One young Longford man is going lock, stock and barrel for gold at this week’s World Clay pigeon shooting championship.
20-year-old Adam Howard is representing Ireland at not one but five prestigious tournaments in an eight day period (July 20 – 28) in Wales.
Highlight of those competitions will undoubtedly be the World down-the-line( DTL) Championship finals, in which Adam will represent the Irish junior team (under 21s). He will also be flying the flag along with his team mates in both the British Open and the European Championship.
“It’s almost unheard of for all these competitions to happen so close together. Last year the World Championships was in South Africa but seeing as it was in Wales this year the organisers decided to keep all the events close together to help those travelling,” Adam told the Leader this week.
The former St. Mel’s College student got official notice he was on the Irish team two weeks ago, but has been preparing for the eventuality for months. “I haven’t had a drop of alcohol since Christmas. Firstly I can’t afford to drink for both financial and performance reasons. I don’t want to be competing hungover.”
Competing in clay pigeon shooting can be an expensive pastime, with travel expenses and ammunition the biggest costs. “People don’t often realise the expense involved. One week I could be at a competition in Kilkenny, next weekend in Monaghan and then down to Kerry. Diesel is very expensive but ammunition is the biggest single expense, and then there’s the entry costs for the competitions thrown on top,” Adam revealed.
Adam started shooting very young – getting his licence at 16 – after inheriting a love of shooting from his father, William. After registering with the Irish Clay Pigeon Shooters Association in April 2011, he became available for selection for the Irish team.
After these competitions, Adam is going to concentrate on the Olympic disciplines in the hope of following in the footsteps of fellow Longford man Derek Burnett who is competing in his fourth consecutive Olympics this summer in London.
Like many sports that require intense mental concentration, the strain on competitors can be huge. Adam has been working with Phil Cowley, a leading sports psychologist who specialises in mental preparation for shooters. “It’s something that may not get a lot of attention but it’s important to give it attention because like many sports that require a really intense concentration, it’s a very mental as well as technical sport.”
The Newtownforbes man gets great support from his family, with his mother the first on the phone after every competition to check how it went. Michael is travelling over to watch his son in the European and World Championships while Adam’s sister, Amy, who works in Wales as a radiographer, will be in the crowd cheering him on as well.
Adam is very grateful to all those that have supported him. “I just want to thank Newtownforbes Gun Club, Phil Cowley and Longford Regional Game Council for all their generous support. And of course, my family for always being there.”