LAWN BOWLS : Lions Academy has Leinster kids bowled over

by Aaron Dunne
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YOUNG and old are coming together to enjoy the sport of bowls with the Leinster Lions academy proving a great success for the sport.

 Coaches Ricard Leonard and Eamonn Carruth, both from Crumlin Bowling Club and who both represent Ireland, are providing the qualified expertise targetted and people under 25 who want to try their hand at the game.

“We get huge enjoyment out of running the academy, seeing children improve from week to week and most importantly having fun and making friends,” said coach Leonard.

“This is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my bowling season.

The Leinster Lions Bowls academy was set up in 2019 as part of a wider initiative by Irish Bowls.

The purpose of this was to get children involved in bowls from a young age and to also make people more aware of the game.

“When I heard about this, I immediately joined the committee to try help develop the Leinster Lions academy.,” he added.

“Having been involved in sport all my life, whether it being football, rugby or bowls, I knew the key to success would be enjoyment. Enjoyment was what was going to bring the children in and keep them interested.

“The plan was to create games that would be fun but also teach them the essentials of the game without them even realising they are learning to play bowls.

“We have expanded our bowls academy into local summer camps where they come along for a few hours, play games and have fun. Again, it’s great exposure for the sport as many people haven’t heard of the game before.”

All Bowling clubs are open for membership

(and there are up to 20 in the greater Dublin area) and if there is one near you do drop in and ask to try it out.

“The kids really love it, it’s so much fun. We previously did a few days of bowls for the Sport Ireland summer camp in Blanchardstown and this was also a great success,” he added.

“There are huge benefits of this sport. Sport is very important for children as it can help them belong. Bowls has given many children an outlet that they would not have had otherwise. Not every child is into contact sports and bowls is a sport for all abilities. It doesn’t matter if your male or female, tall or short, weak or strong or skinny or overweight, everyone can play and be an important part of the team. The beauty of our sport is that it teaches children to communicate not just with people of their own age but with all ages. There is a great social aspect to the sport which is there in many other sports.

“We would like to try to expand the academy so that it could become a more regular thing as we are currently fully reliant on volunteers and those volunteers are generally players with busy schedules. By having more academy sessions, there is more likelihood of the children taking up the sport full time and hence improving the youth in the sport but also helping children feel like they belong. In an era where depression and anxiety are so common, this sport is great for mental health as well as it being an actual physical activity.

“We have had a number of the academy players develop into international players (see below). This is an amazing achievement for them but also for us as coaches. The plan will be to bring the next person to that level and continuously increase the numbers of internationals within our academy.

“We had two teams competing in the winter league competition with great success. Both teams managed to get out of their groups and managed to get to the semi final where the A team beat the B team. The A team eventually coming runners up in the competition.

“If you would like to know more about the Leinster Lions, you can make contact with us via our facebook page “Leinster Lions” or search Irish Lawn bowls.

Frank Devlin, President Irish Lawn Bowls, Jacqui Byrne ILB Treasurer,  Steven Matthews TD, Sheila Kelly, Competitions Secretary, Elizabeth Geraghty (Greystones), Agnes Gillick
(Leinster) and John Dunne President Bray BC.

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