SUSAN Greene’s announcement that she will step down as chair of Ból Chumann dominated an eventful presentation night at the Abbey Hotel in Baile Bhúirne recently.
She has spent 19 years at the helm, a tenure she described as a ‘roller-coaster run of highs and lows’. Having been prevailed upon to extend her stay from 2017, the chairperson has now decided to finally relinquish her role and leave the door open for a successor to be appointed at next month’s AGM, which will be held at St Finbarr’s GAA pavilion on December 4th.
Susan’s term in office has seen her become bowling’s most recognisable figure and an able ambassador at national and European level. Her strong relationship with Sports Council bodies ensured the association had better resources in place for major undertakings such as European Championship preparations, Unlimited Bowling activities and the hosting of national finals.
Her 19 years at the helm were characterised by an unwavering commitment to the promotion of the sport. As she stated on Friday night, she ‘sought at all times to make decisions for the association without fear or favour and with its best interests as her sole concern’.
As vice-chair and chairperson she has overseen five European championship events and an expanded domestic championship that sees competitions in 23 separate categories. She departs a respected and revered figure within the sport, evidenced by the standing ovation she received from close on 200 attendees at Friday night’s presentation.
It was a night of significance on many fronts. Recently-retired Bishop John Buckley was inducted into Ból Chumann’s Hall of Fame. Bishop Buckley’s citation read: ‘We are fortunate in our bowling game to have amongst us one of our nation’s most recognised and best loved luminaries, a man who has inspired and charmed his congregation in equal measure.
‘That his signature sporting talent is his bowl-playing expertise has brought our sport to hitherto unreached shores. Bowl-playing has become synonymous with the mention of his name. Our award winner has been bowling’s foremost advocate, espousing its place in the sporting tapestry of Cork and promoting its values at every opportunity.’
In presenting the award, Susan Greene instanced Bishop Buckley’s long association with the late Mick Barry and his promotion of bowling whilst appearing on many high-profile TV and radio chat shows.
Bishop Buckley, on accepting the award said he was honoured to be included on the association’s Hall of Fame list and spoke of his great love of bowl-playing since childhood schooldays in Inchigeelagh.
Receiving the Personality of the Year Award for 2019 was Réigiún na Gaeltachta secretary Brendan O’Callaghan, who ‘has been an integral part of the workings of his region for many years showing patience and firmness when required.
‘His sterling work was seen by a wider audience this year as a superb All-Ireland series unfolded at Baile Bhúirne. Our award winner was the go-to man in many instances when organisational snags needed to be ironed out and his efforts along with a strong team of regional officers bore fruit on that wonderful weekend in July’.
All-Ireland junior A champion Billy McAuliffe and ladies’ senior champion Carmel Ryan were named players of the year. Michael O’Callaghan, on behalf of Réigiún na Gaeltachta, welcomed everybody to the presentation night while association secretary Brendan Hayes acknowledged that it was a fitting celebration of an exceptional year as 46 championship finalists received recognition by way of a framed photographic compilation. Gretta Cormican’s exceptional input to the success of the evening was also acknowledged.
Award winners were: senior men, Aidan Murphy, Martin Coppinger; intermediate, Michael Bohane, Paul Buckley; junior A, Billy McAuliffe, Andrew O’Callaghan; junior B, Vincent Kiely, Pádraigh Scanlon; junior C, Brian Coughlan, Adrian Buttimer; novice 1, Shane O’Regan, James Hurley; Novice D, Ollie Murphy, Ted O’Connor; junior veteran, John Shorten, Chris O’Donovan; novice veteran, Paudie Murphy, Ger Fitzpatrick; vintage, Mick Young, David Walsh, Kevin Ruby, Denis Nyhan, Denis Murphy, Con O’Donovan; U18 boys, Wayne Parkes, Patrick Flood; U16, Darragh Dempsey, Billy Connolly; U14, Tom O’Sullivan, Patrick O’Donnell; U12, Conor Creedon, Shane Dennehy; Unlimited champions, senior, Michael Collins; intermediate, Christopher Walsh; junior, Paul Colgan; senior lady, Eileen Hurley; senior women, Carmel Carey, Meghan Collins; intermediate, Maria Nagle, Chloe O’Halloran; junior, Cliodhna Ní Laoire, Elaine Connolly; U18, Hannah Sexton, Aoife Creedon; U16, Margaret Sexton, Rachel Kingston; U14, Emer O’Connell, Leah Deane; U12, Laura Sexton, Emma Hurley.