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Ulster pair strike gold to clinch crack at world title

By Staff Reporter

Ian McClure admits his gold medal pairs success at the Atlantic Bowls Championships in Cyprus is a career highlight.

The Portrush player teamed up with Ballymoney man Gary Kelly to defeat the current world indoor and outdoor title holders Alex Marshall and Paul Foster 18-12 in an epic final.

"We are absolutely thrilled," said McClure.

"We won silver in the pairs four years ago in Cyprus, so to come back and win gold this time is really special.

"The Atlantic event is ranked up there with the Commonwealth Games and World Championships, which just shows the significance of the victory - and to beat Alex and Paul in the final was really the topping on the cake."

Kelly added: "We played some great bowls."

The victory also guarantees McClure and Kelly involvement in next season's World Championships in New Zealand.

And the Athena Beach Hotel was awash with champagne as Aaron Tennant, Neil Mulholland and Martin McHugh picked up a bronze medal in the men's triples.

Erin Smith, Bernie O'Neill and Sandra Bailie struck gold in the women's Triples Championship. The Irish trio had a superb 19-13 win against England in the final.

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