Cork's Ciaran Teehan reckons he has a shot to nothing when he takes on Ross Smith at the World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace this afternoon.

The 20-year-old qualified after an excellent year on the PDC’s development tour where he also secured a full Tour card for next season.

That was his main aim for the season so his Ally Pally debut against Smith, ranked 49 on the order or merit, comes as a bonus.

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"It’s a free shot really," Teehan told RTÉ Sport.

"The pressure is on him because it goes on his rankings. I’ll be going over to win. If I play my game I should be okay."

"My main goal was to secure my Tour card. I wasn’t expecting to get into the World Championships so quickly. 

"I have some nerves but it’s excitement more than anything else, just to get over there.

"I’ve been watching it for years on telly so to actually get up on the stage will be fantastic.

"I know everyone says it’s just another game but it’s a lot bigger than normal. That said, you have to treat it like just another game or else you’ll end up putting pressure on yourself."

Teehan, a doubles partner of fellow debutant Keane Barry, has represented the Cork county team and made the quarter-finals of the BDO’s World Masters in October.

That was a tournament won by fellow Cork thrower John O'Shea.

Teehan, who is one of a record eight Irish players at the World Championship, believes that the future is bright for darts in the country.

"I’ve seen a big difference in the last four or five years, the standard of play has gone way up," says Teehan, who plays out of the Joshua Tree Bar in Cork City.

"There’s a proper system to bring young players through. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get more than 10 players there over the next few years.

"We are closing the gap on the rest of the countries."

Teehan’s game against Smith precedes the clash of Fermanagh’s Brendan Dolan and Nitin Kumar of India.

The History Maker has won two Players Championship events this year, breaking a five-year barren spell,  and made it all the way to the quarter-finals last year.

Victory for the world number 35, at his 12th consecutive appearance, at the sport's main event over the Indian qualifier winner would set up a second round clash with two-time world champion Gary Anderson and make it a 'full Irish’ programme for tomorrow’s night’s session.

The Belcoo man would join Steve Lennon, Willie O’Connor and Barry on the card.

"Practice is going nicely," Dolan told RTÉ Sport.

"I have worked hard all year even when I wasn't getting the results at the start and I expect that to pay dividends.

"After winning two tournaments this year I am definitely going in with a lot more confidence.

"I know I can still win as I have proved.

"There will be no difference in approach this year, I’ll keep my arm lose and practice as much as possible.

"I expect to play on 'Irish night' but will not let it distract me from getting the job done in the first round.

"I will be well prepared for Nitin, I will give him respect, it will be [just] his second year to play in the Worlds. I think I have increased my standard of play over the last 12 months.

"I’ll be going in to the this with more confidence than I have ever had before, to go a very long way in the tournament."

Last night Raymond van Barneveld's Championship farewell ended in heartbreak with a shock first round exit, while Rob Cross also crashed out.

Van Barneveld's first round meeting with American Darin Young proved to be the legendary Dutch star's final professional match as he suffered a 3-1 loss in a nightmare end to his glittering career.

The five-time World Champion had received a hero's reception from the crowd as he made his way on to the sport's most famous stage but the night was to end with a cruel defeat.

"The demons won again - I never felt comfortable in the whole match," admitted van Barneveld, who announced his retirement more than 12 months ago.

"Darin played really well but I could not find anything and I am really disappointed.

World number two Cross was also left stunned, losing his opener in straight sets to Kim Huybrechts - who moved into round three, having seen off Geert Nentjes on Friday.

Huybrechts produced checkouts of 116 and 152 in a dominant display over the 2018 World Champion, who looked out-of-sorts throughout the encounter.

Sunday December 15
Afternoon Session (1230)

Kyle Anderson v Xiaochen Zong
Ross Smith v Ciaran Teehan
Brendan Dolan v Nitin Kumar
Ian White v Darius Labanauskas 

Evening Session (1900)
Arron Monk v Jose Justicia
Andy Boulton v Danny Baggish
James Richardson v Mikuru Suzuki
Michael Smith v Luke Woodhouse