Niam and Nasirally ‘Ali’ Choolun, members of the Cavan Pétanque Club, based at Belturbet Golf Club, pictured with international Irish Captain Colin Delaney having won the inaugural All-Ireland Pétanque Championship, at the weekend.

Locals claim Irish pétanque crown

In a stunning display of both skill and teamwork, the dynamic duo of Niam and Nasirally ‘Ali’ Choolun clinched the title at the All Ireland Doubles Pétanque Tournament.

Held in Dublin’s picturesque Bushy Park at the weekend, the event, despite the inclement weather at times, still attracted some of the nation’s best players, with each team vying for the coveted championship.

The Choolun brothers, representing Ulster, are from Mauritius but living in Letterkenny in Donegal, and are members of the Cavan Pétanque club based at Belturbet Golf Club.

Organised by the Irish Pétanque Association, regionals took place back in April, with the Choolun boys coming out top, and two more teams from the province joining them at Saturday’s face-off by the banks of the River Dodder.

Relentless downpours turned the bouleadrome ground into a swamp and left players drenched, but despite the deluge, competitors demonstrated exceptional precision and strategy throughout the competition, culminating in a memorable showcase.

It was the first time an All-Ireland competitive event has taken place, and along with Niam and Ali and two other teams from Ulster, there were six teams from Dublin, four from Munster and at least one grouping from Connaught.

Among the players also were more than a dozen Irish internationals, members of the conquering Ireland team that beat Scotland and Wales at the Celtic Cup staged in Wales earlier this year.

The weekend’s competition featured two groups, with the winners set to face the runners-up in each group for a shot at the title.

Niam and Ali from the Cavan Pétanque Club finished second in Group B, and their journey to success was marked by a series of challenging matches against formidable opponents.

The formidable local pairing took on the winners from Group A, a team from Waterford, and their play was exemplified by calmness under pressure and an ability to read and react to the difficult terrain.

On the other side, Terry Greene and Vincent Bellingard showcased remarkable form, excelling in both pointing and shooting to overcome the winners of Group B.

The nail-biting grand finale was an electrifying match. Watchers were captivated by the intense battle as it unfolded, with a Number 1 Irish ranking up for grabs.

It was the Choolun brothers’ combination of impeccable shooting and pointing that ultimately secured them a well-deserved championship.

The win was celebrated not just by their local supporters but also by petanque enthusiasts who appreciated the dedication and sportsmanship of both teams.

Secretary of the Cavan Pétanque Club and President of the Irish association, Billy Gleadell from Belturbet congratulated the brothers on their win, and described the winners as “gentlemen” and as “wonderful ambassadors for Cavan pétanque”.