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Brilliant Ballyvourney bowler Liam Murphy wins gold on the road at the Europeans 

May 19th, 2024 3:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

Brilliant Ballyvourney bowler Liam Murphy wins gold on the road at the Europeans  Image
Ballyvourney bowler Liam Murphy throws on his way to winning the gold medal in the boys' U18 category at the European Bowling Championships. (Photo: Gretta Cormican)

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THAT fission of excitement from Friday evening’s drama on the Moors course at the European Championships remained when the competition resumed on the road at Werdum on a blissful Saturday morning. It soon gathered momentum as the boys from the competing associations undertook a ferocious battle for supremacy. 

Once again, the Irish showed their prowess, garnering a victory for the ages, firstly through the combined efforts of all four team members and, most especially, through the individual brilliance of gold medal winner, Ballyvourney’s Liam Murphy. Playing in the third match out, Murphy was bang on form, posting big figures shot after shot, yet he could not quite shake off a tenacious NKB rival, Bart Lucas, who had stayed steadfastly on his coattails. 

Murphy’s ninth, a 280-metre cannon, seemed to have done the trick until Lucas, from a long way back, pulled a miracle shot around the last bend. Marked down, it gave Murphy an extremely tricky target to beat with a gold medal at stake. Showing admirable composure, the Gaeltacht youth drilled his response to perfection and was immediately enveloped by his ecstatic teammates. 

Even then it wasn’t quite over as City’s Anthony Crowley, playing a blinder in the last score out and eclipsing his rivals in his match, had a small chance of passing Murphy’s mark with his tenth but a misjudgement here cost him an individual podium place. He finished fourth. Cathal Creedon was superb too, winning his match and only for a wayward ninth would surely have been higher than the very creditable fifth place he attained. Jonathan Deane contributed hugely too, staying on the heels of a very strong German rival Oke Goldstein, who led the way after the first score and finished third overall. Liam Murphy’s winning total was 1,824.9 metres and team gold was achieved by a whopping 470-metre margin. 

European champion Liam Murphy held aloft by supporters after winning the boys' U18 road bowling gold medal.



As in the Moors discipline on Friday, Ból Chumann girls faced stern opposition from all competing nations. First out, Armagh’s Michaela Green had to contend with a very strong home player, Nele Carstens, and an athletic NKB rival, Silke Aveskamp, second and third overall respectively, but did well enough to come third in her match, a contribution that gave Ból Chumann a bronze team placing. 

The real star of the girls’ road bowling championship was in Laura Sexton’s group. Merle Aveskamp blitzed the road, attaining a gold medal-winning total of 1,435.8, over 200 ahead of second-placed Carstens. Ellen Sexton was Ból Chumann’s best hope and she certainly gave it everything, leading her group for a while. But here FKV’s Paula JanBen came to fore in the last shots, pipping the Irish champion for fourth place by just three metres.  


The senior ladies also found it hard to keep up to the Europeans on the road. Hannah Sexton’s brilliant opening salvo had her well ahead of such luminaries as Silke Tulk and Anke Klopper after three but a miscalculation with her fourth set her back. Silke remains imperious. Looking uncharacteristically off the pace in the early stages of the last match out, she stayed in the zone and produced a blinding finish that won her her second gold of the games by a margin of over 70 metres. She carded 1,574.95 for her ten shots. 

Marelie Folkens of FKV, in the first score out with Siobhan Mackle, was second on 1,504.6, while another Dutch star Suzanne Zieverink took individual bronze with 1,471.5. Siobhan from Armagh played outstandingly well in that opening match and stayed with the silver medallist for much of the way. She finished eighth and best of the Irish on 1,378.15. Luck did not go Hannah Sexton’s way after that bright opening but her 1,276.5 had her in 11th place from 30 starters. Dervla Mallon, Geraldine Curtin, Ciara Buckley and Rachel Desmond did enough to secure a bronze team placing for Ból Chumann.  


Finally, to the German Loft arena on a balmy Sunday by the North Sea coast. The lofting specialists of FKV and VSHB take centre stage and invariably take the medals too. 2024 was no exception. 

The battle for supremacy between the German Associations is quite the spectacle and with the ‘ramp’ in frequent use, the various techniques are on full display. Irish senior men’s lofters have a good record in the discipline without threatening German dominance. Beating the Dutch for the bronze team medal is the target and this was achieved again. But it was the VSHB who again stole a march on the hosts as Mike Phlan was declared the new European champion, with a single best of 94.1 contributing to his gold medal-winning total of 269.1. His compatriot Kal Engle VSHB on 252.7 took silver and Hendrick Rudebush (FKV) 251.6, bronze. 

David Murphy and Martin Coppinger, 20th and 21st (201.65 and 201.15), were best of the Irish. There was a consistency in the Irish performances. Michael Murphy, Tim Young, Michael Bohane, James O’Donovan, Seamus Sexton, Brian Wilmot and Andrew O’Callaghan were all closely aligned inside the top 30. Their scores gave them third placed team medals by a 300-metre margin. 

Our first again were the boys and the Irish quartet of Cathal Creedon, Jonathan Deane, Anthony Crowley and Liam Murphy showed up well with lofts of 50/60 metres. Their aggregate was enough to see off the Dutch and take a bronze team placing. VSHB’s Thede Klinck, with three in excess of 75 metres, won gold, pipping FKV’s Hauke Roolfs, who had two over 80 but one at 65.85. Another FKV all-rounder, Moors champion Devin Hilmer, was third. 

The girls tried hard too but the combined efforts of Ellen Sexton, Laura Sexton and Rosin Allen were not enough to prevent the Dutch from taking team bronze. VSHB had the top two here with Inga Klick taking gold followed by Elke Carestensen. FKV’s Finja Frels was third. Having been pipped for individual gold in the underage sector, hosts FKV were to the fore in senior women. Ferenka Wilberts, with an average of 65 metres for her three throws, is the European women’s champion edging her compatriots Lena Stulke and Lene Gerjets to second and third. Ból Chumann’s ladies were down the listings – Hannah Sexton (15th), Veronica O’Mahony (16th) and Rachel Desmond (17th) the top three.


The 2028 European Championships will return to Ireland for the first time since 2008 and significantly three from Ból Chumann have been elected to officerships within the IBA. James O’Driscoll will assume the role of vice-chairman, while Caroline O’Leary and Gretta Cormican will jointly act as secretary until 2028.


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