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North American Finals

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2012

August 3-5, 2012 Coopers Rock State Forest, Morgantown, WV

In the most brilliant sport no one knows, Boston, New York, West Virginia and now North Carolina are in the know.

The Bol-Chumann na h Eireann North American Region Finals concluded Sunday, August 5th with the Boston Road Bowling Club in command of the ancient sport on this side of the Atlantic. The weekend semi-final and finals matches were about one in three decided on the last shot after 1.2 miles of man vs. man hurling. The analogy for American sports fans would be 33 % of weekend baseball games decided with two outs, full count, bottom of the ninth, game decided on the last pitch. In these both road bowlers face the finish often only a few yards apart, each with the same number of throws. In the tension and suspense each must make their final throw. Sometimes after 1.2 miles of competition, the “score” (match) is decided by only a few feet or even inches.

Coopers Rock State Forest, near Morgantown, only 65 miles from Pittsburgh Airport, is easily accessible for the New York and Boston bowlers, and Lakeview Golf Resort, on Cheat Lake, three miles from the bowling road, was an ideal headquarters for the tournament. Henry Clay Road is well shaded for hot weather, but a bit steeper than usual for a North American Region Final, so the Novice 1, Novice 2 matches, and Junior B doubles exhibition bowled a mostly uphill course, bowling “in” and the lower grade Novice 3 and Novice 4 bowled mostly downhill, “out.” New for 2012, on Friday afternoon an Open Novice Challenge gave new players from anywhere not associated with the New York, Boston, or West Virginia clubs a chance to qualify for the tournament. Five players representing new clubs qualified, three from North Carolina, one from Philadelphia and one from San Francisco. John Cotter, Philadelphia and Ronan Wethers, San Francisco qualified for Novice 3, and Justin Hunter, John Hunter and Bill Rote, North Carolina, qualified for Novice 4.

Saturday Semi-Finals

Carl George of WV had big shots early and John Hunter, North Carolina, was sharp and accurate, finishing second, but Cathal Walsh, Boston, was able to hold a bowl of odds (at least one full shot ) lead into the last curve, and closed out the match.

Jerod Putnam, a founder of road bowling in West Virginia, and a former college American football player, is big, strong and throws with plenty of speed. Jerod can be wild, and has been known to hammer rocks and trees and murder weeds. When Jerod winds up, spectators pay attention. Nevertheless he has high-level experience. Coming through the first curve, Jerod threw an off the road, “dead bowl” and was one shot down. The long beginning climb uphill, played in the mid-day heat, took its toll on the legs of both players but favored the younger Putnam. Still, through several curves and then down a long straightaway, Brendan held his lead. Putnam found his rhythm and drew closer with every throw. Both men together faced the final steep uphill shot, Fleming holding a slim 20 yard advantage. Here, finally Jerod made a brilliant shot in the center of the road, uphill more than 100 yards to the line, then another 70 yards beyond. As Brendan gathered to throw, spectators thought no way could he make such a long steep uphill shot. The bowl came in the center of the road across the line, then unbelievably continued to climb and climb even as it slowed. Closer and closer to Jerod’s tip, it finally went off very close. Did Brendan make it? No, it stopped five feet short of a miracle! Still, one of the finest, most exciting singles matches ever in West Virginia’s road bowling history.

Con O’Callaghan, Boston and Travis McClintic, West Virginia, faced off in a rematch of their 2011 score in Boston. McClintic, a former WVU football player, currently a professional bull rider, bowled the match of his life, plenty of power uphill, long shots, no mistakes. Veteran O’Callaghan, a two time All Ireland Champion, threw hard to stay close. Then on level ground Con used “educated topspin” to grab and hold the road, playing the pitch and camber with exactitude, unleashing two massive “savage” bowls, each more than 200 yards, to take the lead. At the final curve facing the steep uphill to the finish, O Callaghan led by nearly a bowl of odds. McClintic drove one last powerful shot uphill about 180 yards to draw near to the finish, but O’Callaghan had two shots to pass it and rolled across the line for the win.

Trevor Kelly of Boston, a GAA athlete, Tom Neville of WV, a college swimmer and summer soccer coach in Finland, and John Cotter of Philadelphia, whose father was a road bowls player in Co Cork, made the three-handed score going “out.” Cotter won the Friday play-in to make the semi-final. Kelly has played the sport only 1 ½ years moving up from Novice 4 in 2011, to Novice 3 based on winning matches. He has terrific speed and as his accuracy improves he will move up more grades. Kelly’s speed put him ahead, Neville stayed close behind. Tom Neville bowled smooth and steady, but at the final curve facing the straightaway to the finish was almost one bowl of odds behind. Kelly finished with 17 shots to Neville’s 18, a couple short shots midway put John Cotter back at 20.

Three-time All Ireland finalist and two-time All Ireland Champion Brendan Fleming of Boston is only a few years away from his seventh decade, and is not large in stature, but has a lion’s heart for road bowling. With speed, savvy and a deadly accurate delivery, Brendan takes great delight beating youngsters twice his size and half his age. There cannot be many athletes anywhere in the USA Brendan’s size and age that are better. Just to watch him throw is an education in road bowling, Brendan is able to put every ounce of his weight behind every shot.

Boston bowler P.J. Kelley is a big, big boy. New to the sport this year, he has plenty of power, and from a sprint he seems to lay the bowl gently into the road, but then it rockets ahead a long way. Scott Koon of WV, bowling on his home course, in contrast throws with a deadly accurate style, reads the road like a veteran, taking maximum advantage of the road’s “pitch and camber” on every shot. Koon and Kelley, accuracy vs. power, made an interesting match, and when Justin Hunter of North Carolina got into a good rhythm from the start, all three stayed together for more than a half mile, until Koon and Kelley made huge downhill bowls that Hunter did not match. Into the last curve Kelley held a one shot lead. Koon needed to cover the entire final straight to the line in one throw, but did not. Kelly made his shot to about 60 yards to the finish. With a short throw for the win, Kelly went off the road into the woods, but with plenty of speed through rocks and trees for the victory.

WV State Champion Stephen Wallington, a high school baseball pitcher, throws with an accurate Irish-like style. Wallington had a thrilling last shot win over Travis McClintic at Coopers Rock in the West Virginia State Championship in July, but never played in a North American Region Finals. Veteran Florrie O’Mahoney, previously an All Ireland Junior C Champion, has blazing wrist-snapping speed, and the mostly uphill road favored his power. With a huge bowl from the start line into the first curve, O’Mahoney took a quick one shot lead. Forced to drive the bowl uphill too hard to match O’Mahoney’s power, Wallington lost some accuracy while Florrie stayed razor sharp on each throw. Approaching the finish there was a good distance between players, and when Florrie closed with two massive throws including a long uphill last, he set an incredible course record of 15 shots “in,” mostly uphill. That’s one for the ages and a score for the local lads to shoot for!

After the first half mile, Anthony “Flash” Gordon, Boston and Clifton Colebank, West Virginia, were able to pull away from the Friday play-in newcomer, Ronan Whethers, of San Francisco. In the second half mile, Gordon, throwing accurately, began to extend a lead over Colebank. Approaching the final curve, Colebank hit a big downhill while Flash went off the road, cutting Gordon’s lead to less than 50 yards. In the curve, Colebank did not have full sight into the straightaway to the finish. Somehow, running at an angle to the straight, Clifton was able to get the bowl to cross the crown from left to right, yet stay on the road, rolling down the right track and far across the finish, more than 180 yards. Throwing from full sight, Flash nevertheless had a long distance for the win and did not cover, giving West Virginia its first victory, a come-from-behind, last-shot thriller.

Ken McClintic, a two-time West Virginia Novice 2 state champion, was challenging up one grade to face Ferghal O’Sullivan, for Boston, in the Novice 1 semi-final. McClintic is superintendent of scenic Holly River State Park, and has helped introduce Irish Road Bowling into the WV state park system, where nine scenic country roads all over the Mountain State are available to the public for play. McClintic threw long shots accurately with no mistakes, but O’ Sullivan was just as accurate and as a Novice 1, carried more speed. Gradually O’Sullivan pulled away for the Novice 1 semi final win.

Sunday Finals

Con O’Callaghan, Boston and Travis McClintic, West Virginia, faced off in a rematch of their 2011 score in Boston. McClintic, a former WVU football player, currently a professional bull rider, bowled the match of his life, plenty of power uphill, long shots, no mistakes. Veteran O’Callaghan, a two time All Ireland Champion, threw hard to stay close. Then on level ground Con used “educated topspin” to grab and hold the road, playing the pitch and camber with exactitude, unleashing two massive “savage” bowls, each more than 200 yards, to take the lead. At the final curve facing the steep uphill to the finish, O Callaghan led by nearly a bowl of odds. McClintic drove one last powerful shot uphill about 180 yards to draw near to the finish, but O’Callaghan had two shots to pass it and rolled across the line for the win.

Three-time All Ireland finalist and two-time All Ireland Champion Brendan Fleming of Boston is only a few years away from his seventh decade, and is not large in stature, but has a lion’s heart for road bowling. With speed, savvy and a deadly accurate delivery, Brendan takes great delight beating youngsters twice his size and half his age. There cannot be many athletes anywhere in the USA Brendan’s size and age that are better. Just to watch him throw is an education in road bowling, Brendan is able to put every ounce of his weight behind every shot. Boston bowler P.J. Kelley is a big, big boy. New to the sport this year, he has plenty of power, and from a sprint he seems to lay the bowl gently into the road, but then it rockets ahead a long way. Scott Koon of WV, bowling on his home course, in contrast throws with a deadly accurate style, reads the road like a veteran, taking maximum advantage of the road’s “pitch and camber” on every shot. Koon and Kelley, accuracy vs. power, made an interesting match, and when Justin Hunter of North Carolina got into a good rhythm from the start, all three stayed together for more than a half mile, until Koon and Kelley made huge downhill bowls that Hunter did not match. Into the last curve Kelley held a one shot lead. Koon needed to cover the entire final straight to the line in one throw, but did not. Kelly made his shot to about 60 yards to the finish. With a short throw for the win, Kelly went off the road into the woods, but with plenty of speed through rocks and trees for the victory. WV State Champion Stephen Wallington, a high school baseball pitcher, throws with an accurate Irish-like style. Wallington had a thrilling last shot win over Travis McClintic at Coopers Rock in the West Virginia State Championship in July, but never played in a North American Region Finals. Veteran Florrie O’Mahoney, previously an All Ireland Junior C Champion, has blazing wrist-snapping speed, and the mostly uphill road favored his power. With a huge bowl from the start line into the first curve, O’Mahoney took a quick one shot lead. Forced to drive the bowl uphill too hard to match O’Mahoney’s power, Wallington lost some accuracy while Florrie stayed razor sharp on each throw. Approaching the finish there was a good distance between players, and when Florrie closed with two massive throws including a long uphill last, he set an incredible course record of 15 shots “in,” mostly uphill. That’s one for the ages and a score for the local lads to shoot for! After the first half mile, Anthony “Flash” Gordon, Boston and Clifton Colebank, West Virginia, were able to pull away from the Friday play-in newcomer, Ronan Whethers, of San Francisco. In the second half mile, Gordon, throwing accurately, began to extend a lead over Colebank. Approaching the final curve, Colebank hit a big downhill while Flash went off the road, cutting Gordon’s lead to less than 50 yards. In the curve, Colebank did not have full sight into the straightaway to the finish. Somehow, running at an angle to the straight, Clifton was able to get the bowl to cross the crown from left to right, yet stay on the road, rolling down the right track and far across the finish, more than 180 yards. Throwing from full sight, Flash nevertheless had a long distance for the win and did not cover, giving West Virginia its first victory, a come-from-behind, last-shot thriller. Ken McClintic, a two-time West Virginia Novice 2 state champion, was challenging up one grade to face Ferghal O’Sullivan, for Boston, in the Novice 1 semi-final. McClintic is superintendent of scenic Holly River State Park, and has helped introduce Irish Road Bowling into the WV state park system, where nine scenic country roads all over the Mountain State are available to the public for play. McClintic threw long shots accurately with no mistakes, but O’ Sullivan was just as accurate and as a Novice 1, carried more speed. Gradually O’Sullivan pulled away for the Novice 1 semi final win.

Novice 4 - out -
Novice 1 - in -
Novice 3 - out
Ladies’ Long Shot -
Novice 2 - in -

Con O’Callaghan is a two-time Novice 1 All Ireland Champion, Florrie O’Mahoney won an All Ireland Championship in Junior C. The two veterans know the sport inside and out, carry plenty of speed, accuracy and savvy, competing since childhood in Co Cork and then in Boston. Not as young as they once were, either man still would have great prospects for a Novice 2 All Ireland Championship in Drogheda, September 8 & 9. Both men are fast, but Florrie faster and up the hill his power gradually pulled several yards ahead into a lead, still a very close match. Through tight curves on the top, O’Callaghan pressed his luck and gained several yards back. Shot for shot Florrie answered, with a slim lead, until both men were facing a slight downhill into a long level straightaway. It was as if Con saw his chance and jumped on it. He unleashed a massive “monster” bowl more than 260 yards, taking nearly the entire straight, into the curve, getting sight up the steep hill to the finish. Now all eyes turned to Florrie, he had to cover or come close to Con’s huge throw. And Florrie showed his fight with a huge bowl himself. Not as long as Con’s but Florrie took most of the straight, perhaps 200 yards. O’Mahoney followed with a fast bowl into the curve, a few yards ahead of O’Callaghan. Now both men had the same score, both facing the long uphill to the finish, O‘Mahoney only slightly ahead. Waiting for spectators to clear, Con knew he had to drive the bowl a long distance past the finish line to overcome Florrie‘s speed and extra yardage. Finally the throw, reaching back for extra power is always a risk, the bowl off the road, first mistake by either man! O‘Mahoney, now with two shots to cross the line, threw a strong uphill bowl across for the Novice 2 Championship. Best O’Luck in Drogheda, Florrie. Without a doubt, one of the two or three best-ever scores in West Virginia.

Con O’Callaghan is a two-time Novice 1 All Ireland Champion, Florrie O’Mahoney won an All Ireland Championship in Junior C. The two veterans know the sport inside and out, carry plenty of speed, accuracy and savvy, competing since childhood in Co Cork and then in Boston. Not as young as they once were, either man still would have great prospects for a Novice 2 All Ireland Championship in Drogheda, September 8 & 9. Both men are fast, but Florrie faster and up the hill his power gradually pulled several yards ahead into a lead, still a very close match. Through tight curves on the top, O’Callaghan pressed his luck and gained several yards back. Shot for shot Florrie answered, with a slim lead, until both men were facing a slight downhill into a long level straightaway. It was as if Con saw his chance and jumped on it. He unleashed a massive “monster” bowl more than 260 yards, taking nearly the entire straight, into the curve, getting sight up the steep hill to the finish. Now all eyes turned to Florrie, he had to cover or come close to Con’s huge throw. And Florrie showed his fight with a huge bowl himself. Not as long as Con’s but Florrie took most of the straight, perhaps 200 yards. O’Mahoney followed with a fast bowl into the curve, a few yards ahead of O’Callaghan. Now both men had the same score, both facing the long uphill to the finish, O‘Mahoney only slightly ahead. Waiting for spectators to clear, Con knew he had to drive the bowl a long distance past the finish line to overcome Florrie‘s speed and extra yardage. Finally the throw, reaching back for extra power is always a risk, the bowl off the road, first mistake by either man! O‘Mahoney, now with two shots to cross the line, threw a strong uphill bowl across for the Novice 2 Championship. Best O’Luck in Drogheda, Florrie. Without a doubt, one of the two or three best-ever scores in West Virginia. The Ladies’ Longshot was thrown from the start line of the Novice 2 Final into a level or slightly uphill straight of about 190 yards. Nine ladies who had patiently trudged up and down the road with the men finally had a chance to throw. Each woman made three throws. Among the favorites were Aleacha Wallington, the WV 2011 women’s singles champion, and Elise McClintic and Judy Mize, both former WV Ladies’ Longshot Champions. Aleacha threw a big bowl, passing Elise to set the mark at 495 feet (165 yards). But Becky Felton followed, rolling far up the road toward the tip, 494 feet, only twelve inches short! Aleacha wins the 2012 Longshot Championship, barely. Congratulations Aleacha and Becky. - For the second year in a row Clifton Colebank put West Virginia in the championship score, also winning a Novice 3 semifinal at Wampatuck in Boston in 2011. At Coopers Rock, Colebank and Kelly bowled together, “nothing in it,” until on a steep downhill Kelly cut tight into a curve and off the road, with so much speed he was through the grass, back on the road and away down the hill for a huge bowl. From the final curve, as he had done the day before, Clifton covered the 180 yard final straightaway in one throw but Kelly had two shots to cover, which he did in style for the Novice 3 win. Two big lads, Jerod Putnam, WV and Ferghal O’Sullivan, Boston, faced off for the Novice 1 Championship. They threw with equal speed with Putnam taking a lead on the first throw from the start. However, beginning the uphill climb, Jerod dropped off a couple short shots while O’Sullivan was able to skirt the edges without ever losing the road. Powering uphill with an early lead, O’Sullivan never missed a shot, staying ahead for the Novice 1 Championship win.

Junior B Exhibition - in -

Immediately after the Novice 2 thriller came even faster bowling. Adrian Lappin and Fergal Carr of the New York Club are the highest rated road bowlers in North America. At Junior B grade, they are not at the very top tier of the sport, (Senior and Intermediate) but are in a larger group of the best players in the world. Adrian is a three-time All Ireland Champion, most recently Junior C in 2010,and Fergal has won two, recently Junior C in 2009.

Teaming with two of West Virginia’s best women players, Adrian with Aleacha Wallington, who just won the Ladies Longshot, and Fergal with Elise McClintic, WV 2011 Longshot Champion, they closed the weekend with a doubles match.

Novice 2 veterans O’Callaghan and O’Mahoney, both formerly rated Junior C, carry plenty of speed. Both can rocket the bowl 200 yards down the middle or on the right side (track) or the left track. When necessary either man can cut close to the edge of the road surface, usually without going off.

Lappin and Carr, the younger Junior B players, two grades higher, also routinely send the bowl 200 yards, but the road seems wider for them, they constantly cut the edges, the bowl striking the road only 6 to 12 inches from the berm with a controlled overspin which pulls the bowl away from danger, back into the road center to get every possible yard from the throw.

At higher levels experienced bowlers can play any shot at least five different ways - a left-track, right-track or cross-crown line, also, angle, situation, i.e., need to play a safe, conservative shot or an all out driving dangerous throw, and many other factors. Bowler and “road shower” (coach) analyze the best ”line” or path in the road to maximize distance.

Aleacha and Elise, our two West Virginia mountain gals were evenly matched and bowled well, shot for shot. “They could beat a lot of men,” Lappin remarked. On the early uphill, Lappin and Carr generated great speed, covering the steep road in fewer throws, cutting close to the edge whenever needed to take the shortest route.

Carr and McClintic were ahead at the top of the first uphill, the teams bowled shot for shot through curves, then Aleacha made up ground with a long bowl down the straight. In the final curve facing the steep hill to the finish, as in the previous match, both men had sight to the finish, Carr with a slight five yard lead. Lappin rocketed a big shot up the long uphill on a line only a few inches from the right edge, across the finish and 50 yards beyond. Carr faced a long uphill to pass Lappin for the win.

He threw, following the same tight line on the right edge, but too tight! Off the road! Suddenly the match, and an incredible West Virginia weekend of space-rocket bowling and last-throw suspense, was over.

After watching the bowl fly with the speed and accuracy (and must be admitted, sometimes luck) necessary in bringing a score down to those final dramatic moments, an observer must reflect Irish Road Bowling is undervalued as ancient and great sport in the USA, if not in Ireland.

You take Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson - I’ll take O’Mahoney and O’Callaghan, Lappin and Carr!

All Ireland Finals, September 7, 8 & 9

North American Region Team Novice 1 and Novice 2 Champions Ferghal O’Sullivan and Florrie O’Mahoney will continue their pursuit of another All Ireland Championship in Drogheda, Co Louth, September 8th and 9th. Bring us a trophy lads!

www.wvirishroadbowling.com, www.wvirba.org 

From Adrian Lappin, New York Club

Massive Congrats to the West Virginia Bowling Club on hosting a brilliant weekend of top class bowling. The Novice 3 and 4 grades again proved to be a great success with high numbers of new bowlers competing and spectating.

Florrie o Mahoney won the Novice 2 with a brilliant display to defeat Con Callaghan on the last shot. Big "Quinchers" from San Fransico/Boston Bowling won the Novice 1 with a fine performance on Sunday to defeat a gallant Jerod Putnam who caused an upset by defeating Brendan Fleming on the Saturday.

Novice 3 and 4 went to the Boston club with Trevor and PJ kelly winning very impressively.

Until next year we shall keep the Bowling Flag flying stateside.

Our Thanks

See you in the road or in the ditch, O’David O’Powell

Many thanks to Matt Cooper, former Coopers Rock State Forest superintendent and Patrick Saffer current superintendent for their help with the Finals, patience and oversight. And many thanks to Dave Plevitch of the Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitors Bureau for his constant support and encouragement.

Other notes

The West Virginia University Mountaineer, in buckskins, with coonskin cap, fired his musket over Cheat Lake Friday night and on the road Sunday to start the scores. This fine young man was a Hatfield, direct descendant of the Hatfields from the feud and told me that Uncle Anse Hatfield was remembered as a kind and courageous family protector by all the Hatfields. And they never, ever referred to him as Devil Anse.

Saturday morning Bob Gross from Buckhannon fired his Civil War Cannon twice to start the day, and it rattled your teeth.

Alongside the road Saturday a rattlesnake stretched out in the sun to watch the score. She was the color of leaves, tan, brown, yellow and grey. Someone said the yellow meant female. When all the lads crowded around she coiled up and wiggled her tail very fast to warn everyone to give her room. So beautiful we figured the Boston lads wished they had had lots of these lovely creatures across the sea in Ireland.

P.J. Kelly and Cathal Walsh are new to road bowling in 2012. These friends, both from Boston play each other often, so there was high interest in the club for the match. Both men threw with more accuracy than in the semi finals. Kelly won the Novice 4 Championship in a very close match which was decided only on the last shot, by the speed of P. J.’s bowl.

Novice 4 is usually for beginners or players who have played for a year or less. Bill Rote of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a beginner who had never thrown a bowl prior to the tournament, nevertheless was able to keep his throws in the road, staying close to the leaders for ¾ mile. Then, falling a couple shots behind, he congratulated his opponents and graciously withdrew, with that courtly sportsmanship reminiscent of both the Old South and Old Ireland . P.J. Kelly and Cathal Walsh are new to road bowling in 2012. These friends, both from Boston play each other often, so there was high interest in the club for the match. Both men threw with more accuracy than in the semi finals. Kelly won the Novice 4 Championship in a very close match which was decided only on the last shot, by the speed of P. J.’s bowl.

(Ed. Note - Florrie O’Mahoney went on to win the All Ireland Championship, Novice 2, in Drogheda, Ireland, September 9.)

The Ladies’ Longshot was thrown from the start line of the Novice 2 Final into a level or slightly uphill straight of about 190 yards. Nine ladies who had patiently trudged up and down the road with the men finally had a chance to throw. Each woman made three throws. Among the favorites were Aleacha Wallington, the WV 2011 women’s singles champion, and Elise McClintic and Judy Mize, both former WV Ladies’ Longshot Champions. Aleacha threw a big bowl, passing Elise to set the mark at 495 feet (165 yards). But Becky Felton followed, rolling far up the road toward the tip, 494 feet, only twelve inches short! Aleacha wins the 2012 Longshot Championship, barely. Congratulations Aleacha and Becky.

For the second year in a row Clifton Colebank put West Virginia in the championship score, also winning a Novice 3 semifinal at Wampatuck in Boston in 2011. At Coopers Rock, Colebank and Kelly bowled together, “nothing in it,” until on a steep downhill Kelly cut tight into a curve and off the road, with so much speed he was through the grass, back on the road and away down the hill for a huge bowl. From the final curve, as he had done the day before, Clifton covered the 180 yard final straightaway in one throw but Kelly had two shots to cover, which he did in style for the Novice 3 win.

Two big lads, Jerod Putnam, WV and Ferghal O’Sullivan, Boston, faced off for the Novice 1 Championship. They threw with equal speed with Putnam taking a lead on the first throw from the start. However, beginning the uphill climb, Jerod dropped off a couple short shots while O’Sullivan was able to skirt the edges without ever losing the road. Powering uphill with an early lead, O’Sullivan never missed a shot, staying ahead for the Novice 1 Championship win.

The best players in the USA, from the West Virginia, New York
Results of the 2012 Bol~Chumann na hEireann Irish Road Bowling
North American Region Finals, on Henry Clay Road, Coopers Rock State Forest, Cheat Lake, Morgantown, West Virginia

In the most brilliant sport no one knows, Boston, New York, West Virginia and now North Carolina are in the know.

The Bol-Chumann na h Eireann North American Region Finals concluded Sunday, August 5th with the Boston Road Bowling Club in command of the ancient sport on this side of the Atlantic. The weekend semi-final and finals matches were about one in three decided on the last shot after 1.2 miles of man vs. man hurling. The analogy for American sports fans would be 33 % of weekend baseball games decided with two outs, full count, bottom of the ninth, game decided on the last pitch. In these both road bowlers face the finish often only a few yards apart, each with the same number of throws. In the tension and suspense each must make their final throw. Sometimes after 1.2 miles of competition, the “score” (match) is decided by only a few feet or even inches.

Coopers Rock State Forest, near Morgantown, only 65 miles from Pittsburgh Airport, is easily accessible for the New York and Boston bowlers, and Lakeview Golf Resort, on Cheat Lake, three miles from the bowling road, was an ideal headquarters for the tournament. Henry Clay Road is well shaded for hot weather, but a bit steeper than usual for a North American Region Final, so the Novice 1, Novice 2 matches, and Junior B doubles exhibition bowled a mostly uphill course, bowling “in” and the lower grade Novice 3 and Novice 4 bowled mostly downhill, “out.” New for 2012, on Friday afternoon an Open Novice Challenge gave new players from anywhere not associated with the New York, Boston, or West Virginia clubs a chance to qualify for the tournament. Five players representing new clubs qualified, three from North Carolina, one from Philadelphia and one from San Francisco. John Cotter, Philadelphia and Ronan Wethers, San Francisco qualified for Novice 3, and Justin Hunter, John Hunter and Bill Rote, North Carolina, qualified for Novice 4.

Saturday Semi-Finals

Novice 4 – out -

Novice 4 is usually for beginners or players who have played for a year or less. Bill Rote of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a beginner who had never thrown a bowl prior to the tournament, nevertheless was able to keep his throws in the road, staying close to the leaders for ¾ mile. Then, falling a couple shots behind, he congratulated his opponents and graciously withdrew, with that courtly sportsmanship reminiscent of both the Old South and Old Ireland.

Carl George of WV had big shots early and John Hunter, North Carolina, was sharp and accurate, finishing second, but Cathal Walsh, Boston, was able to hold a bowl of odds (at least one full shot ) lead into the last curve, and closed out the match.

Novice 1 - in -

Ken McClintic, a two-time West Virginia Novice 2 state champion, was challenging up one grade to face Ferghal O’Sullivan, for Boston, in the Novice 1 semi-final. McClintic is superintendent of scenic Holly River State Park, and has helped introduce Irish Road Bowling into the WV state park system, where nine scenic country roads all over the Mountain State are available to the public for play. McClintic threw long shots accurately with no mistakes, but O’ Sullivan was just as accurate and as a Novice 1, carried more speed. Gradually O’Sullivan pulled away for the Novice 1 semi final win.

Novice 3 - out -

After the first half mile, Anthony “Flash” Gordon, Boston and Clifton Colebank, West Virginia, were able to pull away from the Friday play-in newcomer, Ronan Whethers, of San Francisco. In the second half mile, Gordon, throwing accurately, began to extend a lead over Colebank. Approaching the final curve, Colebank hit a big downhill while Flash went off the road, cutting Gordon’s lead to less than 50 yards. In the curve, Colebank did not have full sight into the straightaway to the finish. Somehow, running at an angle to the straight, Clifton was able to get the bowl to cross the crown from left to right, yet stay on the road, rolling down the right track and far across the finish, more than 180 yards. Throwing from full sight, Flash nevertheless had a long distance for the win and did not cover, giving West Virginia its first victory, a come-from-behind, last-shot thriller.

Novice 2 - in –

WV State Champion Stephen Wallington, a high school baseball pitcher, throws with an accurate Irish-like style. Wallington had a thrilling last shot win over Travis McClintic at Coopers Rock in the West Virginia State Championship in July, but never played in a North American Region Finals. Veteran Florrie O’Mahoney, previously an All Ireland Junior C Champion, has blazing wrist-snapping speed, and the mostly uphill road favored his power. With a huge bowl from the start line into the first curve, O’Mahoney took a quick one shot lead. Forced to drive the bowl uphill too hard to match O’Mahoney’s power, Wallington lost some accuracy while Florrie stayed razor sharp on each throw. Approaching the finish there was a good distance between players, and when Florrie closed with two massive throws including a long uphill last, he set an incredible course record of 15 shots “in,” mostly uphill. That’s one for the ages and a score for the local lads to shoot for!

Novice 4 - out -

Boston bowler P.J. Kelley is a big, big boy. New to the sport this year, he has plenty of power, and from a sprint he seems to lay the bowl gently into the road, but then it rockets ahead a long way. Scott Koon of WV, bowling on his home course, in contrast throws with a deadly accurate style, reads the road like a veteran, taking maximum advantage of the road’s “pitch and camber” on every shot. Koon and Kelley, accuracy vs. power, made an interesting match, and when Justin Hunter of North Carolina got into a good rhythm from the start, all three stayed together for more than a half mile, until Koon and Kelley made huge downhill bowls that Hunter did not match. Into the last curve Kelley held a one shot lead. Koon needed to cover the entire final straight to the line in one throw, but did not. Kelly made his shot to about 60 yards to the finish. With a short throw for the win, Kelly went off the road into the woods, but with plenty of speed through rocks and trees for the victory.

Novice 1 - in -

Three-time All Ireland finalist and two-time All Ireland Champion Brendan Fleming of Boston is only a few years away from his seventh decade, and is not large in stature, but has a lion’s heart for road bowling. With speed, savvy and a deadly accurate delivery, Brendan takes great delight beating youngsters twice his size and half his age. There cannot be many athletes anywhere in the USA Brendan’s size and age that are better. Just to watch him throw is an education in road bowling, Brendan is able to put every ounce of his weight behind every shot.

Jerod Putnam, a founder of road bowling in West Virginia, and a former college American football player, is big, strong and throws with plenty of speed. Jerod can be wild, and has been known to hammer rocks and trees and murder weeds. When Jerod winds up, spectators pay attention. Nevertheless he has high-level experience. Coming through the first curve, Jerod threw an off the road, “dead bowl” and was one shot down. The long beginning climb uphill, played in the mid-day heat, took its toll on the legs of both players but favored the younger Putnam. Still, through several curves and then down a long straightaway, Brendan held his lead. Putnam found his rhythm and drew closer with every throw. Both men together faced the final steep uphill shot, Fleming holding a slim 20 yard advantage. Here, finally Jerod made a brilliant shot in the center of the road, uphill more than 100 yards to the line, then another 70 yards beyond. As Brendan gathered to throw, spectators thought no way could he make such a long steep uphill shot. The bowl came in the center of the road across the line, then unbelievably continued to climb and climb even as it slowed. Closer and closer to Jerod’s tip, it finally went off very close. Did Brendan make it? No, it stopped five feet short of a miracle! Still, one of the finest, most exciting singles matches ever in West Virginia’s road bowling history.

Novice 3 – out –

Trevor Kelly of Boston, a GAA athlete, Tom Neville of WV, a college swimmer and summer soccer coach in Finland, and John Cotter of Philadelphia, whose father was a road bowls player in Co Cork, made the three-handed score going “out.” Cotter won the Friday play-in to make the semi-final. Kelly has played the sport only 1 ½ years moving up from Novice 4 in 2011, to Novice 3 based on winning matches. He has terrific speed and as his accuracy improves he will move up more grades. Kelly’s speed put him ahead, Neville stayed close behind. Tom Neville bowled smooth and steady, but at the final curve facing the straightaway to the finish was almost one bowl of odds behind. Kelly finished with 17 shots to Neville’s 18, a couple short shots midway put John Cotter back at 20.

Novice 2 - in -

Con O’Callaghan, Boston and Travis McClintic, West Virginia, faced off in a rematch of their 2011 score in Boston. McClintic, a former WVU football player, currently a professional bull rider, bowled the match of his life, plenty of power uphill, long shots, no mistakes. Veteran O’Callaghan, a two time All Ireland Champion, threw hard to stay close. Then on level ground Con used “educated topspin” to grab and hold the road, playing the pitch and camber with exactitude, unleashing two massive “savage” bowls, each more than 200 yards, to take the lead. At the final curve facing the steep uphill to the finish, O Callaghan led by nearly a bowl of odds. McClintic drove one last powerful shot uphill about 180 yards to draw near to the finish, but O’Callaghan had two shots to pass it and rolled across the line for the win.

Sunday Finals

Novice 4 - out -

P.J. Kelly and Cathal Walsh are new to road bowling in 2012. These friends, both from Boston play each other often, so there was high interest in the club for the match. Both men threw with more accuracy than in the semi finals. Kelly won the Novice 4 Championship in a very close match which was decided only on the last shot, by the speed of P. J.’s bowl.

Novice 1 - in -

Two big lads, Jerod Putnam, WV and Ferghal O’Sullivan, Boston, faced off for the Novice 1 Championship. They threw with equal speed with Putnam taking a lead on the first throw from the start. However, beginning the uphill climb, Jerod dropped off a couple short shots while O’Sullivan was able to skirt the edges without ever losing the road. Powering uphill with an early lead, O’Sullivan never missed a shot, staying ahead for the Novice 1 Championship win.

Novice 3 - out

For the second year in a row Clifton Colebank put West Virginia in the championship score, also winning a Novice 3 semifinal at Wampatuck in Boston in 2011. At Coopers Rock, Colebank and Kelly bowled together, “nothing in it,” until on a steep downhill Kelly cut tight into a curve and off the road, with so much speed he was through the grass, back on the road and away down the hill for a huge bowl. From the final curve, as he had done the day before, Clifton covered the 180 yard final straightaway in one throw but Kelly had two shots to cover, which he did in style for the Novice 3 win.

Ladies’ Long Shot -

The Ladies’ Longshot was thrown from the start line of the Novice 2 Final into a level or slightly uphill straight of about 190 yards. Nine ladies who had patiently trudged up and down the road with the men finally had a chance to throw. Each woman made three throws. Among the favorites were Aleacha Wallington, the WV 2011 women’s singles champion, and Elise McClintic and Judy Mize, both former WV Ladies’ Longshot Champions. Aleacha threw a big bowl, passing Elise to set the mark at 495 feet (165 yards). But Becky Felton followed, rolling far up the road toward the tip, 494 feet, only twelve inches short! Aleacha wins the 2012 Longshot Championship, barely. Congratulations Aleacha and Becky.

Novice 2 - in -

Con O’Callaghan is a two-time Novice 1 All Ireland Champion, Florrie O’Mahoney won an All Ireland Championship in Junior C. The two veterans know the sport inside and out, carry plenty of speed, accuracy and savvy, competing since childhood in Co Cork and then in Boston. Not as young as they once were, either man still would have great prospects for a Novice 2 All Ireland Championship in Drogheda, September 8 & 9. Both men are fast, but Florrie faster and up the hill his power gradually pulled several yards ahead into a lead, still a very close match. Through tight curves on the top, O’Callaghan pressed his luck and gained several yards back. Shot for shot Florrie answered, with a slim lead, until both men were facing a slight downhill into a long level straightaway. It was as if Con saw his chance and jumped on it. He unleashed a massive “monster” bowl more than 260 yards, taking nearly the entire straight, into the curve, getting sight up the steep hill to the finish. Now all eyes turned to Florrie, he had to cover or come close to Con’s huge throw. And Florrie showed his fight with a huge bowl himself. Not as long as Con’s but Florrie took most of the straight, perhaps 200 yards. O’Mahoney followed with a fast bowl into the curve, a few yards ahead of O’Callaghan. Now both men had the same score, both facing the long uphill to the finish, O‘Mahoney only slightly ahead. Waiting for spectators to clear, Con knew he had to drive the bowl a long distance past the finish line to overcome Florrie‘s speed and extra yardage. Finally the throw, reaching back for extra power is always a risk, the bowl off the road, first mistake by either man! O‘Mahoney, now with two shots to cross the line, threw a strong uphill bowl across for the Novice 2 Championship. Best O’Luck in Drogheda, Florrie. Without a doubt, one of the two or three best-ever scores in West Virginia.

(Ed. Note - Florrie O’Mahoney went on to win the All Ireland Championship, Novice 2, in Drogheda, Ireland, September 9.)

Junior B Exhibition - in -

Immediately after the Novice 2 thriller came even faster bowling. Adrian Lappin and Fergal Carr of the New York Club are the highest rated road bowlers in North America. At Junior B grade, they are not at the very top tier of the sport, (Senior and Intermediate) but are in a larger group of the best players in the world. Adrian is a three-time All Ireland Champion, most recently Junior C in 2010,and Fergal has won two, recently Junior C in 2009.

Teaming with two of West Virginia’s best women players, Adrian with Aleacha Wallington, who just won the Ladies Longshot, and Fergal with Elise McClintic, WV 2011 Longshot Champion, they closed the weekend with a doubles match.

Novice 2 veterans O’Callaghan and O’Mahoney, both formerly rated Junior C, carry plenty of speed. Both can rocket the bowl 200 yards down the middle or on the right side (track) or the left track. When necessary either man can cut close to the edge of the road surface, usually without going off.

Lappin and Carr, the younger Junior B players, two grades higher, also routinely send the bowl 200 yards, but the road seems wider for them, they constantly cut the edges, the bowl striking the road only 6 to 12 inches from the berm with a controlled overspin which pulls the bowl away from danger, back into the road center to get every possible yard from the throw.

At higher levels experienced bowlers can play any shot at least five different ways - a left-track, right-track or cross-crown line, also, angle, situation, i.e., need to play a safe, conservative shot or an all out driving dangerous throw, and many other factors. Bowler and “road shower” (coach) analyze the best ”line” or path in the road to maximize distance.

Aleacha and Elise, our two West Virginia mountain gals were evenly matched and bowled well, shot for shot. “They could beat a lot of men,” Lappin remarked. On the early uphill, Lappin and Carr generated great speed, covering the steep road in fewer throws, cutting close to the edge whenever needed to take the shortest route.

Carr and McClintic were ahead at the top of the first uphill, the teams bowled shot for shot through curves, then Aleacha made up ground with a long bowl down the straight. In the final curve facing the steep hill to the finish, as in the previous match, both men had sight to the finish, Carr with a slight five yard lead. Lappin rocketed a big shot up the long uphill on a line only a few inches from the right edge, across the finish and 50 yards beyond. Carr faced a long uphill to pass Lappin for the win.

He threw, following the same tight line on the right edge, but too tight! Off the road! Suddenly the match, and an incredible West Virginia weekend of space-rocket bowling and last-throw suspense, was over.

After watching the bowl fly with the speed and accuracy (and must be admitted, sometimes luck) necessary in bringing a score down to those final dramatic moments, an observer must reflect Irish Road Bowling is undervalued as ancient and great sport in the USA, if not in Ireland.

You take Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson - I’ll take O’Mahoney and O’Callaghan, Lappin and Carr!

All Ireland Finals, September 7, 8 & 9

North American Region Team Novice 1 and Novice 2 Champions Ferghal O’Sullivan and Florrie O’Mahoney will continue their pursuit of another All Ireland Championship in Drogheda, Co Louth, September 8th and 9th. Bring us a trophy lads!

From Eamonn Nugent,
eamonnnugent@hotmail.com
Secretary Bol chumann Ceantair Droichead Atha (Drogheda)

This is a list of the hotels, Drogheda, Co Louth area that have easy access to the road for the Bowling.

The Boyne valley hotel Reservations 04198377370 or email wwwboynevalley-drogheda

The D hotel 041987770 or email info@thedhotel.com

The Salthouse Tel 0419834426

Scholars Townhouse Hotel 04198535410 or email info@scholarshotel.com

The Westcourt Hotel 041980965

There are many, too many to mention b&b around also and a call to Drogheda tourist office will provide you with a list of telephone numbers.

Our Thanks

Many thanks to Matt Cooper, former Coopers Rock State Forest superintendent and Patrick Saffer current superintendent for their help with the Finals, patience and oversight. And many thanks to Dave Plevitch of the Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitors Bureau for his constant support and encouragement.

Other Notes

The West Virginia University Mountaineer, in buckskins, with coonskin cap, fired his musket over Cheat Lake Friday night and on the road Sunday to start the scores. This fine young man was a Hatfield, direct descendant of the Hatfields from the feud and told me that Uncle Anse Hatfield was remembered as a kind and courageous family protector by all the Hatfields. And they never, ever referred to him as Devil Anse.

Saturday morning Bob Gross from Buckhannon fired his Civil War Cannon twice to start the day, and it rattled your teeth.

Alongside the road Saturday a rattlesnake stretched out in the sun to watch the score. She was the color of leaves, tan, brown, yellow and grey. Someone said the yellow meant female. When all the lads crowded around she coiled up and wiggled her tail very fast to warn everyone to give her room. So beautiful we figured the Boston lads wished they had had lots of these lovely creatures across the sea in Ireland.

See you in the road or in the ditch, O’David O’Powell


From Adrian Lappin, New York Club

Massive Congrats to the West Virginia Bowling Club on hosting a brilliant weekend of top class bowling. The Novice 3 and 4 grades again proved to be a great success with high numbers of new bowlers competing and spectating.

Florrie o Mahoney won the Novice 2 with a brilliant display to defeat Con Callaghan on the last shot. Big "Quinchers" from San Fransico/Boston Bowling won the Novice 1 with a fine performance on Sunday to defeat a gallant Jerod Putnam who caused an upset by defeating Brendan Fleming on the Saturday.

Novice 3 and 4 went to the Boston club with Trevor and PJ kelly winning very impressively.

Until next year we shall keep the Bowling Flag flying stateside.

Boston clubs, as well as  players from other states, will face off on Henry Clay Road

Friday, August 3
Qualifying scores held
Saturday, August 4
Semi-finals
Sunday, August 5
Championship finals in Junior C, Novice 1, Novice 2, Novice 3, and Novice 4 grades

  

Winners in Junior C, Novice 1 and Novice 2 grades advance to the All Ireland Finals in September in the country of Ireland.

This is the national throw-down show-down, see the best play in the road!
Shots can roll 250 or even 300 yards.
The Ladies Long Shot competition, Sunday August 5, will be open to the public.
Headquarters: Lakeview Golf Resort (www.lakeviewresort.com, 1 (800) 624-8300, 1 (304) 594-1111), Irish Road Bowlers discount room rate available through July 13, 2012.
Info: Clifton Colebank (304) 698-9065, Mark Wilt (304) 698-6817, David Powell (202) 387-1680, Cell: (202) 905-1959

  

March 31, 2012 Rollin' at the (Coopers) Rock

The West Virginia Irish Road Bowling Association announces the First Annual
Irish Road Bowling score (match) at Coopers Rock State Forest, Saturday, March 31.

Everyone welcome! Team bowling. Join the WVIRBA for a roll and stroll through Coopers Rock.

Irish Road Bowling is one of the oldest sports in the world. Easy to learn, easy to play, road bowling requires only leisurely walking between throws, yet is very exciting, as the shots can roll 200 yards or more.

Registration: Noon in lower parking lot at the forest entrance. Start line is nearby and the course ends at Ravens Rock Trail parking area. Road will be closed to traffic.

Registration fee: $5 per team (2, 3 or 4 people), includes everything to road bowl.

Info: Chris Felton (304) 282-7732; Clifton Colebank (304) 698-9065.

  

Coopers Rock State Forest to host Irish Road Bowling National Championship

MORGANTOWN, WV – February 17, 2012 – The West Virginia Irish Road Bowling Association will host the national championship of Irish Road Bowling at Coopers Rock State Forest near Morgantown, WV on August 3-5, 2012.

This ancient Irish sport, one of the oldest in the world, has found a new home on West Virginia’s beautiful country roads. Similar to golf, Irish road bowling is played on a one to two mile road, and throws can roll 250 or even 300 yards. The iron and steel “bowl” is the size of a tennis ball.

The North American Region Finals will include the best players from Boston, New York and West Virginia. This year, for the first time, some tournaments slots will be reserved for players from other clubs getting started in other states.

Several All Ireland Champions are expected to be on hand as competitors or playing pick-up scores, including two-time All Ireland Champions Con O’Callaghan, Roger O’Riordan, Brendan Fleming, Mike Fleming, and Florrie O’Mahoney as well as Decky O’Shea, Tom Sullivan, Cian O’Callaghan, Mike O’Donovan and Barry Curran, all from Boston. From New York, the two highest rated players in the USA, Adrian Lappin and Fergal Carr, both are two-time All Ireland Champions, are expected as well as Paul Laverly, Kevin O’Keefe, Brendan O’Keefe and Mick Maloney.

The best players from West Virginia will be defending the 1.2 mile Henry Clay Road, including two-time North American Region Champion Travis Craig from Ireland, WV, Travis McClintic, Lewisburg, Stephen Wallington, Culloden, Mark Whitt, Beckley, Wayne Marrs, West Union, Clifton Colebank, Bruceton Mills, Nick Mick and Scott Koon, Morgantown, Mark Wilt, Kingwood, and Jerod Putnam, Ireland, WV.

Qualifying scores will be held on Friday, August 3, semi-finals on Saturday August 4, and championship finals Sunday August 5, in Junior C, Novice 1, Novice 2, Novice 3 and Novice 4 grades. Champion and Runner-Up Trophies will be awarded in all grades. Winners in Junior C, Novice 1 and Novice 2 grades advance to the All Ireland Finals in September in the country of Ireland.

A Ladies Long Shot competition will be held on Sunday August 5 and will be open to the public.

Several slots in Novice 3 and Novice 4 are reserved for new/start-up clubs from other states and Canada, who are not affiliated with the Boston, New York or West Virginia clubs. In addition, there will be informal pick-up scores among newcomers, and mixing newcomers with experienced players.

Coopers Rock State Forest is a 12,700-acre forest with more than 50 miles of trails, and spectacular cliff-top overlooks into the Cheat River Gorge. Nearby attractions are Cheat Lake (boating and swimming), Forks of Cheat Winery, and historic Morgantown. www.coopersrockstateforest.com. 1-800-CALL-WVA.

Headquarters will be at nearby Lakeview Golf Resort where an Irish road bowlers’ discount room rate will be available through July 13, 2012.

www.lakeviewresort.com 1 (800) 624-8300, 1 (304) 594-1111

For more information, contact Clifton Colebank (304) 698-9065, Mark Wilt (304) 698-6817 or David Powell (202) 387-1680, Cell: (202) 905-1959


WV state play-offs for entry into the North American Region Finals, August 3-5, 2012

Women's

Pipestem 1 Elise McClintic
Strawberry 4/P5-Kim Colebank

P 3 Aleacha Wallington
S 2 Sam Mann

S1 Judy Mize
P4 Janaka Oxendien

S3 Marsha Jordan
P2 Becky Felton

Novice 3

Pipestem 1 Bryan Wimer
Strawberry 4 Dave Powell

P3 Clifton Colebank
S2 Jack Jones

S1 Eric George
P4/S5- Mark Wilt

S3 Tom Neville
P2 Wayne Marrs

Novice 2

Pipestem 1 Travis McClintic
Strawberry 4 Bye

P3 Stephen Wallington
S2 Rich Meece

S1 Jared Putnam
P4 Mark Whitt

S3 Ken McClintic
P2 Nick Mick

Novice 4

Pipestem 1 Chris Felton
Sttrawberry 4 Sam Zizzi

P3 Ron Bennett
S2 Carl George

S1 Christian Abildso
P4/S5- Scott Koon

S3 Travis Able
P2 Kevin Smith


2011

Tom Sullivan, Boston, with two last-shot wins, takes North American Region Novice 2 championship

The steely nerves of Tom Sullivan carried him through two final–shot wins before Sunday’s come-from-behind victory over two-time All Ireland Champion Con O’Callaghan, Boston, in the Novice 2 final at Wampatuck State Park, Hingham, Massachusetts. Earlier in the week, Sullivan edged another two-time All Ireland Champion, Brendan Fleming, by a few yards on the final shot, both men throwing a very low score of 17.

In Saturday’s semi-finals, Travis Craig from Ireland, West Virginia, took a lead with long, mistake-free bowling until Sullivan finally caught him, with Sullivan’s next to last shot, a brilliant twister around a 90 degree curve, through the pine needles, then jumping into the road uphill toward the finish line. Craig made a final throw far past the line in pursuit, but not far enough, as Sullivan then passed it, again by just a few yards, for the win over Craig and Mick Moloney, New York.

In the other semi-final O’Callaghan threw four long opening shots to stay within striking distance of the great speed shown by West Virginia’s Travis McClintic, in Travis’ first score through the leafy green tunnel that is Wampatuck road. Then when McClintic dropped a short shot, O’Callaghan was able to catch him and take the lead, using his accuracy and knowledge of the road to go on to the win over McClintic and Kevin O’Keefe of New York.

As storm clouds gathered over Sunday’s final, the veteran O’ Callaghan blasted out to a quick lead from the start to the first corner in four throws. Through that corner in driving rain, after O’Callaghan dropped off two short shots, Sullivan was able to even the score and then go ahead with razor-keen accuracy down the straight. Into the S-curve, O’Callaghan’s fast downhill throw, usually likely to run through and make sight, was instead trapped in wet grass at the bottom. Without sight Con dropped back yet another shot. One short throw by Sullivan raised a slight chance for O’Callaghan, but it was not to be as Tom threw sharp and accurate into the final straightaway for the victory.

All participating clubs wish Tom Sullivan All the Best as he represents the North American Region in the All Ireland Finals, County Mayo, Westport, September 10 & 11. His hard-fought battles were exciting to see.

In the Novice 1 finals, Decky O’ Shea defeated two-time All Ireland Champion Roger O’Riordan in an earlier five- match series, 3 to 1, three of the four scores contested to the final shot. All the Best to Decky in the All Irelands.

In 2011, for the first time, the North American Region added contests in Novice 3 and Novice 4, on shortened roads. The All Irelands do not yet include Novice 3 & 4, so these matches were for North American region titles only.

In Saturday’s Novice 3 semifinal, Wayne Marrs of West Virginia, in his first Boston experience, nevertheless brought his “A-game” to Wampatuck, and led New York’s Brendan O’ Keefe all the way to near the finish. O’ Keefe reached back and made a huge third-from-final shot to draw close to Marrs. Then on his final shot, across the finish line, O’Keefe finally caught Marrs, slowly rolling uphill past Wayne’s tip by a mere five feet for the victory.

In the other Novice 3 semifinal, Cian O’Callaghan displayed both speed and control, defeating Nick Mick of West Virginia.

In the Novice 3 final, a hard-fought match gave Boston’s Cian O’ Callaghan the win over New York’ s Brendan O’Keefe, on the last shot by only six feet, after nearly one mile of bowling.

In the Novice 4 semi-final, Scott Koon of West Virginia quickly fell behind New York’s Alan O’Connor by two shots, but mid way Koon began to find his rhythm with long shots, and his huge bowl nearing the finish closed to less than one bowl of odds. O’Connor still held the lead and across the finish passed Scott’s tip for the last shot win by a few feet, both players taking the same number of throws.

In the other Novice 4 semi-final, Clifton Colebank from West Virginia was steady and accurate with throws down the centerline to defeat Boston’s Trevor Kelly.

In the Novice 4 final, semi-final winner Alan O’ Connor from New York could not appear to compete. After some confusion, it was decided that Clifton Colebank would bowl Trevor Kelly again to provide a score for Sunday. Neither player threw their best but Kelly was able to take the win over Colebank. With hindsight, another solution could have been O’Connor forfeit to Colebank, with Scot Koon and Trevor Kelly throwing for runner-up, but as the new grades of Novice 3 and 4 added more scores and a tighter schedule to manage as well as excitement to the weekend, it is hoped that they will become a permanent part of the North American Region finals every year. It gives more new bowlers a chance to compete.

In an exhibition New York’s Adrian Lappin, rated Junior B, threw Boston’s Novice 1 Decky O’Shea, six shots from mid-point back to start line. On the first two shots, O’Shea held a slight lead, but then Lappin’s speed and accuracy took over. Some of the best players of the weekend had nearly made the first corner in four shots, but bowling back from that corner to the start line, Lappin’s fourth crossed the line, ran around the curve, made the ladies and children at the food table jump to safety, and rolled on to rest at the crossroads among the parked cars. Thanks to both Adrian and Decky for giving all in attendance that exhibition.

Good to see two fine young under 14 years bowlers at Wampatuck, where Johnny O’ Connor (NY) defeated Sean O’ Mahoney (Boston) by one bowl.

In the Ladies Longshot, Marsha Jordan of West Virginia defended her 2010 win against a large group of ladies, and became a two-time champion with the long shot at Wampatuck in 2011. Marsha then matched a score against Boston’s Eileen McGrath, and although Marsha had several good shots, Eileen consistently threw long bowls for the win.

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Results - WVIRBA state championship

Many thanks to the Boston Club for hosting a wonderful and successful sporting weekend, with last-shot thrilling scores at all grades. Kevin and Eileen McGrath’s The Half Door Pub and Restaurant in the heart of Quincy Center (e-mail: halfdoor@comcast.net) provided great food all weekend and a merry awards Ceili, with Brendan Fleming on the accordion, Sean O’Mahoney the best song, and Florrie O’ Mahoney’s lovely daughter giving a graceful Irish dance. See www.wvirishroadbowling for news about this ancient sport in West Virginia and the North American Region.

Craig and McClintic Battle to Last Shot, Novice 2

On Wildcat Road in Ireland, WV, Travis Craig and Travis McClintic thrilled the crowd, matching shot for shot until McClintic edged Craig by 10 feet on the final throw. Both bowlers covered the 1.3 mile Wildcat road in 17 throws.

Craig opened the score with a huge bowl, to about 180 yards from the start line, but McClintic’s first throw answered back almost as far, about 160 yards. Each bowler had four long shots past the white picket fence nearly to Shenanigan Hill, then both men dropped off short bowls to still remain even. Rolling into the sharp curve at the red barn, McClintic held a slight lead, but a big bowl through and coming out of the curve by Craig put him in the lead once more, both men with 15 shots.

In the home-stretch straightaway, facing the finish from about 200 yards, McClintic threw to about 40 yards short of the line. From about 175 yards, with one long throw to make the line for the win, Craig overthrew the bowl short, as can happen to the best of bowlers, leaving about 65 yards to the line. Craig made a strong 17th throw, at least 50 yards past the finish. McClintic threw his 17th for the win, not his best shot, but with enough speed through the grass and the weeds to pass Craig by 10 feet for the victory.

It was a fine display of speed, skill and sportsmanship, and congratulations to both men. All the Best! as they travel to Boston August 5-7, the Pride of West Virginia, representing The Old Game from the Mountain State, bringing some WV Mountain Justice to the fearsome Northmen, our ancient foes from New York and Boston.

Ladies Finals: In the ladies finals Aleacha Wallington once again used her accuracy, skill and athleticism, to roll to a runaway victory past the field, covering the road (bowling back finish to start), in 21 throws. Marsha Jordan had fine shots to hold second place.

Semifinals: 1) Aleacha Wallington 22 v. Marsha Jordan 29 v. Sam Mann 31 v. Haleigh Felton ; 2) Judy Mize 28 (won by distance) v. Becky Felton 28 v. Kim Colebank 29 v. Pat Schumann

Finals: Aleacha Wallington 21 v. Marsha Jordan v. Judy Mize 29 (distance) v. Kim Colebank 29

Novice 3: Bowling out, Nick Mick had three huge shots off the start line to go past the white picket fence and take a big lead over Wayne Marrs, who had thrown an amazing-to-watch score of 16 bowling back in the semi-finals. Nick Mick held the lead, finishing with another long throw down the homestretch, tying the course record bowling out with 15 shots for the win.

Novice 4: Jack Jones, new to roadbowling, threw consistent scores and won Novice 4 with 19 shots, over Clifton Colebank.

Novice 2: Semifinals: 1) Stephen Wallington 17 v. Ken McClintic 18; 2) Travis McClintic BYE; 3) Travis Craig 16 (course record bowling back) v. Mark Whitt 17; 4) Rich Meece BYE;

 2 Finals: Travis McClintic 17 (win by distance) v. Travis Craig 17 v. Stephen Wallington 18 v. Rich Meece 22

Novice 3: Semifinals: 1) Wayne Marrs 16 (course record bowling back) v. Bryan Wimer 20 v. David Powell 23; 2) Nick Mick 19 v. Mark Wilt 22 v. Eric George 23;

3 Finals: Nick Mick 15 (tied course record, bowling out) v. Wayne Marrs 21

Novice 4: Semifinals: 1) Jack Jones 21 v. Kevin Smith     ; 2) Clifton Colebank    v. Tom Ditty    ; 3) Scott Koon v. John Nelson   

4 Finals: Jack Jones 19 v. Clifton Colebank 21 v. Scott Koon 23

Pipestem Resort State Park - April 17, 2011

On the one mile Pipestem Road, many new players made this an exciting and memorable event. Our congratulations and best wishes to Ms. Wallington for a tremendous score of 15 shots to win easily on the one mile road, and also to her husband Stephen for his fine winning score of 13 shots.

Men

Stephen Wallington - 13
Rich Meece - 14 25 ft
Nick Mick - 14 20 ft
Wayne Marrs - 14 2 ft
Mark Whitt - 15
Mark Wilt - 16 25 ft
Clifton Colebank - 16 20 ft
Brian Wimmer - 16 15ft
Dave Powell - 16 10ft
Chris Felton - 18ft
Kevin Smith - 20 20ft
John Nelson - 20 15 ft

Women

Aleacha Wallington - 15 (!!!)
Becky Felton - 21 20ft
Kim Colebank - 21 15 ft
Samantha Mann - 23
Haleigh Felton - 33

Strawberry Festival, Buckhannon, WV - May 22, 2011

Men

On the one-mile Turkey Run Road, several of WV's best bowlers threw hard on a hot day to fill out the second qualifier for the WV state finals, to be held July 16, 17 in Ireland, WV. Travis Craig ably defended his status as multi- WV state champion, by a thrilling come-from-behind win, from two shots behind, to edge out Travis McClintic by 17 feet on the final shot, after 1.2 miles of bowling. Newcomer Brian Wimer qualified third, with veteran Ken McClintic the fourth qualifier at Strawberry.

1)Travis Craig 2) Travis MsClintic 3) Brian Wimer 4) Ken McClintic

Women

Veteran players Judy Mize and Marsha Jordan had a shot for shot battle through 8 shots until Marsha, 2010 North American Ladies Long Shot Champion, pulled away for a three shot victory. Pat Shumann and Haleigh Felton followed with several long shots.

1) Marsha Jordan 2) Judy Mize 3) Pat Schumann 4) Haleigh Felton

West Virginians drop three matches on final shots

Irish Road Bowling Irish Road Bowling


2009

Ireland, West Virginia August 7, 8 & 9, 2009

2.2 mile course, Wildcat Road to Duffy Bridge
Junior C, Novice 1 & Novice 2 Grades

Winners go to Bol~Chumann na hEirenn All Ireland Finals, Drogheda, September 11, 12, 13 in Ireland (the Country)

August 8 & 9, Ireland, West Virginia

Novice 2 - Brian O'Sullivan of Boston bowled long and straight both days to take the Novice 2 trophy.

All trophies for Novice 2, Novice 1 and Junior C were West Virginia hand-blown glass, made by nationally known artisan Ron Hinkle from nearby Buckhannon.

For More Information, Please contact David Powell (202) 387-1680, or Judy Mize (202) 402-4167

2009 North American Region Winners

2009 North American Region Winners - Brian O'Sullivan, Novice 2, Boston; Fergal Carr, Junior C, New York- (Fergal went on to win the All Ireland Championship); Travis Craig, Novice 1, West Virginia.

♣ Hosted by West Virginia Irish Road Bowling Association

Novice 1 - On 1.2 mile Wildcat Road in Ireland, WV, in the greatest weekend ever for West Virginia Irish Road Bowling, local road bowler Travis Craig upset two-time All Ireland Champion Con O' Callaghan on his final shot, to capture the North American Region Novice 1 Championship, with both bowlers scoring the same number of shots, but Craig's final bowl traveling farther across the finish line. Con O'Callaghan is the man who brought the correct highly competitive style and techniques to West Virginia from Boston eight years ago, tirelessly and generously teaching Travis, Jerod Putnam also from Ireland, and many other young bowlers across West Virginia how to compete at higher levels. It was truly a case of student defeating teacher. As a teacher, coach and friend, Con has been invaluable in advancing this sport in West Virginia. In the Saturday semi-finals O' Callaghan had bowled brilliantly, setting a new course record of 15 shots, including one shot which went up the front of the steep hill for about 75 yards, over the top, and down the other side, totaling more than 250 yards. On Sunday, O'Callaghan was not as sharp in the 90 + degree heat and Travis was able to improve his throwing enough to fight to within ten yards before his final, winning shot.

By winning the North American Novice 1 championship, Craig now will advance to the Bol~Chumann na hEireann All Ireland finals, in Drogheda, Ireland, September 12 and 13. A large contingent of West Virginians is expected to accompany Travis to cheer him on.

Junior C - Also on Sunday, Travis McClintic from Morgantown, former WVU wide receiver and rodeo bull-rider, was runner-up in the Junior C finals to Fergal Carr from the New York city club. In the three-player match, McClintic was able to defeat former All Ireland Junior C Champion Roger O' Riordan from Boston for the Runner- Up trophy. McClintic was even with Roger and fighting to catch up to Fergal, when McClintic threw a huge 200-yard bowl around a sharp curve near the finish line to draw him close to Carr. But Carr followed with another long shot to close out the match.


2005

September 4, 2005

Well the North American Champions ran into fierce competition in West Port, County Mayo, Ireland at the All Irelands Finals, Junior C, Novice I and Novice II September 3 and 4.

Con O Callaghan, Boston was defeated in Junior C by a bowl and a half of odds, Brendan Fleming, Boston was defeated by over three bowls of odds in Novice I, and Barry Curran, Boston was beaten on the final shot in Novice II. These bowlers have brought back All Ireland trophies to the USA in the past, so good luck for next time.

Thanks to Margaret O Callaghan, Boston for sending this report.

All Irelands - Boston 2004

West Virginia Irish Road Bowling

Armagh

West Virginia Irish Road Bowling

Cork

Armagh  vs. Cork, the generations-old struggle at battle again in Boston.

What a great weekend of bowling in Wompatuck State Park Hingham!

This is where the North American Bowling finals took part to see who would represent North America in the All Irelands in West Port Co. Mayo on Sept 3rd and 4th. There were players from West Virginia, New York and Boston.
Boston came our champs by winning all three grades.
Results of the weekend:
Novice 2 semi finals Sat
Barry Curran Boston beat Travis Craig W.Va and Kevin O'Connor NY
John Finn Boston beat Jerod Putnam W.Va and Colm Murphy NY
Sun. North American Finals
Brendan Fleming Boston beat Paul Lavery NY in Novice 1 final
Barry Curran Boston beat John Finn Boston in the Novice 2 final
Con O'Callaghan Boston beat Adrian Lappin NY in the Junior C final.
Best of luck to all our representatives in Ireland!

For more info about upcoming matches, contact Con O Callaghan (781) 492-2593 or David Powell (202) 387-1680.

Results - July 31st

Junior C Roger O'Riordan beat Con'Callaghan by two bowls of odds.

Sunday July 17th
Novice 1 Brendan Fleming beat Mike Fleming by a bowl of odds
Niovice 2 Barry Curran beat Frank Finn by two bowl of odds.

Thurs. July 14th
Novice 2 John Finn beat Kevin Twohig

Sunday July 10th
Junior C - Adrian Lappin, NY defeated Florrie O Mahoney, Boston by two bowls of odds. Mike Fleming and Frank Finn, Boston beat Mike Moloney and Eoin O'Riordan, NY.

Saturday July 9th
Junior C - Adrian Lappin, NY defeated Roger O Riordan, Boston in Wompatuck State Park course record bowling when he covered the line and beat the cross in fifteen shots. In a pickup score Mike Maloney, NY defeated Frank Finn, Boston by two bowls of odds.

Sunday July 3rd
Junior C - Con O'Callaghan beat Florrie O'Mahoney.

Sunday June 5th
Novice 2 - Barry Curran beat Gerald Leahy "Boogie" by two bowls of odds.
Junior C - Con O' Callaghan of Boston got off to a great start by beating Adrian Lappin of New York by two bowls of odds.
The Boston Bowling Club would like to thank those who came from New York to bowl for the weekend.

Sunday June 12th
Junior C - Florrie O'Mahoney defeated Roger O'Riordan.

Sunday June 19th
Novice 1- Brendan Fleming defeated Mike Fleming and Brendan O' Donovan, three handed score.

Thursday June 23rd
Novice 2 - Kevin McGrath vs. Kevin Twohig.

Monday June 27th
Novice 1 - second round between Brendan Fleming, Brendan O Donovan, and Mike Fleming will be thrown.

(Ed. - Thanks to Margaret O Callaghan for sending this report.)

Irish Road Bowling

Kevin Twohig, North American Novice I Champion Brendan Fleming and Margaret O Callaghan, hoisting the trophy at Maggie Mae's

Irish Road Bowling Champs

All Ireland Junior C Champion Nicolas Carey, Munster