May 8th, 2011

Ireland Hosts 2011 Creedmoor Cup at New Tullamore Range

An impressive new, 26-bay, 1200-yard rifle range has been constructed at the Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland. Dubbed the “Creedmoor” Range, the new 1200-yard facility, the only one of its kind in Ireland, will host long-range matches. These will include an historic F-Class Challenge match to be held June 25, 2011 between U.S. and Irish Teams. This event, the 2011 Creedmoor Cup, harkens back to the classic rifle matches of the late 19th Century.

NRAI Tullamore Range Ireland

Creedmoor Competition in the 1800s
History buffs will know that the NRA Range at Creedmoor, New York, was the site of many famous long-range rifle tournaments in the 19th Century. The great rifle matches of 1874 and 1875 between Ireland and America were a fantastic saga in the history of our two nations. The NY Creedmoor range continued to host a series of international matches during the 1870s and 1880s until public interest eventually declined and sadly, in 1910, shooting finally ceased at Creedmoor and the land was deeded back to the state of New York. Much history has passed between then and now in our two countries. Throughout all those years the NRA in America has grown enormously, becoming an integral part of America’s sporting identity. Ireland, sadly, had seen a decline in long range shooting. But that all began to change at the start of the 21st century….

Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland
In the year 2000, the National Rifle Association of Ireland (NRAI) was formed. One of its primary goals was to promote fullbore target shooting in Ireland. The NRAI needed a home and that home was found on the bog of Derrymore in Blueball just outside Tullamore in County Offaly. In 2000, a 400-yard range was built on the site. Three years later the 600-yard “Windmill” range, the first of its kind in modern Ireland, was also built to allow for mid-range target shooting. The site was christened the Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland (MNSCI) and with it the story of Irish F-Class began. No sooner had the 600-yard range been built at the MNSCI, when the NRAI formed a national F-Class league bringing together like-minded shooters from all over Ireland to compete in the modern F-Class discipline. The league continued to grow over the following six years, and, in 2008, a temporary 1000-yard range was built to facilitate Ireland’s bid to compete in the 2009 F-Class World Championships.

The 2011 Creedmoor Cup
Following the 2009 World Championships, America’s F-Classers issued a challenge to the F-Class riflemen of Ireland for an International Rifle Match. The challenge was made by then-president of the American NRA, John Sigler, to the chairman of the NRAI, Noel Kelly, who accepted the challenge on behalf of the riflemen of Ireland. The match will be called “The Creedmoor Cup” and will be held every four years, alternating between Ireland and America. The first Creedmoor Cup of the modern era in Ireland is scheduled for June 25, 2011 at the MNSCI range outside Tullamore.

John Sigler

To coincide with the Creedmoor Cup, two other events will be held at the start of that week. First will be the Irish Open, two days of F-Class shooting for individual competitors. This will be followed by the Europe vs. America team match. Think of this as a “Ryder Cup with Rifles”. The Europe vs. USA team competition, first held at the Lodi, Wisconsin range in 2008, is always a fiercely-fought grudge match between the Yanks and the “Continentals”.

To host the 2011 Creedmoor Cup events, a spectacular 1200-yard rifle range has been built at Ireland’s Midlands National Shooting Centre. The new 1200-yard range has been christened the NRAI “Creedmoor” Range, honoring the place where the sporting rifle traditions of America and Ireland became forever entwined. This venue was completed at the end of 2010, exactly one hundred years after the closing of the original Creedmoor range in America.

Notable developments in Ireland over the last decade — the formation of the NRAI and the opening of the Midlands National Shooting Centre — parallel what occurred in America during the 1870s with the founding of the NRA and the dedication of the Creedmoor range in New York state. The Midlands National Shooting Centre is an outstanding facility that has spurred the growth of the shooting sports in Ireland. We envy those who will compete in next month’s inaugural Ireland vs. USA Creedmoor Tournament at Tullamore.

Midlands national Shooting Centre Ireland Tullamore