seigo Asada on Wednesday.

The last Irish player into action is the highest-ranked of the eight; Derry's Daryl Gurney, who is currently in sixth place in this year's order of merit, begins on December 21st against either Justin Pipe or Benjamin Pratnemer.

The focus of most viewers of events at the Alexandra Palace over the next three weeks is likely to be set on the fortunes of two Dutchmen: the reigning champion Michael Van Gerwen, who is tipped to retain his crown,  and Raymond Van Barneveld, the five-time world champion who plays in his final World Championship before retirement.

'Barney' won his only PDC world title in 2007, when he overcame Phil Taylor is what is widely regarded as one of the best finals in the history of the championship.

The championship runs over the Christmas period, with the final scheduled for January 1st.

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