Members of Active Retirement Associations from across Co. Tipperary attended the launch of Active Retirement Ireland’s National Bowls Tournament in Dublin recently.
Now in its second year, the National Bowls Tournament will take place from Monday, 26th to Thursday, 29th September at the Breaffy Events Arena in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. More than 400 retired men and women – from Tipperary and throughout Ireland – are expected to take part in the event and compete for the Breaffy Perpetual Cup.
At the launch event, members from Nenagh and Thurles Active Retirement Associations participated in two draws to decide the playing order of the 49 teams taking part in the tournament. Playing in mixed teams of four, competitors, who will range in age from 55 to 90, will play in one of two competitions – one for big bowls and one for small.
Tipperary natives in attendance at the launch included Mollie Hyland from Nenagh Active Retirement Association and Nancy and Joe Tynan from Thurles Active Retirement Association.
According to Maureen Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Active Retirement Ireland, the National Bowls Tournament presents a welcome opportunity for retired people to stay active through the medium of a fun and competitive activity.
“This is the second year we are organising the tournament and, judging on the response we have had so far, the event is becoming more and more popular,” she said. “With almost 450 people already registered to attend, it has become one of the main events in our members’ calendar.
“The event has also grown an interest in bowls as a leisure activity, especially among our male membership. Some of our members have become extremely competitive and have been taking part in local competitions during the course of the year to prepare for the tournament. We have also seen how the event has helped build a sense of camaraderie among the participating teams and among different Active Retirement Associations.
“Bowls is of special importance in promoting a healthy lifestyle among our membership, as it’s a sport that people of almost any age can participate in, regardless of physical ability. One of the objectives of our national tournament is to promote the sport generally and, more specifically, to encourage more men to remain active during their retirement years.
“It is essential, even in the midst of this economic crisis, that funding for initiatives to promote activity among older people is maintained. As our population gets older, more programmes need to be developed which promote people’s well-being so that they can lead an independent, mobile life. Without such investment, greater costs will be incurred through hospital and medical care.
“The tournament is just one aspect of our ongoing work to promote healthy lifestyles among older people. It will be one of our last major events in 2011 but we plan to continue our work in the area of healthy living and active retirement in 2012, which is the European Year of Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations,” concluded Ms. Kavanagh.