The Creedmoor match is the oldest in NRA history with its roots tracing back to the 19th century. Larry Bartholome was a member of a U.S. team that recently traveled to Ireland and shared with Shooting Sports USA his experience shooting the first Creedmoor match on the Emerald Isle in 136 years.
Red, White and Blue in the Land of Green
By Larry Bartholome
In 1875, an American riﬂe team set sail for Dublin to
compete against the best long range shooters in Ireland.
The Irish had come to the Creedmoor range in New York
the year before and lost to the fledgling American Team.
At the time, the Irish were considered the finest in the
world. In the 1875 re-match, the Americans won again.
Now fast forward to June, 2011. For the first time
in 136 years, American long range shooters returned
to Dublin to compete in the Creedmoor Match. Even
though the match held in 1875 was a long time ago, the
friendship between the two countries has not changed
This re-match was brought about by a challenge from
past NRA President John Sigler, issued to the NRA of
the Republic of Ireland (NRAI), on behalf of U.S. F-Class
shooters. The Irish readily accepted Sigler’s challenge and
stepped up work on their new 1,200-yard range near
Tullamore, County Offay, RoI. The Midlands National
Shooting Centre of Ireland proved to be a challenge. The
range is built on a peat bog and the mirage can at times
be a bit thick, but the winds are the major problem. The
weather in Ireland seems to be in constant motion, with
one wave of weather after another coming in from the
Before the competitions began, our Irish hosts bused all
the competitors and families to the original site of the 1875
meeting, as they call it—the beach at Dollymount Strand in
Dublin Bay. To stand on that long, flat beach with the wind
blowing your hair about while visualizing what happened
there 136 years ago, was a moving experience. After group
photos and viewing some of the original medals and score
cards, we re-boarded the buses for a trip to the Dublin town
hall. There, past NRA President Sandra Froman presented
a silver commemorative cup to the Deputy Lord Mayor and
NRAI officials. After appropriate speeches and a reception,
talk turned to shooting and who was going to beat who in
the coming days.
Let me say the Irish in general and the shooters in
particular were extremely gracious hosts. During our stay,
the people went out of their way to be nice. Not just the
shooters, but every person on the street. If I could, I would
go back tomorrow. After a fashion, they even speak English
we can understand. For those that didn’t go, the Guinness
Brewery and Tullamore Dew Distillery were eye openers
and, yes, they had free samples.
The competition was broken down into three parts: The
Irish Open Championships for individuals were shot over
two days; the one-day European/USA Team Match and the
two-day, 16-man Creedmoor Team Match. Eleven USA
F-Open and eleven USA F/TR competitors entered the two
days of individual shooting. The weather was cool, damp
and quite windy for this first phase with gusts topping
25 mph. The course-of-fire was two sighters (convertible)
and 15 for record at 800, 900 and 1,000 yards each day.
At the end of the first day, Bob Bock of Brewster, NY,
held a one point lead in F-Open over John Brewer from
Jackson, MS, Rick Jensen from Colorado and Larry
Bartholome, El Paso, TX. Bock dropped one point at
800 and 900 and four at 1,000 yards for a 219-23V. In 5th
and 6th places were Liam Fenion and Conor Murphy from
Ireland, two and three points back respectively. It was still
The V-ring is 5 inches in diameter, the 5-ring—10 inches,
the 4-ring—20, 3-ring—32 and the rest of the 44-inch black
bull is worth 2 points. Any hit outside the black counts as
one point on the six foot square target. Yes, Martha, they
shoot on the ICFRA 5V target when you leave the USA and
it is a difficult target.
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