Martin Cotter hit the target during a memorable run in Cork darts

Blackpool native won it all and was inducted into the CDO Hall of Fame
Martin Cotter hit the target during a memorable run in Cork darts

The 1983-'84 Carling Doubles Darts champions Terry Power and Martin Cotter on the right, Ray Rahilly of Beamish and Crawford, centre, and runners-up Ken Blower and Pat Power, left.

WHEN people talk about some of the great darts players in Cork, the name of Martin Cotter is among those on the top of that list, as he has won every trophy that could be won.

Martin grew up in Quarry Lane in Blackpool with his father Paddy, mother Sheila, and siblings Margaret, Pat and Mary. His father Paddy was also a superb dart player and won two Murphy’s Individuals in 1964 and 1967.

Martin holds some remarkable records, as he and his father are the only father and son to win the Murphy’s Individuals championship, he also won an incredible six doubles championship in a row, winning 14 in total, and is the youngest dart player to be inducted into the CDO Hall of Fame.

Martin Cotter with his Cork Darts Organisation Hall of Fame award and his 2009 All-Ireland medal at his home recently.
Martin Cotter with his Cork Darts Organisation Hall of Fame award and his 2009 All-Ireland medal at his home recently.

Martin threw his first dart when he joined the Groves Bar in Blackpool to play with their C team in 1979.

“I started off playing darts at 16 years of age with the Groves Bar C team in the late '70s,” Martin said.

“We had some good players at the time, and I went on to win the Murphy Cup with John Dineen, Gerald O’Riordan, Seamus, Jack Cooper [owner of the bar at the time], Martin Cashman, and Tony Henry.

”I then moved up to the B team two years later, to join Willie Searls, Willie O’Riordan, and Jimmy Barry, and we won every competition that we entered that year.

“I then joined Carl Joyce’s pub, O’Mahony’s Bar on the Watercourse Road the following year, where I got to play with my father Paddy.

“I played there for a 10-year period, and we went on to win the Smithwick’s Cup, Beamish Cup, and the Cork 800 Championship with Joe O’Donovan, Jerry McCormac, Terry Power, Denis McCormac, Roy O’Donovan, and of course my father Paddy.

“I also won my first Cork Doubles with my partner Terry Power at that time. Most of the bar then moved to Dick Turpin’s Bar which was also owned by Carl Joyce, and I played there for a five-year period.”

The O’Mahony's Bar on the Watercourse Road darts team from the early 1980s. Back: Paddy Cotter, Eammon Landonan, Gerry McCormac, Denis McCarthy, Terry Power. Front: John O’Sullivan, Martin Cotter, Joe O’Donvan.
The O’Mahony's Bar on the Watercourse Road darts team from the early 1980s. Back: Paddy Cotter, Eammon Landonan, Gerry McCormac, Denis McCarthy, Terry Power. Front: John O’Sullivan, Martin Cotter, Joe O’Donvan.

Then there was a split in the Dart Organisation in Cork with the CDO going one direction, and the newly formed CPDA going another.

However, Martin stayed with the CDO and joined the Island Tavern where he won multiple trophies over a 12-year period.

He also won his first individual trophy the Guinness Cup beating the great Steve Coveney 3-1 in the final at the Ardmanning Bar.

Martin Cotter receiving the first ever Beamish Individual Darts Cup from Ray Rahilly of Beamish and Crawford also included is Martin Cotter proprietor of the Ye Olde Tavern and Roy O’Donovan, chairman of the CDO.
Martin Cotter receiving the first ever Beamish Individual Darts Cup from Ray Rahilly of Beamish and Crawford also included is Martin Cotter proprietor of the Ye Olde Tavern and Roy O’Donovan, chairman of the CDO.

He won most of his doubles championships with Island Tavern where he partnered Robbie Hendrix, John Darby and the six in a row with John O’Shea.

“I moved to play with the Island Tavern on Military Hill in the late eighties where we had a glorious 12 year period.

“One funny story from that time was when I got John ‘Dinnybobs’ McCarthy to sign for the bar.

“He’d never won a Smithwick’s Cup trophy before which is the biggest tournament and the hardest to win in Cork. I told him to come up to us at the Tavern, and he would win plenty of them. We almost came a cropper that first year as we played Auntie’s Bar from Tower in the first round.

“We were up in the Tavern on the Monday night warming up waiting for Auntie’s to arrive.

“It was getting late so I rang Roy O’Donovan from the CDO to see if he heard anything from them.

“His reply was: 'Your team were away tonight so now you will be starting next week’s leg 7-0 down' to my surprise.

“We beat Auntie’s 7-0 the following Monday night, and as the tie was level a player from each team played one another in a sudden-death play-off. 

I won that game, and we went on to beat the CIE Sports Club in the final at Arcadia.

“Job done for Dinnybobs, and we went on to win many more over the years,” Martin said with a smile.

“Again I was lucky to have some great players playing with me at the Tavern, with Sean Daly, Kenneth Morrison, Pat Driscoll, Willie Wise, Terry Power, Mick Cronin, Dennis Connor’s and Dinnybobs, all contributing to winning every trophy that could be won.”

In 2000 Martin followed his father Paddy by winning the Murphy Individuals beating Darren Dunne from St Vincent’s Hurling and Football Club 3-0 again in the Arcadia.

“I won the Murphy’s Cup in 2000, and to be honest, I threw the best darts of my life to beat Darren Dunne from St Vincent’s.

“To be fair Darren threw some great darts that day, however, I was on fire to win the championship.

”I also played for the Cork team where we won two All-Ireland’s beating Dublin in 1999, and Mayo in 2009.”

The 2009 Cork darts team that won the All-Ireland. Back: John O’Shea, Pakie O’Donovan, Chris O’Neill, Steven O’Connor, Peter Quinn, Damien O’Driscoll, John-Paul Doughall. Middle: Brendan Corcoran, Steve Coveney, Jason Kavanagh, Eddie Cull. Front: Daryl Hoggins, Martin Cotter, John Harte, Ted Cotter.
The 2009 Cork darts team that won the All-Ireland. Back: John O’Shea, Pakie O’Donovan, Chris O’Neill, Steven O’Connor, Peter Quinn, Damien O’Driscoll, John-Paul Doughall. Middle: Brendan Corcoran, Steve Coveney, Jason Kavanagh, Eddie Cull. Front: Daryl Hoggins, Martin Cotter, John Harte, Ted Cotter.

Dinnybobs turned the tables on Martin after a brief break from the game when he asked him to come play with the Tower Bar in Blackpool. Again he was very successful at the Tower Bar, however, he sadly had to retire in 2015.

“I had to retire six years ago when I lost a lower limb due to diabetes.

“It was a very difficult time, however, the darts community rallied around me doing fundraising events, and in 2017 I was inducted into the Hall of Fame and that was a great lift to me.” 

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