This week our interview is with the Northern Ireland International player Paul McDonald. Paul has been around the darts circuit for a good few years now and is a quality player, who is one of the nicest guys on the circuit. He has won 25 out of his 45 International matches over the years and is regularly at the business end of tournaments county competitions. Paul has been to the World Masters and WDF Europe & World Cups. It is my pleasure to interview him for our readers this week.
We know you are an NI International and County player for Area 2D, but how did you start throwing darts?
I just started throwing in the house with my dad when I was about 15 and then I joined the local team when I was 17
Who have been your role models or inspiration – not necessarily in darts?
When I first started darts, like most young people, my father was my role model but when I started to take darts a bit more seriously, The King Of The Coast, Charlie Meban took me under his wing and gave me a lot of advice, most of it was good.
What was your first big competition win and who was it against?
I know a lot of people will say it’s not a big win but it was to me, when I started playing I won the Glens League Individuals in my 2nd year in darts. To beat someone like Leonard McKeegan Snr in the final was a great win for me.
You have done well this year on the NIDO Counties finishing in the top 12 averages – how do you keep going?
I stopped playing darts for a few years due to work and so when I started back I had the hunger for darts again. To prove to myself I could still play at the top level, the younger generation didn’t know me so it was nice to beat a few of them.
Recently you’ve been selected for the NI Team for the Celtic Challenge coming up on the 23rd of March. How do you feel going into the tournament? What are our chances?
I cannot wait for the Celtic Cup, it’s great to try and prove myself against some of the best players in Britain. Northern Ireland are the defending champions, so we obviously hold a great chance as we look to have a strong team on paper.
Will this be televised or streamed, so our viewers can watch?
I don’t know if its definitely being streamed, but it will hopefully be on YouTube. (NI Darts will provide a link if streamed)
How do you cope with the pressure of performing on stage? Is this a learned skill or are you born with it, in your opinion?
I think that you have to enjoy it, the whole point in playing is to get to the later stages of tournaments and to play on stage, so if you don’t enjoy it what is the point in playing.
How would you practice for a competition – do you have a set routine – could you share some of that with our readers?
I don’t do nearly enough practice as I should but I like to arrive early at a competition and get a couple of hours practice in before I start a competition, to get rid of any cobwebs. But I know I have to do more.
Any tips of the trade – What do you do to relax?
To relax its a couple of drinks for nerves and just talk and enjoy the good company of the other players.
Do you have a funny darts related story that you can share with our readers?
I have lots of stories but unfortunately not many I could share with readers! Herbie Balmer knows what I mean…
Do you have any message to our readers or anyone you want to thank such as family or sponsors etc – or anything else you want to specially mention?
For the sake of my life I better thank my wife Jill first who never watches me but always wants to go, don’t know why. I want to thank Keith(Tina) Turner from Kilgad Fish Farm and of course Johnny Cree at NI Darts for their sponsorship. Darts can be quite expensive to play and so all help is greatly appreciated.