Why I Love . . . Road bowling
My earliest memory was seeing my dad and brothers head off to a bowling score, but I was too young
Joanne Murphy: ‘In 2017, I won the Junior Ladies Championship in the North-East Region. This win was special to me as I had been beaten narrowly in the two years before that.’
Road bowling is played over a predetermined course distance of normal roadway. It is played with a 28oz solid-iron bowl. Two players, who are equally matched in skill, aim to throw their bowl over a sop (a lump of grass) on the road, and whoever crosses the finish line first in fewer shots wins.
I first got interested in road bowling through my late father, Thady, who was heavily involved in bowling throughout his life. My earliest memory of bowling was seeing my dad and brothers head off to a bowling “score” (match), and I couldn’t go because I was still deemed too young. You can imagine my delight when I finally got to see road bowling, and at that moment, I fell in love with it.
I had my first competitive score on my 11th birthday which, thankfully, I won. “You bowled out of your skin” is a common phrase in bowling circles, and you know you bowled well when you hear it.
I train once a week with Denis Horgan at the Social Road Bowling Club in Cork. If I’m getting ready to compete, I’ll up my training to twice if not three times a week, to build up speed, delivery, and accuracy.
In 2017, I won the Junior Ladies Championship in the North-East Region. This win was special to me as I had been beaten narrowly in the two years before that. To have won after the heartache of loss was the best feeling in the world. I retained the title in 2018.
I would encourage anyone to get involved in bowling, especially girls. If you know anyone who’s involved with bowling, or you have seen it being played on country roads, go and try it. You might be a natural.