Success Series: Irish Bowls Men’s Team Shine at World Bowls 2023!

Success Series: Irish Bowls Men’s Team Shine at World Bowls 2023!

The Irish men’s bowls team returned home from the World Bowls Championships on the Gold Coast, Australia with an incredible haul of four medals – including a coveted gold!

As men’s team captain Gary Kelly reflected, the overall success was truly special: “The achievements and success of the team was incredible. It was great to see a lot of hard work, determination, passion and desire to succeed payoff.”

The standout triumph was the men’s pairs duo of Adam McKeown and Gary Kelly capturing the gold medal. Kelly recounted a pivotal moment in their group stage clash with India:

“From a personal point of view a big bowl for me was in the pairs. Game down against India, my last bowl thankfully I drew the shot to win the game and qualify for knockout stages. If I missed, our campaign was over.”

The Irish men also won silver in the singles through Gary Kelly’s superb run, as well as bronze medals in the triples (Stuart Bennett, Ian McClure, Martin McHugh) and fours (Stuart Bennett, Adam McKeown, Ian McClure, Martin McHugh).

The team’s resilience and unity were vital factors, as Gary explains: “At any major event there is always highs and lows. But thankfully as a squad we all supported one another and attacked any issues together as one…To achieve the medals we did and to finish overall the second most successful country is something our country can be very proud of.”

One particular highlight for Gary was witnessing the women’s triples team’s remarkable comeback against England in the quarter-finals.

“From a team perspective, the come back from the ladies in the triples against England in the quarter final was amazing and to get the win and guarantee a medal was awesome,” said Kelly.

The tournament itself was also something Kelly and the team really savoured: “The experience was fantastic. Australia really know how to host major events and put on a show. It was very professional. It made the experience very enjoyable for everyone.”

The Irish Bowls Federation and Sport Northern Ireland have played a pivotal role in the team’s sustained success, providing world-class support and resources.

“IBF and SINI have had a major impact on the country’s success over the last few years. SINI’s knowledge and experience in sport and their professionalism to educate the athletes on key elements psychology, physical, nutrition, and hydration and physiology. It’s been a valuable experience and we’ve gained so much knowledge.”

For Gary Kelly, representing Ireland is a source of immense pride, having honed his craft in Australia in recent years.

“Living in Australia and competing in all the major competitions here has been an incredible experience. It has without a doubt helped me to develop and grow as a person and player. But I always remember my roots. I’m an extremely proud Irishman…The trust, loyalty and faith my country has shown in me to allow me to represent means the world to me. I’m so grateful.”

The future of Irish bowls also looks bright, with the regional academy program inspiring the next generation of talent.

“I love what Irish Bowls is doing at the moment. Seeing all the regional academies and the people involved is very impressive and a fantastic opportunity for all the youth.”

His advice to aspiring bowlers? “Continue to enjoy the sport. Play with an open mind, you will always continue to learn more and it’s a sport with various experiences.”

Sport NI

An outstanding World Bowls campaign for Team Ireland! Let us know your thoughts on their success in the comments below.

World Bowls


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