Lisburn bowler Neil Mulholland said he was ‘still in shock’ after becoming World Champion and winning three World class medals in a month.
Neil has won four major titles in the last 17 months, when he won a silver medal in the triples at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July 2014, but he has travelled much further afield for his recent successes.
Early in November Neil made the long journey to Australia to compete in the World Champion of Champions singles competition.
He won his way through A section in a large list of high quality contestants to win a gold medal.
Not only did he win the competition, but he was the first bowler from Ireland to even reach the final.
“To be the first person from Ireland to get to the finals and to win it, that’s a nice thing to do. I’m delighted,” Neil commented.
Buoyed by this success it was off to Cyprus at the end of November with a five-man Irish team to compete in the prestigious Atlantic Rim Tournament.
Neil was chosen to play in the triples and fours at the tournament.
In the triples, along with Aaron Tennant and Marty McHugh, Neil and the team won bronze medals.
It was close as Ireland only lost out to Scotland after a tie end and the Scots went on to win gold. Joined by Ian McClure this trio went on to win bronze in the fours. They lost a hard fought semi-final to Jersey, who went on to lift the gold medals.
It has been a really memorable month for the Lisburn bowler and he hopes his globe trotting has not ended for their success in Cyprus qualifies Ireland for the World Bowls finals in New Zealand next year.
Of course, the Irish team of five who went to Cyprus must surely be favourites to be retained, though it is in no way certain.
Neil will be hoping to board the flight to New Zealand to compete again at the very top level.
Speaking about his recent success Neil added: “It’s hard to explain how I feel, I’m obviously delighted.
“I’m still in shock, it hasn’t sunk in yet,” he stated.
“I wasn’t expected to win in Australia, but I won it. I’ve never played in those conditions.
“Cyprus was a different surface again, and again we weren’t expected to win and came home with eight medals.
“It feels good to come away with medals, I was happy to win in Cyprus to back up Australia,” he said.
“It’s nice to be a World Champions, especially on my first go.
“It’s been a good 18 months,” Neil added. “I love playing bowls and I love representing my country.”
Neil only had a short time in Lisburn following his trip to Australia and the competition in Cyprus, and he still hasn’t come back down to earth following his success, but the local man will soon be celebrating.
“I was only home one day from Australia and then away to Cyprus so I still haven’t seen my friends or family, so there’ll be a few parties to celebrate.”
Neil is still competing in the Indoor season and will return to that after Christmas, whilst there is also the British Isles Championships to look forward to and a potential trip to New Zealand. “As long as I keep being successful, I’ll be happy,” he commented.