Catherine wins a gold medal

DRUMGOR bowler Catherine McMillen has returned from the Atlantic Championships in Cyprus with a gold medal.

She won the gold in the singles and wrote herself into the record books as only the second Irish player to win the event.

The first was Margaret Johnston in Capetown, South Africa, in 1997.

Thirty year old Catherine, who plays for Drumgor in the Armagh Indoor League and is a member of the Armagh zone team, plays her outdoor bowls with Divis.

She was making her debut in the competition and just scraped into the play-off position after finishing third in the group stages.

But she found her form at the right time, beating Lucy Beere from Guernsey 21-16 in the medal position play-off.

She then defeated Jersey’s Chris Grimes in the semi-final which guaranteed at least a silver medal.

Catherine was given little chance against the golden girl of English bowls, Natalie Melmore, in the final.

But she produced a stunning display by recording a fantastic 21-16 victory.

“I was shocked,” said Catherine who had taken time out from bowls to look after her two children, now aged five and two.

“I returned to serious bowls this year and was delighted to be on the Elite panel picked by the Irish selectors,” she added.

After finishing in the top three in her round robin group of six matches she got into the play-ofs.

“I didn’t even think I would get to the play-offs although I went there to win,” she added.

Catherine has already been selected for the Irish team for the internationals to be hosted by Ireland at Bangor next June.

And further afield she is hoping to make it to the World Championships in Australia in December of next year.

With other Irish teams scooping medals Irish boss Jim Baker said it was an outstanding achievement.

He added; “Every one of the team is returning with a medal which is quite unbelievable considering we were up against the best in the world.

“The performance proves once again we can live with the top teams and it will certainly improve our reputation in the world standings.”