Sporting legends travel to Ireland and learn traditional road bowling

Sporting legends travel to Ireland and learn traditional road bowling

The traditional Irish sport of ‘road bowling’ is set to feature in the popular Sky comedy show A League of Their Own.

A League of Their Own has been a mainstay on British and Irish screens for more than a decade. The sports/comedy panel show was originally presented by James Corden, until he landed the role as host of the Late Late Show in America.

British stand-up Romesh Ranganathan has taken over in the hot-seat, but regular team captains Freddie Flintoff and Jamie Redknapp are back for more juvenile antics. Former Manchester United footballer and France international Patrice Evra joined the regulars for this trip to Ireland.

One long-time segment of the show sees the boys go and learn a new lesser-known sport and then compete against each other under the watchful eye of their tutors.

As they were in Ireland for this episode, they decided to sample some of the traditional pastimes.

They travelled to Kerry and were trained in the Irish sport of road bowling by veteran player Eamonn Bowen.

The game involves bowling an iron ball as straight and far as possible along a kilometre long stretch of closed-off countryside road.

Bowen was impressed with the commitment and competitiveness of the group and was quick to praise them for their efforts.

He said: “They were absolutely fantastic, great craic. We showed them the basics and they just threw themselves into it.

“We had a fantastic day and the weather, and the scenery was massive.

“Patrice was really upset, he was taking it very seriously and he kept saying ‘I can’t believe I’m getting beaten by Romesh!’”

The boys then travelled to Laois to attend the annual National Ploughing Championships, a major event in the agricultural calendar in Ireland.

The event would normally attract tens of thousands of visitors, but attendance was limited to 1,000 people per day because of the covid restrictions over mass gatherings.

However, the smaller crowd didn’t dampen the enthusiasm for the event.

Former Liverpool midfielder Redknapp said: “I must admit it’s been an incredible experience because I’ve obviously heard about it having spent lots of time in Ireland – playing golf in Adare Manor and places like Ballybunion which is one of my favourite courses in the world.

“But to do something like this, yesterday we were road bowling down near Dingle.

“Then today to come here – it’s been so much fun!

“To see lots of people come out, obviously not the 100,000 that are normally here, but it’s just nice to get into the tradition of what people do. It’s been an amazing time for us.

“I do love the experience y’know, I grew up in Bournemouth on the south coast of England so I’ve been lucky to be around the countryside all my life.

“But this takes real skill here and you have to have a tremendous amount of patience.”