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Stephen S. McDaniel, Director

News Release: July 24, 2018

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Media Contact: Samantha Smith 304-957-9364 [email protected]


Matt Baker, Superintendent, Blackwater Falls State Park, 304-259-5216, [email protected]

Blackwater Falls to host Irish Road Bowling national championship Aug. 3-5

DAVIS, W.Va. — Blackwater Falls State Park will welcome some of the country’s top Irish road bowling competitors Aug. 3-5 for the 2018 North American Region Finals, hosted by the West Virginia Irish Road Bowling Association (WVIRBA). The public is invited to attend and learn about this fun sport.

Irish road bowling — also called long bullets — has been played in rural Ireland for more than 300 years. It’s played by hurling a baseball-sized iron and steel cannonball down a one to 1.5-mile road. Competitors can throw with blazing speed and reach distances between 250 and 300 yards. The bowler who reaches the finish line with the fewest throws wins the match.  

“This event is effectively the national championship for Irish Road Bowing in the United States,” said David Powell of the WVIRBA. “The 2018 North American Region Finals will bring together more highly rated players than ever before assembled in the U.S.”

Three clubs from Boston, New York City and West Virginia compete in the North American Region Finals each year. The winners advance to the final competition, the All-Ireland Finals in Boston on Oct. 6-7.

The event starts Aug. 3 with practice matches and a reception at the lodge. Semi-final matches will be played Aug. 4. An awards ceremony will close out the event on Aug. 5.

For more information about the event, contact David Powell by calling 202-387-1680 or 202-905-1959, visit www.wvirishroadbowling.com or find West Virginia Irish Road Bowling on Facebook. For more information about Blackwater Falls State Park, activities and lodging, call 304-259-5216 or visit www.wvstateparks.com/park/blackwater-falls-state-park/.

Competing teams and special guest

The Boston team will be led by 2017 All Ireland Novice 1 Champion Sean O’Mahoney, 19. He’ll be joined by his father and coach, Florrie O’Mahoney, a five-time All-Ireland Champion. Also representing the Boston team is Brendan O’Donovan, 2017 Junior C All Ireland Champion; Brendan Fleming, two-time All-Ireland Champion; Roger O’Riordan, Junior C All Ireland Finalist; Kevin McGrath, North American Region Finalist; Gerald “Bogie” Leahy, North American Region Champion; and coach Con O’Callaghan, two-time All-Ireland Champion

The New York City team features four-time All-Ireland Champion Adrian Lappin and three-time All-Ireland Champion Fergal Carr, the highest rated players in the USA. All-Ireland Finalist and New York President Mick “Jet” Maloney will be joined by veteran bowlers Kevin O’Keefe and Brian O’Keefe and North American Region Champion Padjo O’Sullivan. 

The West Virginia team is led by Travis Craig and Stephen Wallington, North American Region Champions and All Ireland Semi-Finalists, and veteran bowler Ken McClintic. 

Special guest Stefan Albarus from Hamburg, Germany, also will be throwing. Albarus was the 1992 world champion in German lofting, a similar outdoor bowling sport. He is in the 1996 Guinness Book of World Records, for a 106.2-meter loft. In 2000, he set a world record in the European Championships for three lofts totaling 309.9 meters.


Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce Irish Road Bowling
Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce Irish Road Bowling