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RTÉ: Road bowling sees post-Covid surge in popularity

Report by RTÉ on 03rd August 2022

By Marian O'Flaherty

Road bowling experienced a surge in popularity in many areas across the country as the Covid -19 pandemic hit many other sports.

While regional and national competitions were restricted, the outdoor nature of the sport saw more people take up the bowl and head out to the roads to practice.

According to Runaí of Ból Chumann na hÉireann, Mícheál Ó Ceallacháin, there are an estimated 50 to 60 local clubs in Co Cork alone, with the sport prevalent through Munster and Connacht, in Waterford and Mayo in particular.

Road bowling is also very popular in the north-east, especially in Drogheda, and is played across Northern Ireland.

Several road bowling clubs have been established internationally in Boston, New York, West Virginia and London.

"It's a bit like golf," Mr Ó Ceallacháin explained.

"The aim is to get the bowl from point A to point B in the fewest amount of throws. It's that simple."

A warm welcome awaited Reigiún na Gaeltachta's champion road bowlers in Cork this week, as the club brought three national titles back home to Gaeltacht Mhuscraí.

Competing at Ból Chumann na hÉireann All-Ireland Championships in Newtownhamilton in Co Armagh at the weekend, Reigiún na Gaeltachta achieved success at both underage and senior level.

Clondrohid's Ross O’Brien achieved national success at under-12 level, before Tim Kelleher secured the veteran national title.

Liam Murphy was also on top form, winning the hotly contested under-16 competition.

Reigiún na Gaeltachta has celebrated many successes of late.

Darcy O’Brien was runner-up in the ladies’ under-16 category, along with Cillian Kelleher in the under-18 category, while John Creedon was crowned the overall winner of the Cork Junior Series-A.

"The Cork-style uses an underhand type loft moreso, while in the north it's more of a twist to navigate the corners," Reigiún na Gaeltachta’s Paudie Ó Murchú explained.

"There’s a lot of tactics and skill involved and styles differ from place to place due to terrain."

A mix of speed, strength, skill, accuracy and acuity and with a whole new generation taking up the sport the future of road bowling is secure.


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