Aer Lingus Bowls Club

Aer Lingus Bowls Club

Club History

The Aer Lingus Indoor Bowls Club was formed on the 8th December 1987. The three founding officers were John Campbell, Michael Geoghegan and Tony McDunphy (R.I.P.) The first A.G.M. of the club was held on 6th April 1988 when the following were elected to the committee; John Campbell President, Michael Geoghegan Secretary, Tony McDnphy ( R.I.P) Treasurer. Gerry McDonald (R.I.P.) was elected as Team Captain and Sadie Cromwell as Team Secretary.

On 1st July 1988 a S.G.M. of the club changed the name to Aer Lingus Bowls Club and affiliated to the Bowling League of Ireland and I.B.A.

At the August 1988 meeting of the club committee it was reported that the secretary of the B.L.I., Mr Jack Burke(R.I.P) , had informed the club President that the proposed new all weather outdoor green being built at the ALSAA Complex had, in principle, been approved for league play.


At the ninth Committee Meeting of the club on the 3rd February 1989, Michael Geoghegan reported that , as the new club President,  he had attended the BLI monthly meeting and “was made very welcome” and that the BLI had, as per their custom , ordained that the new Aer Lingus Bowls Club bowls stickers would be light green and blue.

At the same club meeting Wendy Geoghegan, club secretary, reported that she had been in touch with Mrs Mai Masson of L.B.L.I. and had requested permission to enter a ladies team in the L.B.L.I. leagues.  Wendy reported that her request got a positive response but, at club level, it was felt that further female recruitment would be necessary to reach the required numbers for a league team.

The first competitive game for the men’s section of the club was on 17th April
1989 at Blackrock Bowling Club. Aer Lingus fielded a team of fourteen members and two guest players. For most of the membership, playing on a grass surface was “a whole new ball game.”

The outdoor green and bowls facility at ALSAA was officially opened on 16th August 1989 by Mr Seamus Peelo ( R.I.P.),President of the B.L.I., from the Crumlin Bowling Club.  This was followed by a friendly game between Aer Lingus B.C. and members of the BLI and LBLI councils. Later in 1989 our first touring team to play Aer Lingus B.C.visited from Portglenone B.C. in Co.Antrim.

At the end of
1990 season, Dick Larkin the men’s` captain, reported that the team finished “about midway” in the B.L.I. Division 3 league table. The ladies were advised to invite teams for friendlies prior to their inaugural league season in 1991.

The Minutes of 22nd June 1992 noted that a motion by the Leinster Club at BLI May meeting sought that “artificial surfaces be prohibited for Cup Competitions “  The minutes further noted  that “this motion was defeated  (only receiving 6 votes) after a well reasoned and eloquently delivered defence by Michael Geoghegan and Jimmy Flahive ( R.I.P.)

The club`s first game in the I.B.A. Junior Cup was at Pickie B. C. in
1990. Roy Savage remembers the reply he got from the late Bill Downey when he asked how their rink was going. Bill replied, “I think, we will go into bat soon”. Progress made can be measured when in the same competition in 1992, we returned from Belfast in triumph after a great tussle with Ewarts B.C. In all away trips to play northern clubs, in politically tense and difficult times, our great entertainer and master of ceremonies Eddie Banim ( R.I.P.) was always a “great trump card.”

The first BLI success came in
1991 at the old Bank of Ireland Knockrabo venue at Mount Anville when Bill Downey, Tommy Doyle and Roy Savage ( skip) won the Bowling League of Ireland Cup in the Junior Triples. In 1992 Roy Savage won the Champion of Champions Men’s Singles at Dun Laoghaire B.C. and in the following year this prestigious competition was again won by our club champion Eoin Coleman.

The 1990s proved to be a good decade for the club . Membership broadened and increased and playing standards rose. In
1993 our ladies four of Agnes McGrath, Anne Dunne, Nuala Radford and Lucy Moffit were L.B.LI Junior Fours Champions.  Agnes McGrath was successful again in 1994 winning the McKeon Junior Singles and she  also joined with Noeleen O` Reilly ( R.I.P.) in winning the W.W.Robinson L.B.L.I. Junior Pairs. In 1995 Agnes and Noeleen joined with Marie Martin in winning The Rose Ivie Junior Triples.  In 1997 Declan Byrne, our men’s captain for much of the nineties, won the prestigious Nassau Cup Junior Singles and in 1999, ten years after the official opening of the club, Aer Lingus Bowling Club won the Trophies Ireland Cup as B.L.I. Division 2 Champions and entered the Premier Division of Men’s Bowls.
The ladies ; Kay Aston, Marie Mooney and Nuala Radford won the Rose Ivie Triples in 2000. 

The next few years proved be the “up and down” times. We were relegated in 2000 but won The Trophies Ireland Mens Division 2 League in 2001. In 2002 we reached a milestone when the BLI Championship Finals were played on our green at ALSAA. Our synthetic surface and floodlighting were the major reason that these finals could be played through to a finish during a very overcast and damp week. For the rest of the decade, we battled hard to retain our place in the Premier Division and we had few BLI or LBLI championship Finals successes until 2007 when Kay Smyth won The McKeon Cup for the Ladies Junior Singles at the LBLI Championships which were held on the ALSAA green.

 

2010 and onwards has proven to be the most successful period in the competitive history of the club. In February, 2011 Kirk Fitzsimons and Roy Savage set up our own Website. Kirk continued as webmaster until 2013 when his father Joe took over. Mark O Looney showed his potential and ability when winning The Railway Union under 25 BLI Championship in Bray and Ed Farrell was a member of the successful BLI squad at the Inter Association Championships. When referring to representative honours , acknowledgement and congratulations must go to Nuala Radford who has represented the LBLI Junior Ladies squad with great distinction over many seasons and was an integral part of their three in a row successes  2009 to 2012. Not to be outdone, our Monday night team, won the Division Four B L I League Cooper Cup in 2010, in 2011 and again in 2013. Our Ladies team have always been competitive and continued to finish in the top few places in the Division 2 of the LBLI.

 

2012. Mark O Looney went on to win the prestigious Champion of Champions Trophy at Dun Laoghaire B C. Dun Laoghaire has been a happy hunting ground as John Conway, Nicky O'Meara and the redoubtable Johnny Dunne had a magnificent victory in the final of The BLI Cup Junior Triples in the last set of finals played on that venerable bowls venue.

 At Clontarf B.C. in July 2012 Aer Lingus B.C. again showed their competitive mettle. Ed Farrell, Mark O Looney and Wally Doyle winning The Baird Cup Triples alongside John Conway and Roy Savage taking home The Tyler Cup Junior Pairs on the Friday night and The Baird trio joined with Eddie Marshall in winning The Sixsmith Cup in a close encounter with Blackrock B C on the Saturday afternoon.

Then in September Joe Tyrrell lead his team to Premier League success against their nearest and arch rivals St James Gate B.C. to crown what was not only a wonderful season but to bring the First Division Stephens Cup Trophy to the Northside for the first time in forty two years after so many years of trying brought delight to all, past and present, who have represented the green and blue of Aer Lingus B C.

 

Our first team continued to compete for top honours in Division 1 and finished 3rd in 2013, 2nd in 2014, 2nd in 2015.

In 2015 the BLI flag unfurling took place at Aer Lingus and BLI President Joe Tyrrell did the honours. The BLI Championships were hosted by Aer Lingus. Our bowlers reached 7 semi-finals, but our only success was Dave Kenny winning the Marper Cup for the first time in the club's history.