The Luke Littler effect: Irish aces teach darts in schools to find new prodigy – and boost maths skills

The popularity of darts in Ireland has boomed so much there’s a shortage of darts boards – and it’s improving maths skills among kids

Leading Irish darts figures are aiming to unearth the next Luke Littler by teaching the game to kids in schools.

Reigning Irish Open champion, Shane McGuirk, has already been invited back to his old school in Monaghan to show off his skills to a room full of captivated pupils.

The Donegal darts team, who were crowned the Irish inter-county champions last month, have followed suit by taking their dart boards into a school in Raphoe.

The unique initiative is proving a winner with the schools, as darts players are renowned for having quick-thinking counting abilities that can teach good numeracy skills.

Speaking about his visit to Our Lady’s Secondary School in Castleblaney, Shane McGuirk, who will compete in the WDF World Championships at the world-renowned Lakeside in December, said it can have great benefits for the students.

Shane said: “When we had the darts day at the school, the students were all mad excited about it. They even want us back to do another. All the kids were like ‘can we do this again’.

“I know they have been asking about it in the school again. I would have loved that opportunity when I was in school. I would have loved to have played darts, even at lunchtime.

“I know most schools play sports like football and basketball, but if certain kids had the opportunity to play darts, I think they would take it.” Shane added that kids can also obtain a great social outlet from darts, as well as educational skills.

“If they started to learn the game in schools, they would most likely take the game home to practice and then get out and join a team. That’s got to be better than sitting on a Playstation all day.”

Meanwhile, Deele College in Raphoe, Co Donegal, also had some very special guests recently as they welcomed the victorious Donegal Darts Team to the school to give a demonstration of the sport to the enthusiastic students.

With four dart boards set up in the GP area of the school, team captain, Cartha Boyle and his team showcased their talents to the staff and students of the school, before making way for the students to try their hand at the sport.

Speaking during the event, Donegal’s team captain, Cartha Boyle, explained to the students that darts is a great sport that offers great competition and that it really helps people socially. He encouraged young people to take up the sport and to give it a go.

School principal Joe Boyle said he was delighted that the school was able to bring the Donegal team in and that the school plans to incorporate darts into their extra curricular activities.

He said: “I was thrilled to welcome the men and women from the Donegal Darts team to the school and there was so much excitement in the halls as our students got to try out the sport.

“We have a proud tradition of darts in our school. We have secured funding to bring dart boards into the school to help with our numeracy plans and it is a fun way for students to develop their numeracy skills while socialising with their peers at lunch-time.

Gideon Canice

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