The Ireland squads for this month’s European Bowling championships in Pesaro, Italy were announced last night at a ceremony in which four new European team cups were also unveiled.
The senior men’s squad is anchored by European champion David Murphy and has a mix of experienced internationals and some new faces.
They face the unenviable task of attempting to emulate the exploits of the most successful Irish team of all time, which filled the first nine places on the leaderboard at Bandon four years ago.
There’s a solid spine to the squad with players like Aidan Murphy, James O’Donovan, Raymond Ryan, Gary Daly, Killian Kingston and the experienced Christy Mullins involved. Ulster pair Conor McGuigan, current All-Ireland champion, and Brian O’Reilly add to the depth of the team.
Ireland is also defending the Dutch Moors titles and will need cover to ensure the team is able to deal with any injuries. Éamon Bowen Jnr has proved to be a big time Moors player in the past, but his form like that of Edmund Sexton has been below par during the Spring. The Moors may offer opportunities too for Wayne Callanan and Michael Murphy, two players capable of producing under pressure.
The Senior women’s squad has the three women who won all the medals on the road at Bandon in 2008 — European Champion Kelly Mallon, Dervla Toal-Mallon and Catriona O’Farrell-Kidney — any one of whom could win gold again. When you add in Carmel Ryan, a former World silver medallist and athletes like Geraldine Daly, Louise Collins and Aisling White, the squad looks impressive.
Underage success has been very difficult to achieve in European championships, however. Top underage players have had very mixed results against their continental rivals. This time out there seems to be a lot more experience and physique in the two Irish senior squads.
The four new international cups unveiled will be presented for the first time at Pesaro. They are named after individuals who have played a major role in Ireland’s participation at European level. The Flor Crowley Cup, named after the founding Chairperson of Ból-Chumann na hÉireann and the first President of the International Bowlplaying Association, will be presented to the winning national senior men’s team for Dutch Moors.
The other three cups will be awarded to European winning teams for Road Bowling. The senior men’s team will receive the Séamus Ó Tuama Cup, named after the former IBA President and Secretary and Ból-Chumann Chairperson and Secretary. The senior women’s team will be awarded the Gretta Cormican Cup after the first winner of both the European and World titles and the leader in the Irish senior roll of honour. The Girls U18 team will receive the Éamon O’Carroll Cup in memory of the founding secretary of Ból-Chumann.
Senior Men: David Murphy; Aidan Murphy; James O'Donovan; Killian Kingston; Éamon Bowen Jnr; Christy Mullins; Raymond Ryan; Edmund Sexton; Wayne Callanan; Gary Daly; Michael Murphy; Conor McGuigan; Brian O'Reilly.
Senior Women: Kelly Mallon; Dervla Toal-Mallon; Catriona O'Farrell- Kidney; Carmel Ryan; Geraldine Daly; Louise Collins; Aisling White.
Boys: Ethan Rafferty; Andrew O'Callaghan; Brian O'Halloran; Cian Boyle; Cian Shorten.
Girls: Meghan Collins; Ciara Buckley; Emma Hickey; Catriona Collins.
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