In Dublins fair City...

Monday morning was the first cloudy morning in Ireland. It had rained in the night and over the day from time to time drizzle came down.
Over night the structure of the hotel guests had changed. While on Saturday and Sunday dart players who took part in the Players Championships could be found in the breakfast room, now there the PDC officials, the PDC security and Sky Spots people sat - well and some of the players playing the World Grand Prix - Terry Jenkins and Andy Smith for example.
I had the same breakfast as every day include the "English" breakfast parts with the exception of black pudding and baked beans and than returned to my room to update the site.

Later I hit the rail into Dublin. Till two years ago that would have been a little bit difficult - there only was a bus but in 2011 the Luas was expanded till Saggart. The Luas now exists since 2008 and was build with money from the EU - one can read this at almost every station. And very new both the trains and the track system still look. The Luas drives only on the surface and has got its own track system often beside or in the middle of the main road which leads into the city centre. One needs around 50 minutes into the town. We couldn't see much on Friday evening when we first arrived in Dublin but we even than had noticed that all the station names are in English and Gaelic and are called out in both languages as well. Street names and traffic signs are in English and Gaelic as well. I have no idea whether Gaelic is still spoken a lot in Ireland - I could hear a lot of different languages in the Luas and on the roads of Dublin, but it didn't look to me Gaelic was among those.

Dublin has expanded a lot during the already gone again boom though it no where looks like the activities were really planned. The city centre is not very big and to be sure assessable. The river Liffey divides it into two parts and is accompanied right and left by main roads. In the centre there are shops and shopping centres, a lot of book and music-shops and the main attractions like Dublin Castle or Trinity College. And there are a lot of tourists which can be recognized by holding maps or guides and by taking pictures of almost everything. Some even hold the same guide as I did...

When I returned to the hotel I was tired and first needed a break. Luckily for my tired bones the venue of the World Grand Prix was not far away in an annex to the hotel. Soon I found the press room which was situated on the first floor like the players lounge. It's as small and intimate as the stage and the venue - build up out of folding walls and it had two jamming doors. As always on the first evening the atmosphere was slightly tense - that changes during the following days.

Eight matches had to be played during the night which was opened by the match between Robert Thornton and Mark Walsh and Thornton presented himself as strong as over the last weeks and Mark Walsh had no chance at all, he just was not good enough. Dean Winstanley had some problems at the beginning to settle and when he settled it already was too late - this short format doesn't forgive a slow start. Simon Whitlock didn't really play well either and Justin Pipe really deserved his convincing win. One of the highlights' of the evening was to be sure the highly competitive match between Terry Jenkins and Mervyn King - it couldn't have been closer and both would have deserved the win. This time the luck was with Mervyn King. Gary Anderson was another top ten player who was eliminated on the first evening though one has to bear in mind that he had the entire crowd against him which was supporting his opponent Brendan Dolan, certainly the crowd's hero. Phil Taylor and Kevin Painter dominated their matches. The strong playing Michael Smith lost as did Kim Huybrechts but while Smith impressed Huybrechts was rather pale. In the last match of the evening another Irish players stood on stage - young William O'Connor gave himself and his opponent - Dutchman Vincent van der Voort - a hard time. O'Connor just didn't manage to hit the winning double. He had shown great fighting spirit throughout the match but in this moment he lost his nerve and Vincent van der Voort used all his experience to win the match. One can't say the crowd shed tear over the defeat, not all had supported the Irishman and during the match one could hear a lot of "Vincent, Vincent" shouts. Probably the English spectators...

It was very, very late when the evening was over and I was very very glad it was not far to my room. In front of the hotel some rather drunken fans asked for a taxi, security blocked the hotel entrance and without a room card you didn't get far.

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