SEAMUS O'TUAMA: Susan Greene departure leaves road bowling at crossroads

Susan Greene has announced she will not to seek re-election as chairperson of Ból-Chumann na hÉireann, an organisation she has led with distinction since 2001.

She indicated her intention to step down in 2016, but was persuaded to remain at the helm for another year. Her decision now has taken the organisation by surprise and there is no clear favourite to take her place ahead of the close of nominations today.

She created history, both as the first woman and the youngest candidate to be elected to the office. She steps down as the second-longest holder of the post. Her positive attitude and a willingness to find compromise made her very popular.

Like all roles, there were stormy seas, too. She led the association through the Gould affair in 2006 and several other challenges off and on the road.

During her term, Ireland re-established itself as a major force in Europe. In 2008 Ireland hosted the European championships and achieved unprecedented success. She recruited Mark McManus as head coach and the senior men filled the first nine places in road bowling. Her term also saw an expansion of youth, schools, and unlimited bowling.

Despite significant progress, the sport is at a crossroads. The new chairperson will have to be strong on vision to ensure bowling stays relevant to a younger generation and new clubs at home and abroad, while also remaining faithful to traditional bases.

James O’Donovan had a comprehensive two bowls of odds win over Edmund Sexton in the Noel Phair Cup at Shannonvale. He was in charge from his first shot towards Cleary’s, Sexton just beat that in two. He was a bowl clear at the quarry despite a great fifth shot from Sexton. It was just under a bowl after they lofted seven and eight at Desmond’s.

O’Donovan had a full bowl after his next. Sexton’s following effort was too far left. O’Donovan made Kingston’s Lane with his reply to gain a second bowl. Sexton knocked it with his next. O’Donovan pushed clear again with two good bowls to sight to regain his second bowl of odds.

A series of School Aid Romania fund scores, which also marked the Madden Club’s 50th anniversary, were a major success.

Mick O’Neill and Dervla Toal-Mallon beat Kevin McQuade and Kelly Mallon by a bowl. O’Neill opened with a super shot past McMullan’s wall. McQuade was right with his first and Toal-Mallon just missed the tip with her second to leave a bowl between them. Another big one from O’Neill to the pipe corner raised a second bowl.

McQuade and Toal-Mallon then played three brilliant bowls to win the lead. Toal-Mallon opened Lumpy’s corner, McQuade made the shop lane and Toal-Mallon reached the back lane. O’Neill turned the score again by opening Oliver’s corner and McQuade missed to leave a shot between them.

Cousins Paul and Bryan O’Reilly beat Cathal Toal and Ethan Rafferty by a bowl. They were level in the first five to Johnny’s corner. Paul raised a bowl with a shot to pipe corner, which they held to the finish. They matched each other shot for shot till Bryan got a big throw towards the line to secure the win.

Mick Hurley closed with a sensational bowl to beat David Hubbard by almost a bowl in the JJ Murphy Cup at Bauravilla. Hubbard raised a bowl with his first. He held it to Robin’s cross and onto Dekker’s, without excelling.

Hurley levelled with a brilliant bowl to the rock and won his first lead after two more to the end of the railings. Hubbard regained most of a bowl with a great bowl over the bridge. Hurley cut the lead to 50m with a huge bowl to the end of the paling. He then played a record bowl from O’Donoghue’s to just short of the line. That sealed it as Hubbard missed the line in two.

Adrian Buttimer beat Trevor Deane in the last shot at Ballinacarriga. Deane had a good lead after four to the bridge. Buttimer levelled with a great fifth and went well clear after three more to the creamery. He had a bowl after two more to sight at O’Hehir’s corner. Deane closed the gap to the cross. Buttimer regained control by making the line in three more.

Sidney Shannon and Pat Daly advanced to the O’Sullivan-Keating Cup semi-finals at Caheragh, while Martin Murphy beat David Horgan in a tournament final at Lyre.

Next year’s third All-Ireland series will be played in Boston on October 5-7.



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