Limerick man Willie O'Connor is out of the PDC World Championship after suffering a 4-2 third-round defeat to an imperious Michael Smith.
Ninth seed Smith is one of the favourites to go all the way at Alexandra Palace and he offered more evidence of his class, but his Irish opponent did not go down without a fight.
O'Connor, ranked 42nd in the world, made the perfect start when he took the first set but he squandered the chance to make it 2-0, almost breaking Smith's throw but failing to finish. From there the game turned.
England's Smith made it a set apiece and then pulled away as he fully hit his stride but a typically dogged O'Connor kept fighting. He took a ding-dong fifth set to get it back to 3-2.
However, Smith closed it out with a 3-2 win in the sixth set to progress to the last 16.
O'Connor's Republic of Ireland team-mate Steve Lennon faces Mervyn King in tomorrow afternoon’s first game. Derry's Daryl Gurney, the highest ranked player from Ireland left in the tournament, then has a mouthwatering showdown with 2018 champion Rob Cross.
𝗥𝗘𝗟𝗜𝗘𝗙 𝗙𝗢𝗥 𝗦𝗠𝗜𝗧𝗛!— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) December 27, 2021
Michael Smith eventually closes out a 4-2 set success over Willie O'Connor, hitting TEN 180s and four ton-plus finishes along the way!
A brilliant win for Bully Boy!#WHDarts pic.twitter.com/sdrmS2qZkU
Meanwhile Vincent Van Der Voort has withdrawn from the tournament after becoming the second player to test positive for Covid-19 during the event, organisers have announced.
Van Der Voort was due to face James Wade later on Monday, but Wade will now receive a bye into the last 16.
A statement said: "Vincent Van Der Voort has withdrawn from the William Hill World Darts Championship after testing positive for Covid-19 ahead of his match with James Wade.
"Wade will receive a bye to the last 16 and Monday evening's session will continue with two matches."
Following the announcement, Wade wrote on Twitter: "Wishing Vincent a speedy recovery! #WorldDartsChampionships."
Van Der Voort's fellow Dutchman Raymond Van Barneveld tested positive after beginning to feel unwell in the wake of his 3-1 defeat to Rob Cross on Thursday night.
On Sunday, following Van Barneveld's positive test, organisers insisted all necessary precautions were in place to safeguard both players and fans at the event.