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Bowling Review of 2022 - Part 1

A successful European venture, the return of a full championship programme and ratification of the Association’s updated Code of Governance, Rules and Constitution made for a busy twelve months on and off the road for bowling’s governing body, Ból Chumann na hÉireann. Meldorf in May was the focus for the sports elite in the months leading up as the 16th hosting of the European championships, deferred due to the pandemic from 2020, were given the go-ahead in early January. It was a fraught but ultimately successful experience for the Irish contingent. The selection process had gone well, team trials providing plenty of competition for places and the rigorous training sessions which followed had Ból Chumann’s four teams ready for the fray. A bitterly cold opening day by the North Sea for the Moors competitions did not yield the expected returns. Martin Coppinger’s heroic effort in the worst of the conditions came up just short of taking gold and his bronze podium place was scant consolation. Tommy O’Sullivan silver and Darragh Dempsey bronze in U18 were Ireland’s only other individual medal winners on a tough day. The Lofting competitions on Saturday are always the preserve of the German Associations and this was no exception but the battle for third best team was won by Ból Chumann’s senior men and youths’ teams. The glory came at Suderhasdt on Sunday May 29 in idyllic conditions, and it proved to greatest of days for Seamus Sexton, Darragh Dempsey and Rachel Kingston. All achieved Gold in their respective categories, senior men, youths’ boys and girls. Sexton’s performance was exceptional coming tops from a field of fifty and in doing so setting a magnificent target of 2,323.9 metres for his ten shots. The team were accorded a civic reception by Mayor Cork County, Gillian Coughlan at County, Hall, Cork on the week prior to their departure and there were suitable celebrations in Kanturk, Dunmanway and Skibbereen when the Gold Medal winners returned to their home bases. Ból Chumann’s membership ratified its updated Code of Governance, Rules of Play and Constitution at a Special Convention held at The Copper Grove, Bandon, on Wednesday November 16th. Chair, Michael Brennan, welcomed close on one hundred club and regional delegates and outlined the business of the Special Convention. He said it was an historic evening for the Association as, under the rules of Government and Sport Ireland who were charged with bringing in Government policy rules to sporting organizations, Ból Chumann was required to introduce a Code of Governance for our sport to maintain its funding. He continued that it was an opportune time to update our Constitution as the delegates had been asking for this at various Annual Conventions down through the years. The first Constitution was produced in 1954 and updated in 1994. This was well structured and formed the basis for the current body of work. In 2001/2002 an attempt was made to update the Constitution, but events overtook the process, and it was abandoned. Finally, 28 years later, he said ‘we have reached a stage where we are able to achieve this’. Honorary Secretary, Micheál O’ Céallachain, a principal architect of the review, explained the need for a Special Convention. He said ‘Ból Chumann was a members-based organisation working for its members and this Convention was needed to give the documents legal status’. Jerome Casey of the working group who has experience of similar work with the LGFA, thanked all those involved in preparing the documents. He asked for proposers and seconders as he moved through each section of the 200-page transcript. These included amendments on the Constitution, Rules of Play, Organisational rules, Registration regulations, Disputes and Disciplinary, Arbitration Regulations, Child Welfare and Safeguarding Policy and Code of Conduct. All received unanimous approval. The Chairman thanked all the delegates for their attendance and said that the updated Code of Governance and Constitution/Rules of Play would come into effect from November 21. The document can be viewed on under the about section (or click here). All-Ireland finals at Ballincurrig (July 9/10), Newtownhamilton (July 30/31) and Fenor, Co Waterford Sept 3/4 concluded a championship programme that began for some at regional level in the early weeks of February. Significant bragging rights for our northern rivals were acquired with national titles in both senior men and women’s championships. Thomas Mackle out fought Michael Bohane in a closing quarter thriller at Newtownhamilton while Kelly Mallon brought all her experience to bear in a dominant display against first time Cork champion, Hannah Sexton at Ballincurrig. The Cork camp had plenty to shout about in terrific wins for Patrick Flood and Denise Murphy who both achieved All-Ireland honours in the intermediate grades and John Creedon’s success in junior A men. Aaron Hughes, Armagh, pipped Denis O’Sullivan for the junior B crown at Newtown but Gaeltacht’s Tim Kelleher balanced this one out with a convincing win in the veteran’s final. In the under-age finals Paddy O’Donnell and Rachel Kingston were successful in U18; Liam Murphy, thrillingly in U16, and in a peak year for the Gaeltacht, Ross O’Brien, in U12. Ulster had national champions in U14 when Ethan Hughes won a cracking final with Cork’s worthy champion, Daniel O’Sullivan and in Armagh when Lily O’Rourke just held off Laura Sexton. Fenor for the junior C and novice final did not prove a happy hunting ground for Cork’s champions who came home empty handed. Louth’s J P Clinton was the big winner eclipsing Cork youthful champion, Sean Paul McDonagh in the decider. Ulster scored a double here with Brendan Rafferty winning junior C and Frank Oliver novice D. The vintage men and junior ladies championships are down to the final stages. The big festival events Ból Fada Easter weekend and the King and Queen classic returned to full schedules with the latter accommodating champions from The Netherlands and Germany. Arthur McDonagh won the Joe McVeigh Cup on the Keady-Tassagh road at Easter and successful too was John O’Rourke who captured the Pete Grimley Cup. The 37th King and Queen festival held thrills and spills in abundance. David Murphy edged Gary Daly to take the King crown for the sixth time while Silke Tulk, the Dutch champion, likewise took the Queen gong also for the sixth time. Donal O’Riordan won an exciting Jim O’Driscoll Cup decider from Ethan Rafferty while, on a supremely successful weekend for the Dutch visitors, their under-age champions Tim Hendricks and Britt Rolink won the Proto-Mark Technologies Youths International Triple Crown. Child Welfare and Safeguarding Officer, Caroline O’Leary, introduced a series of courses in compliance with the new Code of Governance. Club and Regional personnel attended at selected venues around the county.

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Bowling Review of 2022 - Part 2

Club tournament competitions, fund-raising events and activities promoting ladies bowling and under-age development all engaged the sports membership during the past twelve months. Carbery’s off-road bowling track situated within the precincts of Skibbereen Showgrounds continues to provide a safe environment for those wishing to hone their skills with the iron ball. Floodlit and sheltered, the facility’s popularity can be gauged by the large numbers of boys and girls attending the Thursday night sessions. Dan McCarthy and his youths committee are at the helm. In perhaps a portent of things to come, Michael Bohane made a few sit up and take notice when winning the O’Connell/Dullea Cup at Ballygurteen in January. It was a month too when many regions finished off their 2021 novice and junior championships which had been disrupted by the many Covid induced stoppages of the previous year. Tim Young gave an early indicator too winning the West Cork 2021 junior A championship in February. Tom O’Donovan won the Ballinacurra junior A winter tournament and Liam Kearney’s thunderbolt last shot won the Sliabh Ban trophy for his Clondrohid side at the inter-regional team finals at Castletownkenneigh also in February. The Marsh Road Bowling club hosted the annual Carbery/Gaeltacht challenge for the Johnny O’Driscoll Cup and Noel O’Regan, Diarmuid Hurley and Shane McCarthy won tournaments at Bauravilla, Reenascreena and Skibbereen. By January’s end affiliations and grading for 2022 were completed and regional championships began in most divisions. Micheal O’Callaghan won the delayed 2020 vintage championship and received the Donal Moynahin Shield with a last shot victory at Beal na mBlath. In March the first inter-provincial youths team finals were held at Newcastle, Co. Dublin; a number of Cork bowlers travelled to Armagh for the ‘Aaron Mission to walk’ fund-raisers, the West Cork Distillers sponsored ‘Dowtcha Boy’ weekend was held at The Marsh Road, Skibbereen where the partnership of Martin Coppinger and Claire O’Sullivan were victorious, and P J Cooney won the John Cronin Cup at Churchtown South. Bol Fada was the focus for April, but also senior and intermediate championships were in full flow. Ted Hegarty completed his Covid hit under-age championships on the Phale Road in the first week of May. This was a month too of intense preparations and fund-raising for the upcoming European Championships. The teams departed for Germany on Tuesday May 24th. Meanwhile regional, championships were in full spate. In junior A there were divisional wins for David Shannon (Carbery), Alex O’Donovan (South West), Denis O’Driscoll (West Cork), Mick Hurley (East Cork), Tim McDonagh (North East), Cian Boyle (City), Tom O’Donovan (Mid Cork). David Hubbard (North) and John Creedon (Gaeltacht) were the other regional representatives. It was the latter who would emerge with ultimate honours. The senior and intermediate grades were casting their own spell. Michael Bohane shocked James O’Donovan who had earlier eliminated another favourite, David Murphy. Seamus Sexton, with a performance in keeping with his status as European Champion, blitzed the defending All-Ireland title-holder, Arthur McDonagh, with an awesome display at Ballyvourney. Bohane then defeated Martin Coppinger and won the battle for the county with Sexton at Lyre to become the Carbery division’s first senior champion. Hannah Sexton was making her own history winning the senior ladies at the first attempt while Denise Murphy stayed on course to win the lady’s intermediate crown. Patrick Flood, another first-time contender, became the youngest intermediate men’s winner in long time. All would grace the All-Ireland series at Ballincurrig and Newtownhamilton in July. Margaret Daly ran off her annual CUH fund-raisers at Shannonvale in August. Fund-raising too were the Derrinasafa, Dunmanway club whose ‘Autism Friendly’ weekend at the end of the month was well-supported. Aidan Murphy and Paudie Hurley were the principal organisers. Martin Coppinger won the Wille Whelton Cup at Grange in September and Denise Murphy added to her collection when winning the Gretta Cormican Queen of the Roads qualifier cup. It was a month of intense activity in the junior and novice grades ahead of the Fenor All-Ireland series in early September. At the end of a prolonged series, David Hegarty won the junior C county at The Marsh Road, Sean Paul McDonagh the novice 1 at Castletownkenneigh and Ruairi O’Connell the novice D at Beal na mBlath. All-Ireland honours eluded all three at Fenor. While the King and Queen festival was another September highlight, the revival of the popular Joe O’Sullivan Acorn Life Cup at Castletownbere also made the headlines. Thomas Mackle made it a profitable sojourn southward when winning the prestigious cup on the Eyries road. Team bowling events and the recently introduced novice E grade ensured plenty of regional action post championship and Wilton Parish Centre hosted a photographic exhibition featuring images of Mick Barry in his heyday. Ból Chumann ladies committee hosted a ‘Hers Outdoors’ event at Castletownkenneigh and a lady’s day at Dunderrow both of which were well supported. Tim Young won the Mick Eoin Cup at Bantry, John Young the John Joe Murphy Cup at Bauravilla and Maebh Cuinnea and Emma Hurley won girls U12 and U14 county championships. As the year wound down, Michael Brennan and James O’Driscoll represented Ból Chumann at the International Bowlplaying Association in Germany where Ernest Reimers of the German VSHB Association was elected to replace Alloys Timmerhuise (NKB) as IBA President. Mr. Timmerhuise had completed his four-year term. Maria Nagle and Hannah Cronin won the women’s senior and intermediate women’s league competitions, Martin Coppinger the Eamonn Bowen Memorial at Bottlehill and Jack O’Callaghan, the Coachman’s Cup at Bauravilla. Other tournament winners included Kenneth Murphy at Beal na mBlath; Ger Connolly, Grange; Shane Shannon, Marsh Road, David O’Connor, Durrus, Liam Ronan, Rosscarbery, Luke Nolan, Schull, Wayne Parkes the Tim White Cup at Rosscarbery; James Hurley, Togher Cross; Martin Murphy, Lyre and David McCarthy and Darren Lynch the D doubles competition at The Marsh Road. Regional AGM’s preceded the new affiliation and grading deadlines for 2023 and all were completed by November 1 in readiness for the coming year. Sadly, 2022 also marked the departure of some who have been long associated with bowling through their exploits on the road or in playing a supportive role. Over the past twelve months the bowling game lost Tony Hughes, Armagh, Teresa Brennan, Bandon, wife of Association chair, Michael, Michael O’Mahony, Drinagh, Liam Daly, Shannonvale, Donal Hurley, Clon, Jerry Murphy Crookstown, Connie Moynahin, Cill na Martra, Mary Trunwit, Bandon, John Cronin, Churchtown South, Mickey O’Brien, Rosscarbery, Neilus Ahern, Bishopstown, Kevin Wall, Innishannon, Roger O’Donoghue, Ballygurteen, Danny O’Donovan, Mardyke Street, Skibbereen, Dan O’Regan and Jerry Sheehy, both of Castlehaven, Ted Hickey, Skibbereen and Blarney and just at year’s end, Denis Collins, Clonakilty. 2022 ended with the RNLI and Ból Chumann fund-raisers in Castletownbere where the big winners were, Aidan Murphy and Martin Coppinger. The Association’s end of year celebration night returned for the first time since 2019 and a pleasant get-together at The Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery, saw championship finalists from 21 grades honoured for their achievements. Susan Green was inducted into Bol Chumann’s Hall of Fame; Mick Hurley was named Personality of the Year; Seamus Sexton won Male Player of the Year and Rachel Kingston, Ladies Player of the Year. All is in readiness for the new season.

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