BY JOHN NEWMAN
THAT special and unique bond of family and sport was truly evident recently at the Cork City and Youth Awards monthly presentation – sponsored by the Metropole Hotel, Cork, in association with John Buckley Sports – where the latest 2016 winner was Maria Nagle, recently crowned U18 European road cowling champion.
Cheering on Maria (17), from Rosscarbery, at the awards presentation were her very supportive parents John and Mary, brothers Peter and James, sisters Fiona and a host of friends including Emma Fitzpatrick and Chloe O’Halloran and club officers Stephen Hayes and Dan McCarthy.
Speaking with her at the event, this very personable fourth year student at Mount St Michael Secondary School told us that she has dabbled in many sports, including badminton, basketball, rowing, and while at football, this all-round athlete won a county medal with Rosscarbery and a West Cork U16 soccer league medal with Lyre Rovers.
But Maria’s first love is road bowling, which was nurtured from the very young age of eight, by her father and brothers. Her persistence with this very unique sport has certainly paid off, with a string of achievements from Carbery and Munster winner at U12 (2010), U14 (2012 and 2013), U16 Carbery, Munster, All-Ireland winner (2014 and 2015), through to the highlight of her career to date – winning the individual gold medal at the European Championships in Ootmarsum, Holland, where she beat off stiff opposition from her Dutch and German opponents.
Maria also, at the same event, won a silver road bowling team medal and a bronze team medal for the Moors event.
The West Cork teenager is an avid follower of the sport and hugely supportive of her father and brothers with their bowling events.
No doubt with her special skills and the support which she enjoys right through to the upper echolons of Ból Chumann na hEireann, represented by chairperson Susan Greene, ‘she has the makings of a top senior player, a truly outstanding talent and a very good ambassador for bowling’.
Rest assured, Maria will achieve more.
On her return from Holland, Maria was recognised by the Lord Mayor of Cork and her own community of Rosscarbery, while the current Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Joe Kavanagh, Hotel Manager Roger Russell, Noel Magner and John Buckley were present to laud Maria’s achievements, the first award for bowling at this particular event, hosted by its co-ordinator Sean O’Sullivan.
And, as they say in this sport, ‘beat that in two throws’.