TEAM NI: Neil Booth targets gold in bowls fours after silver in triples

Northern Ireland's Neil Booth in action during Men's Triples Final at Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls
Northern Ireland's Neil Booth in action during Men's Triples Final at Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls

There was silver success for Team NI on Monday morning when the Men’s Triples picked up Northern Ireland’s second medal of the Commonwealth Games.

Neil Booth, Paul Daly and Neil Mulholland lost out to defending champions South Africa in the final of the men’s triples, 19-10, as a sterling comeback in the second half of the match came up just short but it was enough to secure the Silver.

Chief Executive of Sport Northern Ireland, Antoinette McKeown, congratulated the bowlers, saying: “I am delighted for the Men’s Triples on winning a Silver medal at the Commonwealth Games! Our athletes have once again done us proud shining on the global stage at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow – proving to be ambassadors for their sport, their communities and themselves.

“I applaud all of our Sport NI supported athletes across the whole range of sports. We have followed the drama, excitement and success of their Commonwealth journey. They have taken on the best in the world and are truly an inspiration.”

It’s a first Commonwealth medal for Daly and Mulholland but a fourth in five Games for Booth, a second silver to add to a gold and bronze. He still has one more chance to add to that collection in the fours this week.

“You’re always disappointed with silver or bronze but we can be very proud and hold our head high. We still have fours to go and can end on a high. I was telling the boys, ‘It’s the last time I’ll play at a quarter to nine on a Monday morning’,” said Booth.

Northern Ireland had become known as the comeback kings as they’d managed to come from behind in a number of games including both the quarter and semi-final when they had found themselves 7-0 down to Wales.

Skipped by Bobby Donnelly the South Africans led 2-0 after two ends before Northern Ireland hit back to level two ends later. But lead Prince Neluonde and second Petrus Breitenback were in good form and they put a good run together by winning six of the next seven ends to take a 14-3 lead and it looked all over.

However, the Northern irish trio responded by reducing the deficit to just four as they won the next three ends to make it 14-10. The 15th end proved crucial to deciding the match.

Booth explained, “We dug in and we got it back to 14-10 and had a chance to turn a bowl out for three or four shots which would have gotten us right back in the game and hopefully put the nerves into them but I narrowly missed it and they drew for another shot and I think that sort of killed the game at that point. It was nice to come back and make a battle of it and we didn’t lie down and die and that was the main thing. The boys played excellently for me.”

Daly, in his second Games after appearing in Delihi four years ago, commented, “We’re disappointed not to have won the gold but looking back a silver medal is a great achievement for all the games we’ve got through and all the opponents we’ve beaten and all the games we’ve come from behind, it’s fantastic to win the silver.”

Mulholland his making his Games debut, added, “I couldn’t have asked for any better. The objective coming over was to get a medal and see what colour it would be of we were to get that far. We couldn’t send Neil out with a gold but maybe it will come in the fours.”