The PDC World Darts Championship begins on Wednesday night as the biggest sporting-themed Christmas party of the year kicks off at the iconic Alexandra Palace.
The draw for the competition took place recently with current world champion Gerwyn Price beginning the defence of his crown on opening night against the winner of the first game of the evening between Ritchie Edhouse and Lihao Wen.
Former champions Adrian Lewis, Peter Wright, Gary Anderson and Michael van Gerwen will all be hoping to get their hands on the Sid Waddell trophy once more on January 3 as the showpiece event of the darting calendar gets the added bonus of the return of fans to the ‘Ally Pally’.
On the home front, there are three players from the Republic of Ireland in the first round draw, with all of them taking to the stage this week.
First up, Carlow man Steve Lennon faces Madars Razma at 12.45pm in the first game of the afternoon session on Thursday.
Should he manage to navigate that tricky tie, the 2019 World Cup finalist will take on Polish seed Krzysztof Ratajski in the second round the following day in the final game of the afternoon.
Lennon’s Irish teammate during their historic run to the World Cup final two years ago was Limerick’s Willie O’Connor.
‘The Magpie’ will get his World Championship campaign up and running on Thursday evening against the unseeded Danny Lauby.
If O’Connor finds his way past Lauby, he will take on former BDO World champion and 2020 Premier League winner Glen Durrant in what could be a mouth-watering second round tie in the second game of the afternoon session on Wednesday, December 22.
The final Irish man in action is 2020 World Youths Darts Champion Keane Barry.
Barry, a teen sensation with enormous potential according to many within the sport, goes head-to-head with the experienced Royden Lam in the second game of Friday’s afternoon session.
The in-form Barry has a daunting tie with Welshman and current Premier League champion Jonny Clayton to look forward to in the second round if he progresses to that stage in Sunday evening’s final game.
All afternoon sessions begin at 12.30pm while the evening sessions kick off at 7pm.
Whatever may lie in store for the Irish stars descending on London this week, it promises to be a feast of darts as ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ returns.