In the past thirty years considerable success has been achieved in establishing formal organisation links and sustained sporting relationships between the Irish sport of road bowling and exponents of similar games in Holland, Germany and Italy.
A series of international championships has been conducted in each of these countries. Ireland had the honour of hosting the ninth European Bowling championships in Cork City in 1992 and the first ever International Bowling Festival in North Ireland was held in Armagh city in 1994.
The first ever World Road Bowling Championship took place in 1985 and was sponsored by Irish Distillers Limited. The Paddy Whiskey World Road Bowling championship was staged on the Whitechurch Road near the famous village of Blarney over the weekend of June 28th - 30th. This event will be remembered as the greatest showpiece in the history of the game, with teams from Schleswig-Holstein (West Germany), Ost Friesland (West Germany), the Netherlands and Ireland, the host country, taking part.
The eventual winner was, Bill Daly from Ireland. He defeated Henk Lammerink of the Netherlands in a memorable final on June 30, 1985. The Paddy Whiskey World Road Bowling Championship was one of the principle events in the Cork 800 Celebrations to mark the 800th Anniversary of the City's first charter.
This was an enormous undertaking and incorporated stupendous promotion by the sports covering body, Bol-Chumann na hEireann, under the direction of the then Chairman, Brendan Roche, P.C. Bol-Chumann na hEireann was also aided by the International Bowl Playing Association, the Irish Minister for Sport, Donal Creed and the Lord Mayor of Cork, Alderman Liam Burke, T.D., whose term of office encompassed the "Cork 800" Celebrations. Not least in importance to the whole occasion was the magnificent sponsorship by Irish Distillers Limited whose group Managing Director, Richard Borrows assured the success of the venture and of his company's support in the future.
The second Paddy Whiskey World Bowling Championship was held in Whitechurch in 1987. Bill Daly, a member of the Garda Siochana, retained his title defeating Gerry Boylan of county Armagh in the final on Sunday 21st June.
In the 1985 final, Daly defeated the Dutch player, Henk Lammerink who had to retire before the final with a thigh injury.
This heralded a glorious era of international competition and an exciting dimension to the sport of road bowling in Ireland.
The most significant and pervasive development in the history of road bowling in Ireland has been the initiation and perpetuation of International Championships that have created a new and widening perspective to which the sport is rightly and constantly responding.
Ever since the first international bowling championships were held in Losser, Nederlands, in 1969, the present four year cycle of championships between Germany, Holland and Ireland provides a focus at International level for players in all categories and offers the ultimate in supreme honours with the sport.
The international games have also provided for a cross application and appreciation of skills associated with Dutch Moors Bowling, Irish Road Bowling and German Lofting. Teams from each country contribute in all these specialities of the sport.
The first international championships were held over the June Public Holiday weekend of 1969 in Losser in the Northern region of Holland and commenced on Saturday 30th May.
When the International Bowl playing Association (I.B.A.) was founded, Flor Crowley of Ireland became its first President and Ireland's Eamonn O'Carroll its first Honorary Secretary. The Presidency rotates every four years.
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