Ból Chumann’s thirty-player panel travel to Meldorf in the province of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, this week to compete at the 16th European Championships.
It is an elite panel of players, the best that our current game can offer. It includes proven operators, individuals who have held their nerve in pressure situations to ensure the Irish banner was flying highest at many podium presentations.
They have undergone a rigorous training regime overseen by Gretta Cormican and Billy McAuliffe, that included early mornings on the Castletownkenneigh bowling road, Moors practice at Inchydoney beach and Castletown auto-track as well as twice weekly gym sessions all of which has engendered a good camaraderie among the squad, and, for once, the rivalry engendered by our single-hand man-to man contests will be left aside in the common cause of maintaining Ból Chumann’s place at the top in Road Bowling and Dutch Moors disciplines.
The Murphy brothers, David and Aidan, Martin Coppinger, Thomas Mackle, James O’Donovan and Gary Daly are the leading lights in a powerfully strong senior men’s team. David Murphy’s attempt to win four-in-a-row on the Road will captivate as will Martin Coppinger’s Road and Moors performances as we recall his incredible joust with Dutchman, Rob Scholten, on the Moors course at the anniversary games in 2019.
Can one of our Irish women best Silke Tulk for the senior women’s Gold? Claire O’Sullivan came close in 2016 and is here again, and Kelly Mallon carries huge hopes. There will be expectation from Darragh Dempsey in the youths’ competitions given his barnstorming performances at the trials while the Sexton sisters, Margaret and Ellen, Rachel Kingston and Caoimhe Rafferty are an effective girls quartet.
Ból Chumann’s European odyssey received a resounding send-off at County Hall, when Cork County Mayor Gillian Coughlan, wished the assembled players and mentors the very best as they headed to Germany.
Mayor Coughlan said, ‘you are wearing the jersey for all of us and are ambassadors for your sport and your country.’
She praised those who worked behind the scenes, some who had given years of their lives, to the preservation and promotion of the sport.
Cllr Eileen Lynch, Macroom, also spoke of bowling being part of our culture while Cllr Joe Carroll, who was instrumental in setting up the County Hall launch, spoke of his own bowling career which unfortunately he said did not reach European standards but was, nonetheless, very enjoyable.
Ból Chumann chairman, Michael Brennan, expressed his thanks to Mayor Coughlan and to the staff at County Hall for the wonderful reception his association had been given. He said the current generation were proud to be following a tradition of European participation that began in 1969 at Losser, Holland, with the first ever venture abroad for an Irish Bowling team.
Noelle Brennan, representing chief sponsor Avenue House Health and Safety said her company were delighted to be associated with the team and wished them well. Tide Construction, who are also sponsors, were thanked for their involvement. The attendance included Ból Chumann President, Liam O’Keefe, former chairperson, Susan Greene and Margaret Daly, Shannonvale, wife of the late Liam Daly, who was central to that pioneering visit in 1969.
In this week's Southern Star we profile each of the 30 players PLUS their two coaches. Pick up a copy in shops now or online via our ePaper.