CORK darts ace John O’Shea is still coming to terms with the nature of his great win at the World Masters which were held in the Circus Tavern, England recently.
The Knocknaheeny native produced a brilliant final display which enabled him to defeat two times world champion Scott Waites.
“It was unreal. It has still to hit home. To win a world title is brilliant. It was without a doubt the biggest win of my darts career. I am one of only two Irish players to have ever won a darts major. That is a great honour. I am very proud of that statistic."
He entered the World Masters tournament in hope rather than very confident fashion as he elaborated.
“I wasn’t holding out too much hope. However, at the same time, if you enter any tournament you are always hopeful of a good run. If someone had told me before the tournament I would go all the way, I would have got an awful land. I prepare for every tournament the same.
"I am limited with regards my training programme as I am combining work and darts. The tournament went very well for me.
"Coming into the final, I didn’t have a nervous bone in my body, even though I knew I was coming up against a very good opponent. I was at ease with myself. I was playing well. I was enjoying myself. The Circus Tavern is a great venue. It is iconic. It is the home of world darts. There was a great atmosphere there. It was some feeling to win the final. Thankfully it all worked out for me.”
'The Joker' was afforded a great reception upon his return home to Cork. He was greeted by a huge crowd at Cork Airport, which included family, friends, neighbours, darts colleagues and well-wishers keen to congratulate him on his great triumph.
“It was a very proud moment to arrive in Cork having won the World Masters. Coming home a world champion was a great feeling. It was very emotional seeing the big crowd there. It meant a lot to me. I have been inundated with messages since I came home. The support and goodwill from the people have been great. My family have been a huge help. There has been a lot of hard work gone on behind the scenes. I am so glad to have won it for them. They have been such a huge support throughout my career.
"Laura is great. She has always been by my side. Her advice before the final was unreal. She just told me to ‘go out and do it for myself and cash in’. It simplified everything. After all my hours preparing for this night, playing in clubs and pubs, this was the biggest moment of my career. Her advice was straight and to the point. I did it for her.”
What makes John’s success all the more impressive is the fact that he only took up playing darts at the relatively late age of 17.
“It is a great game. It is great for the mind. You are always using your head with regards numbers. Getting the sequence right in darts is huge. Staying calm is vital in darts.”
One of the rewards for John winning the World Masters BDO is an invitation to the prestigious World Championships which will be held in the O2 from January 4-12.
“It will be a massive occasion and experience. It will my first time taking part in the World Championships and there is no reason why I can’t win them either. I will train away, go over and do my best. If I continue to stay close to the top of the rankings, I will pick up enough points to participate in the World Championships the following year also. Winning the World Masters will open a lot of doors for me.
"There is talk of competing in a grand slam event which would be great. My character The Joker fits in very well with the promoters and the audience. I always aim to entertain.”
He trains for two to three hours every night, seven days a week.
“I always knew there was a big win around the corner. I didn’t know where or what tournament it would be. I made the quarter-finals in the European Cup singles event earlier this year. I won a bronze medal with the Irish team. It is always a great honour to throw darts for Ireland.
"I have sacrificed a lot in chasing my dream. I am very grateful to my employer and my sponsors for their help down through the years. Hopefully my recent success will help attract more sponsors on board. I am hoping to get a sponsor for the tournament in the O2 or even on a full-time basis. If I can get that, I can then fully concentrate on darts. I can just train away, show up and play darts. That is my dream.”