A phone call from a fellow Cork Darts Organisation committee member on Saturday morning last was my first hearing of the sudden passing of one of darts' most loved characters Jason Long.
It felt surreal as I tried to digest what I had just being informed of, following on so quickly on the loss of John Marshall only some days previous.
I was reluctant at first to then notify other CDO committee members just in case the information I had received was incorrect, but unfortunately it was confirmed as correct, Jason Long had passed away.
I got to know Jason Long 20 years or more ago through my work with the Cork Darts Organisation committee and my first impression of him was of a confident cocky type of guy, but once you got to know him, you couldn't help but love him.
It was at the Easter Monday Darts Gala in the upstairs function room of the Brewery Tap on Leitrim Street (Now known as Secrets) which was hosting the Beamish doubles championships.
Jason, along with his brother Damien, were partners in the championship and were beaten semi-finalists on the day and I remember Jason approaching me and asking me afterwards when would his write-up and picture be appearing in the Echo.
Jason really loved the social side of the darts get togethers on a Monday night and especially the one-day events which occurred almost every Bank Holiday Monday during the darts season.
Jason competed in the CDO leagues with his team the Island Tavern based at Military Hill near where he lived in Audley Place, a team that Jason won many team honours with over the years.
He was always at the coalface of team matters and showed great determination and confidence when he was on the oche, a trait he also showed in singles and doubles championships, he proved to be a very hard man to beat.
Jason Long won two major doubles titles and on each occasion it was with a different partner.
In January 2012 he was, along with his fellow Island Tavern partner Blaine Meighan were successful in the Beamish doubles championships and he repeated the win in January 2014 with a new partner in Denis O’Shea, following which he again asked me when would it be on the Echo, Jason just never gave up.
He was a great guy.
Darts will be all the poorer when it returns to the oche after this dreadful pandemic for another one of our colourful character’s will not be there.
The Cork Darts Organisation extends its deepest sympathy on their tragic loss to Jason’s daughter Emma, his mother Maura, sisters Sandra, Genette and Sharon and brothers Damien, Barry, Allan and Daithi and also Jason’s extended family.
Ar dheis de go raibh a anam dilis.