Newly crowned All Ireland Champion, Martin “Bricky” Briscoe, is carried on the shoulders of his colleagues from the Drogheda and District Road Bowling Club after his win yesterday at Baltray. Photos: Andy Spearman.
Martin “Bricky” Briscoe has a style all of his own at road bowls.
Ryan Quigley from Armagh who was runner up has a totally different style of play.
"Great Shot Bricky!"
Members of the Drogheda and District Road Bowling Club with their hero.
Hosting the All-Ireland Road Bowling Finals meant that it was going to a big weekend for the Drogheda and District Road Bowling Club whatever the outcome but for their man Martin “Bricky” Briscoe from Termonfeckin to emerge as the senior All-Ireland Champion made it very special indeed.
There were repeated shouts of “Good man Bricky” and “Great shot Bricky” along the Baltray Road beside the River Boyne yesterday morning as Briscoe, a gentle giant of a man, went head to head in the final with Ryan Quigley from Armagh.
There were emotional scenes when the local hero finally beat off the Armagh challenge on the last throw of the contest with the many local club members hoisting their man on to their shoulders in celebration.
The following report of the weekend’s bowling is by Susan Greene, the Chairperson of the Irish Road Bowling Association:
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There was disappointment for champions Cork but thrills and excitement aplenty as All-Ireland titles go to North America’s Adrian Lappin, Armagh’s Chris Fields and the weekend’s stand-out performer, local hero, Martin Briscoe.
The Louth man has been a faithful contributor to these finals representing his club and province with distinction over many championships. His hour of glory came on Sunday morning when he took the novice 2 All-Ireland from hot favourite, Ulster champion, Ryan Quigley.
His good form was noted in his Saturday semi-final win when he bettered Cork’s Ollie Murphy and North America’s Mick Maloney and brought the same level of consistency to Sunday’s final.
It was a shot for shot duel between the two, Briscoe shading tips at all exchanges. Briscoe increased his margin with a huge fourteenth and, although missing the line with his next, had enough in hand for a big last shot victory that was celebrated wildly by his sizeable home following. They played for a total of €3,000.
Meanwhile Adrian Lappin snatched a four-metre win from Padraig Nugent in a dramatic junior C final. Both are Armagh natives, Lappin, representing North America, atoned for defeat in last year’s final to Timmy Murphy in Boston, when coming from a bowl down with three to go to take the title.
Nugent, representing London, a previous winner at Fenor, Co. Waterford, had the better of the score of mixed bowling up to that vital last exchange. They played for a total of €6,000.
Cork’s travails continued in the novice 1 final when Shane Collins, the only contender remaining from Saturday, lost out in the decider to Ulster champion Chris Fields. In the final, Fields opened strongly and led by eighty metres after three and then rose a bowl after six. Collins knocked the odds to metres but could never get ahead of his Ulster rival. Chris Fields was composed over the closing exchanges and won by a comfortable last shot.
On Saturday the novice 2’s (novice D’s) were first out with Mayo’s Kevin McGuire throwing the first shot of the weekend as his match with Armagh’s Ryan Quigley and London’s Danny O’Shea got under way. Quigley’s massive second shot set him on the way here and he won the contest which was played for a €450 total. Cork caught a tartar in the second semi when Ollie Murphy found strong opposition in Louth’s Martin Briscoe and New York’s Mick Moloney.
The Cork champion was favourite but never led and the frontline battle revolved around the local and Maloney. They exchanged the lead on numerous occasions until Briscoe’s massive cast around ‘O’Reilly’s’ bend gave him an unassailable lead. The stake money amounted to €800 (Briscoe/Maloney).
Back on the Baltray road, the first of the junior C semis had New Yorker, Adrian Lappin, Ulster’s Ronan McClelland and Louth’s former champion, Gary Shevlin in opposition. This one carried a three-way total of €2,100 plus €7,860 (Lappin/McClelland) and it was last year’s runner-up, Lappin who came from a shot down to defeat McClelland by a bowl and Shevlin by two.
There was more disappointment for Cork when Brian Coughlan lost out in the second junior C semi to London’s Padraigh Nugent. Mayo’s Kevin Lavelle was in the mix also but didn’t figure. Going for a €4,000 total (Nugent/Coughlan), the Carbery man had early momentum going almost a shot up after a massive touch with his third. Nugent was ahead after eight and it was a ding-dong battle between the two from there to the end. Nugent, with a bit of odds won those last vital exchanges.
Cork salvaged something from the semi-finals when Shane Collins won his novice 1 semi from London’s Sean Sexton and Mayo’s Ger Kennedy. The stake money of €2,000 revolved around Collins and Sexton but it was Kennedy who made the brightest start lining a massive opener that gave him a big lead.
Collins reeled in the deficit and was ahead after seven. Bowling well, the Rathcoole man won convincingly. There was a dramatic finish to the second novice 1 semi, a superb battle between Ulster’s Chris Fields, Boston’s Sean O’Mahony and Louth’s prodigy, J P Clinton. All three were in the frame at different stages with O’Mahony and Fields fighting it out for the last shots. The Boston man’s ferocious last looked a certain winner but Fields incredibly beat it with an amazing response.