Lisburn bowler Neil Mulholland has struck gold in one of the top competitions in World Bowls.
He lifted the Champion of Champion Singles title against all the odds at the Helensvale Club in Australia.
The event was staged from November 16 to November 22 and there were 22 Nations competing, which meant playing ten section games when competitors were divided into two sections.
It was a long road before Mulholland faced Malaysia’s Fariel Muin in the final and won 10-10, 8-3. The success was made even more significant when it was revealed that no Irish male bowler had ever even reached the final stage.
Afterwards, Neil said he was delighted to win the top contest: “It’s great to add a gold medal to the silver I won in the triples at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last year. It was a great experience in Australia and one I will cherish for a long time.”
Mulholland lost two of his section games, including a defeat by his opponent in the final, Muin, who won the section.
Neil was drawn in one of two quarter final ties and beat Boaz Markus, Israel 12-2, 12-3.
In the semi-finals, Muin beat Pete Bonsor, Spain, 3-9, 6-4, 3-0. Bonsor had earlier beaten Kevin Anderson, Scotland, 9-9, 7-4. Mulholland then had a semi-final win over Scott Tholburn, Australia 9-5, 3-8, 3-2.
Neil had achieved an Irish first in reaching the final, but he then went one better with victory over his Malaysian opponent.
The Lisnagarvey bowler will not dwell on his success for too long as he travelled to Cyprus last Thursday to take part with four other Irish bowlers in the prestigious Atlantic Rim competition.
The Irish team of Marty McHugh, Gary Kelly, Ian McClure, Aaron Tennant and Mulholland will be hoping to win medals, but more importantly finish in the top five and allow Ireland to compete in World Bowls in Christ Church, New Zealand next year.