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Road Bowling Arena

At Bol Chumann’s October Executive meeting on Wed 4 October 2006, treasurer, James O’Driscoll announced important progress in the development of a bowling arena that will mark a new and welcome opportunity for the sport. Planning permission has been granted by Cork County Council for the project which will be sited at Tonofora, Dunmanway, and will be integrated with the existing sporting facilities already established there. The concept was initiated during the Association’s jubilee year, 2004. Chairperson, Susan Greene, stated ‘The Arena in Dunmanway will serve as an example of future development. It is a key departure for the future of bowling and the main physical development project to mark the Golden Jubilee of Bol Chumann na hEireann’.

The development and construction of the Arena will present an exciting new challenge to the Association’s members. At the Executive meeting Susan Greene praised the commitment of James O’Driscoll whose sterling work has secured the site and brought it to its current stage. James O’Driscoll in turn thanked the various officials of Cork County Council and many public representatives who were unstinting in their encouragement and advice at every phase of planning authorisation. He also paid tribute to the local Sports Partnership, Dunmanway Promotions and West Cork Leader who have given wholehearted support to the venture.

The proposed facility, which will include a gym and waiting area, will have three enclosed all-weather bowling lanes. The mechanical engineering department of Cork Institute of Technology will be involved in the design of equipment to be used in the centre and will also create software to monitor the speed and trajectory of the bowls.

The Arena is seen as an integral part in maintaining and developing the sport among primary and secondary school children. The Bowling Arena will allow children to play bowling in a safe environment where they can develop key skills under close supervision by experienced coaches.

The Bowling Arena will also play a central role in the training programmes of regular competitive bowlers. Top class bowlers currently do not have a facility where they can engage in concentrated individual skill work. The Arena will allow players engage in both concentrated individual training and coaching sessions in all weather conditions and throughout the year. For competitive players the Arena will provide a venue to improve skills, for social recreation with friends and an opportunity to train as coaches.

The Bowling Arena will also open up possibilities for introducing the game to physical and mentally challenged individuals and groups. The demand for such a facility has been clearly demonstrated by the outstanding success of the Unlimited Bowling programme which was introduced in 2002. It will allow all bowlers and non bowlers regardless of age or ability to practise skills and maintain score fitness throughout their lives. For national and secondary schools the Arena will provide an opportunity to practise an easy to play sport that will ensure plenty of leisure activity.

For the veteran and vintage player the objectives are similar with the venue providing the facility to prolong their involvement in the age old sport of bowlplaying.

It is expected that construction of the complex will begin towards the end of next year.