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O'Shea: If an in-form Barney shows up, I could be in trouble

ESPN staff
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Tony O'Shea is a three-time world championship runner-up © Getty Images
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Tony O'Shea is relishing his upcoming group game with defending champion Raymond van Barneveld at the Grand Slam of Darts, but believes he has been drawn in a 'group of death' at the event for a second successive year.

O'Shea was drawn alongside two-time world champion Adrian Lewis and Gary Anderson during the 2012 event at Wolverhampton Civic Hall, while this year's tournament sees him paired with Barneveld and Mervyn King - who O'Shea has dubbed his toughest ever opponent.

The three-time world championship runner-up faces King in his Group E opener on Saturday, and maintained if games against an in-form champion and his toughest opponent do not get him motivated then he should not be playing television darts.

"Quickly going back to last year, I thought I had the group of death then - obviously I should have won every game but I only won the one and went out," O'Shea told ESPN.

"This one is shaping up to be very similar. Barney's in great form, he played really well in The Masters - he had a great [semi-final] game with Adrian Lewis - so he is in top form, like the old Barney. So if that Barney turns up this week, I could be in trouble.

"Form is here and now, it's not how good you were last week or maybe next week, it happens when the referee shouts 'game on'. You can be in the form of your life and still have a bad day at the office. It's up to me to make sure I have my good day, I know what I can do, I've beaten both Mervyn and Barney before so I'll be looking to do it again.

"It you can't look forward to games against these two guys, then you shouldn't be playing on the television in big tournaments. I was really excited when I heard I'd drawn Barney again, I've had some cracking games with him over the years.

"The very first World Trophy in 2002 was my first television event and I got him in the semi-finals and had a great win against him - I still remember that as I do yesterday.

"I filled in some sort of survey once of who was my toughest-ever opponent and I think I put Mervyn King down there - because he never gives in, he's a right battler.

"So I've got the current champion who is on form and my hardest ever opponent - if that doesn't get me going then nothing will."

The Grand Slam of Darts takes place at the Civic Hall in Wolverhampton on November 9-17.

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