SUMMER’S over for Maria Nagle, but what a summer it was for the talented Celtic Ross West Cork Youth Sports Star quarterly award winner.
The Millcove, Rosscarbery teenager (17) continued her rise up the bowling ranks when she captured the All-Ireland U18 title in Armagh at the end of July, as she won her third consecutive All-Ireland following back-to-back U16 crowns in 2014 and ’15 – the first bowler to retain the U16 girls’ title since the grade’s inception in 2003.
But it was for her gold medal-winning performance at the 15th European Championships in Ootmarsum, The Netherlands, in mid-May that saw Maria honoured with the second quarterly Celtic Ross West Cork Youth Sports Star award – the second year in a row she picked up this popular award.
Now back in school at Mount St Michael in Rosscarbery, the Leaving Cert student is preparing for a busy 2017, both on the road and at school.
‘I’ll have to balance the two now, school and bowling, so it will be a big year,’ said Maria, daughter of John and Mary.
‘I want to defend the All-Ireland U18 title next year and there’s also the intermediate to aim for as well so there’s plenty to keep me busy.
‘Long term, to go up a grade and get to senior is the dream and that’s what I am working towards. But it’s one step at a time.’
Maria comes from a bowling family with her brothers James (former All-Ireland novice 1 champion) and Peter both well-known bowlers, while her dad John was also an accomplished bowler and is a former Carbery champion.
Rosscarbery neighbour and friend Emma Fitzpatrick is also a big influence on Maria’s bowling career, and after a summer that saw her stock rise even more, she has ambitions to go all the way to the top – and very few, if any, would dare bet against this three-time All-Ireland champion who won’t turn 18 until next March.