Bowls: Rice lauds Ireland after classy World title treble
Ireland boss Artie Rice last night hailed his team after they pocketed three of the four titles in the 2014 World Short Mat Bowls Championships at the National Sports Centre, Cardiff.
The battling Irish just missed out on matching their best ever performance when they achieved a 'clean sweep' back in in 2000.
They came within a tie-break of repeating that feat, only for the Mid Ulster rink off Colin Hogg, Glen Smith, Dayne Jordan and Mark Wilson to lose out to a nerve tingling final bowl winner from the Welsh rink skipped by Nick Evans.
"It was a magnificent performance by the team," beamed Rice. "Every one of the squad can be proud because they all contributed to the success.
"Even though the tournament was extended to three days, it was still tough going, but to return with three world titles is a brilliant achievement."
After the disappointment in the fours, it was glory all the way in the three other disciplines, with Oriel's Kevin Conroy parading the singles title for the first time since 2008 when Colm McHugh won the trophy.
Conroy totally destroyed the field in the group, beating Scotland, England, Sweden, Wales and Isle of Man.
Conroy was down against his Ireland team-mate, Donegal's John Quinn in the semi-finals, which guaranteed Irish participation in the decider – the Oriel man claimed a 12-5 win to book his spot against Wales' Luke Haddon.
Again, Conroy was on fire and the roared to 15-6 victory.
The husband and wife combination of Joe and Pauline Beattie won the pairs with a 16-9 win over England's Gareth Stanway, while Mid Ulster's Willie Lennox, Clark Hill and Alan Paul racked up a 13-6 victory over Mike John of Wales in the triples final.