West Virginia News

Sean Duffy, Bishop Whelan Div No 1


Bishop Whelan Div 1, Wheeling, West Virginia held its 4th annual Irish Road Bowling Ohio Valley Championship on September 7, 2013.  It is currently the best attended tournament in the state, as 343 people on 53 teams competed in 2012.  The day featured food, music and fun.

Peter Ryan, Irish Deputy Counsel General from New York City visited Wheeling in mid-July. He met with Bishop Whelan Division representatives at the Celtic Cross monument at Wheeling’s Heritage Port, where he learned that the cross was designed to celebrate the Irish of Wheeling and the Upper Ohio Valley who built the National Road and the B&O Railroad.

Members of the Bishop Whelan Division also conducted a canned food drive on July 20 at Riesbeck’s Food Market in the Elm Grove neighborhood of Wheeling on a wet and stormy Saturday.  The generosity of the customers allowed the collection and delivery of a full pick-up truck of food to the Catholic Charities Food Pantry on 18th Street in Wheeling.  The Pantry was in need of food at this time of year due to the drop-off in food drives conducted by the local parochial schools over the summer.

West Virginia 1A


West Virginia News

For the fourth straight year, AOH Bishop Whelan Div 1 from Wheeling, West Virginia, marched in the Pittsburgh, PA Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. Sixteen members of Div 1 participated, displaying the Div. 1 banner throughout the streets of Pittsburgh on the brisk morning of Saturday March 12 in one of the oldest and biggest St. Patrick’s Day Parades in the country. The theme for the parade was “A Just Peace in the North of Ireland.” Fun was had by all.

: Pictured (L – R): Gene Fahey, Craig O'Leary, Mike Welsh, Kevin McCormick, Chris Freeman, Pat Henry, Terry McCormick, Sean Duffy, Pat Fahey, Kevin Frank, Andy Ondeck, Greg Emmerth, Doug Hennen, Tom Fahey, Art Bertol and Rich Emmerth.


Wesy Virginia News

Competitors in the Ohio Valley Road Bowling Championship begin the 2 mile course along Boggs Hill Road on perfect September morning in Wheeling, West Virginia.

Country roads around Wheeling, West Virginia roared to life with the sound of steel on pavement as Bishop Whelan Division 1 hosted its first annual Ohio Valley Road Bowling Championship.

On Saturday, September 18, 2010, Division 1 brought the exciting sport of Irish Road Bowling to the Ohio Valley for the first time in modern memory. A blast from a Civil War cannon signaled the official start for the 121 bowlers (a record number for road bowling events in the state) representing 26 teams who completed the scenic 1.8 mile course along Boggs Hill Road and Park View Road.

Bowlers came from as far north as New York and from as far south as Virginia to compete. There was even a player who learned the game in the old country. “I played when growing up in Ireland,” said Father Jerry McSweeney, Pastor of St. Michael’s Church. “I spent 30 years in Ireland. I have been in West Virginia for 38 years. I played the game during my high school and college years,”

Glade Creek United, an experienced team from Beckley West Virginia took first place overall with a score of 23, while Men from Nantucket finished second with a score of 24.

Sanctioned by the West Virginia Irish Road Bowling Association, the Wheeling tournament was sponsored by Raymond James and all proceeds benefited the St. John’s Home for Children.

Road Bowling enjoys roots 400 years deep in Ireland, where it’s still widely played. The popularity of the sport has grown dramatically in the United States , and particularly in West Virginia , where the geography is so similar to Ireland ‘s. After making its state debut in 1995, Irish Road Bowling has become a regular feature at state parks and festivals throughout West Virginia.

“I thought it was a great opportunity to bring something new and different to Wheeling and to celebrate and share a less known aspect of our Irish heritage,” said Andy Ondeck, the AOH member whose idea it was to bring Irish Road Bowling to Wheeling . “Last year a few of us drove to Kingwood West Virginia to compete in our first tournament,” he added, “We had a blast, and the idea grew from there.”
A dinner and awards ceremony was held after the event at Sonneborn Shelter, at Wheeling Park. A second annual tournament is already being planned for September 10, 2011. To register or for more information, contact Craig O’Leary at oleary@redp.org.

West Virginia

Andy Ondeck, AOH Road Bowling Team Captain, observes Josh Jefferson’s bowling during the Kingwood, WV Irish Road Bowling.

The members of the Bishop Whelan Division #1 in Wheeling, West Virginia, have been learning the ancient sport of Irish Road Bowling.  Several AOH members travelled to Kingwood, WV in October to participate in one of the West Virginia Irish Road Bowling Association’s tour events. Two teams of Wheeling Hibernians participated, and they enjoyed the event so much that plans were developed to host an Irish Road Bowling event in Wheeling.  The Wheeling road bowling will be held on Boggs Hill Road, just outside of Wheeling on September 18, 2010.  The Wheeling Division is the only AOH Division in the state of West Virginia, but the Wheeling Hibernians hope to recruit new members and encourage the creation of other Divisions around the state through the contacts made through the West Virginia Irish Road Bowling Association.  AOH members in the surrounding states of Ohio and Pennsylvania are encouraged to enter the Wheeling Road Bowling event on September 18 and experience the excitement that comes with this ancient sport.