HE has been involved with Cork Darts now for over 30 years yet he has no intention of slowing down any time soon.
He continues to dedicate four or five nights a week to the sport he loves.
Sean Leahy is a darts fanatic.
He first joined the Cork Darts Organisation (CDO) in 1997 holding down various roles on the committee, and can also be seen every Friday night at the Joshua Tree Bar on Blarney Street running their weekly tournament with John ‘Dinnybobs’ McCarthy.
Leahy, who is originally from Ardmanning Avenue in Togher now resides in Parklands on the northside with his wife Hellen. They were blessed with four children: Emma, Jacqueline, Jessica, and John and have six adorable grandchildren.
Sean first got involved with darts when he joined the Ardmanning House Bar in the early seventies.
“I threw my first dart with the Ardmanning House Bar which was a stones throw away from the house I grew up in,” Sean said.
“Everyone involved with darts would remember the great nights in the Ardmanning, as it was one of the main bars where all tournaments finals would be held. The bar closed in 1977, and the CDO was formed.
“I have been involved ever since, firstly with the late Roy O’Donovan, who became chairman, the late Tim Jones, and Frank Goulding who is now chairman.
”The CDO also have a Ladies Committee, and they have overseen some great ladies over the years. Rita Hannigan, Mary Long, Eileen Jones, Allison Carroll, and Mary O’Connor gave a lot of time to the sport, and have done some tremendous work over the years for which the organisation is very thankful for.”
Sean moved over to the dark side when he and his wife moved the northside to buy a house in Parklands on the Commons Road.
He then formed his own team in the Boothouse Bar and brought a few of his friends with him.
Little did he know that one of them would turn out to be one of the greatest players of darts in this country — the legendary Steve Coveney.
They formed a great friendship over the years with Sean following Steve and his wife Ellen all over the country as he won every trophy that could be won.
“I started a team in the Boothouse Bar in Ballinvriskig, Upper Glanmire, and some of the lads came over from the Ardmanning to play with.
One of those players was Steve Coveney, who in my opinion is the greatest player to play darts of all time in Cork, and has won everything the game can offer.
“That’s my claim to fame, that I started Steve on his great journey, and I thought him everything he knows,” Sean said with a hearty laugh.
“However, on a serious note, I am very proud of Steve, and his achievements as he is such a nice guy who would go out of his way to help me at a minute's notice.
“When I travel to darts events at home, and abroad I would regularly get asked do I know Steve, and I’m glad to say ‘yes’. Of course, I do, as he is a great friend, and it was me who started him out playing all those years ago.
“We then moved to the northside to play with Ye Olde Tavern on Blarney Street for a couple of years before we headed across the road to play with the Joshua Tree, and we are still playing there 20 years later.”
Someone else Sean became very good friends with over the years is the owner of the Joshua Tree Bar, Bill Creagh. Bill is a great dart supporter, and he kindly continues to sponsor the CDO.
There have been some wonderful nights in the Josh with professional players playing exhibition games against some of Cork's finest players, with the likes of James Wade, Terry Jenkins, Jamie Harvey, and Simon Whitlock, all coming over from England over the years.
“The Joshua Tree became my second home over the years and I became good friends with Bill Creagh. Bill has been very good to me, and the darts community for a long as I’ve known him, as he has always supported me and the CDO.
”We started bringing professional players to the Josh over the years, and a group of lads goes over to Blackpool in the UK to watch the PDC players in the Winter Gardens every September.
”A few years ago another great friend of mine, John Dinnybobs McCarthy, and myself sat down and had a chat with Bill about running a dart tournament in the bar every Friday night.
“He gave us the go-ahead, and we decided to charge €5 to enter, the player then got a voucher for a drink, and then Bill would kindly match the number of entries.
“Just before the Covid pandemic we had 40 players entered that gave us €200 plus the €200 from Bill, so we had €400 prize money to pay out to the winner, runner-up, and the two semi-finalists.
Players from all over the city and county would make their way to the Josh on Friday nights as the atmosphere there during the games is simply electric.
“I received the Cork Indoor Sports Award in 2009 for all the work I do for darts for which I’m very proud of, as it was a fantastic occasion for my family to share with me,
“Hopefully we can all get back playing the game we love sooner rather than later.”
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