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A review of an action packed 2023

For Ból Chumann na hÉireann 2023 was a year of sadness as the loss of several prominent members impacted, a year of upheaval too at officer level with the unexpected departure of its chairman, but ultimately for the organisation in its main area of activity, the running of championships and supervision of tournament and fund-raising events, it has proved an exceptionally successful and progressive twelve months. The All-Ireland final stagings at Ballincurrig, Eglish and Killea were the highpoints. Ballincurrig on July 8th/9th was resplendent in the summer sun but there was disappointment when David Murphy’s injury prevented him from completing his All-Ireland senior final challenge to Thomas Mackle. Mackle retained his crown and is now a three-time champion. There was more joy for the northern camp when Aoife Trainor produced a big display to take the intermediate title from Ciara Buckley and Jake Cullen was equally impressive in winning a cracking junior B All-Ireland from Noel O’Regan. Armagh started on a high too when Jack O’Reilly won the opening decider, the U12 play-off, from Cork’s Eoghan Hickey. Cork’s winners on the weekend came in the form of Phillip O’Donovan who was peerless in the veteran grade and won by two from Johnny Kelly while. Emma Hurley thrilled her big Drinagh support when winning the U16 final from Megan O’Reilly. In the same age sector John O’Donoghue took the boy’s championship by virtue of a big victory from Ulster’s Oisin Gribben. Three weeks later, on August Bank Holiday weekend, Eglish, Co Tyrone were hosts for All-Ireland’s series 2. Danny McParland had defeated Mick Barry on a road nearby to win the 1971 senior championship, but this was very much a Cork weekend. Here too, a major final was injury afflicted as Ethan Rafferty, Ulster’s splendid intermediate champion, suffered a horrific leg injury a week previous to his clash with Brian Wilmot and was unable to compete. The Bandon man is the All-Ireland champion but not in the way he would have wanted. Kelly Mallon was majestic in winning Ulster’s sole victory of the weekend when defeating a game Geraldine Daly in the women’s senior final. Denis O’Sullivan won a thrilling junior A final from Eugene McVeigh and Tommy O’Sullivan won U18 from Ulster’s dual champion, Oisin Gribben. Ellen Sexton was a real star at Eglish winning ladies U18 from a very good Ulster champion, Michaela Greene. Tommy O’Donoghue made it a clean sweep in under-age at the Tyrone venue when accounting for Dan Sweeney in U14. Killea adjacent to Dunmore East, Co. Waterford, hosted the junior C and novice finals on September 2/3. A superbly organised event saw thrills and spills on a grand scale. A rare novice double was achieved by Cork’s well-tested champions. Brian O’Driscoll was brave and focused in delivering two top-class displays in the face of adversity. He captured the novice 1 title from a hard-trying Alan Long of Leinster, a victory that was extremely poignant in the light of later events. Michael O’Driscoll, the Cork novice 2 champion had come through a few tight scrapes in winning his county tile and brought his survival instincts to Killea where, to the delight of his large following, he escaped from the jaws of defeat to deny a gallant London champion, Danny O’Shea in an absorbing decider. The titles stayed in the strongholds with Ulster’s Barry O’Reilly taking the junior C championship thanks to meticulous reparation and consistent delivery. London’s Padraigh Nugent was a game runner-up. Highlights too, of course were the premier non-championship events at Ballincurrig and Keady-Tassagh, hosts for the King and Queen of the Roads and Bol Fada festivals. Rainy days mattered not a whit to bowlers and punters who came in droves for the 38th hosting of the famed King and Queen festival. From Friday morning’s opening and interaction with the pupils of local Scoil Naofa to the crowning of the new King and Queen late on Sunday evening, it was a weekend filled with exceptional scores, tight finishes and brilliant shots. Thomas Mackle crowned a magnificent year with the King prize, Silke Tulk won Queen for the seventh time, Brian Wilmot won the Jim O’Driscoll Cup and Tommy O’Sullivan and Ellen Sexton combined to win the Proto Mark Technologies Youths International Triple Crown. Bol Fada at Keady Tassagh on Easter weekend also had its share of excitement, but it was a chastening weekend for the travelling Cork contingent who won just two of the nine scores played. Thomas Mackle again dominated winning the prestigious Joe McVeigh Cup. Michael Bohane, and the youthful combination of Daniel O’Sullivan and Laura Sexton in a doubles event, were Cork’s only winners as Armagh with Eugene McVeigh, Colm Rafferty, the doubles partnership of Ronan McClelland and Dervla Toal-Mallon, Pete Carr, and the 2022 Fenor All-Ireland winning pair of Brendan Rafferty and Frank Oliver all posted home wins. The Creamery Road Bantry hosted the return of the Unlimited Cork championships on August 23rd, 24th and 25th and multitudes of scores ensued with Michael Collins, Christopher Walsh, Kelly Newman and Patrick Batterberry all excelling in bringing home the spoils. Bowling and Bol Chumann were accorded a singular honour when it’s leading lady, Gretta Cormican, was inducted into West Cork’s Sports Stars Hall of Fame Awards at a gala dinner at The Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery. At the Associations own presentation night at The Parkway Hotel, Dunmanway, in November, David Murphy recieved Bol Chumann’s Hall of Fame, Kevin O’Donoghue, Secretary Killea Bowling Club, Co. Waterford, was named Personality of the Year, and Brian Wilmot and Ciara Buckley received Player of the Year Awards. In July, James Luke Hayes launched his Road Bowling artwork ‘The Score’ to much acclaim at Macroom Town Hall. Bol Chumann’s Child Safeguarding statement progressed by Hon Secretary Michael O’Ceallachain and Child Welfare Officer, Caroline Smith was adopted in May. Constitutional amendments were also implemented as per Sport Ireland requirements. Conversely, Michael Brennan’s unexpected resignation from his position as Chair Bol Chumann in September, was a source of shock. Vice-chair, Willie Murphy has acted as interim chair. The 17th European Championships, hosted by FKV Association, at Newharlingerseil, north Germany, was the focus much of the later months of 2023 with ongoing trials in German Loft, Dutch Moors, and Road Bowling taking place over several weekends at Castletownkenneigh. The Mid Cork club was also nominated as hosts for the 2024 Cork series of All-Ireland finals. Bol Chumann’s convention 2022 was held at The Munster Arms, Bandon, on February 22nd 2023. The well-attended gathering heard expansive reports of a largely positive nature from Chair Michael Brennan, Honorary Secretary, Michéal O’Ceallacháin, treasurer, James O’Driscoll; Child Protection Officer, Caroline Smith, Registrar, Billy McAuliffe, Youths, David Murphy, PRO Pat McCarthy and ladies Secretary, Gretta Cormican. All officers were returned to serve for 2023. Carbery’s off-road bowling track at Skibbereen Showgrounds resumed after the Christmas break and offered Thursday night practice opportunities for scores of under-age bowlers at their floodlit facility. The passing of Liam O’Keefe, in late March, was keenly felt within the Association. One of bowling’s iconic figures, Liam was Bol Chumann President at the time of his departure. He was the game’s first senior champion and in an administrative capacity served as City Honorary Secretary for many decades and attended executive meetings past his 90th birthday. In the same month, Connie O’Callaghan of Coolavokig, Macroom and Boston went to his reward. Connie was the heartbeat of Boston bowling and his death leaves a huge void. The death of James Nagle in the lead up to Easter shocked the bowling world. The Rosscarbery man was a popular player and an advocate for the sport of bowling at every opportunity. Glanworth native Billy McAuliffe was another towering figure within the game. Well-known and respected Billy left his mark as a player and administrator, and his passing in July was mourned by all. Teddy O’Driscoll’s untimely death in September left the bowling world in grief once again. Coming just a few days after his son Brian won the All-Ireland novice 1 championship in Waterford, it was an especially poignant time for family and community. The death of Hans Jacobs of the VSHB German Association also occurred in July. Hans was a tireless promoter of European competition and had been involved as president of the International Bowlplaying Association. Joe Bowen’s passing in February evoked memories of a genial man who put Whitechurch bowling on the map. The affiliation and grading of players had been expedited by mid December 2022 enabling Registrar Billy McAuliffe to issue the Association’s register for 2023 by early January and soon regions were active in commencing championships in the lower novice grades. In tournament action in the January February period there were wins at Carrignavar for the doubles team of Billy Connolly and Billy Cahill and in the John O’Mahony Cup team event for Brian Quinlan, Bernard O’Donovan and Niall Maloney. Gaeltacht won the Johnny O’Driscoll Shield from Carbery at Clondrohid; West Cork boys (Daniel O’Sullivan, Tadg O’Farrell, Brian Murphy) and North Cork Girls (Rihanna Collins, Jena Healy, Chloe Hubbard) won the youths inter-regional team finals at The Phale Road; Bol Chumann Ard Mhaca hosted a Youths Development fund-raising series at Eglish which included a significant participation from Cork bowlers; a ladies open day was held on The Froe Road, Rosscarbery; Denis O’Sullivan won the Ballinacurra, Winter tournament and Brian Wilmot won the Paddy Barry Cup at Rosscarbery. In delayed 2022 championship finals, Margaret Sexton won ladies junior and Martin Connolly won vintage from sectional winners, Donal Harnedy and Pat Scanlon. March-April saw championship action intensified in all divisions as well as the commencement of senior and intermediate championships, men and women. The West Cork Distillers sponsored ‘Dowtcha Boy’ event took place on St. Patrick’s weekend at The Marsh Road. The youths inter-provincial team event at Newcastle was a great success with Connaught’s spirited showing adding much to the occasion. Munster boys and Ulster girls triumphed. Bol Fada festival went ahead at Keady-Tassagh, Co. Armagh, on Easter weekend with Thomas Mackle winning the main prize, the Joe McVeigh Cup, but many events were cancelled as a mark of respect to James Nagle. Colm Crowley won the Mikie Hourihane Cup at Bauravilla and Ted Hegarty completed his under-age tournaments at The Phale Road. Among the winners here were, Ailbhe O’Shea, Daniel O’Sullivan, Ross O’Brien, Jayden Crowley, Tommy Coppinger, Laura Sexton, Caroline and Cathal Creedon and Meabh Cuinnea. Damien Daly won the Mick Flor Cup at Schull and the combination of David Minihane and Simon Enright won the Fachtna O’Sullivan Cup at Leap. During this period also, Aidan Murphy won the Mother Hegarty Cup at Lyre, David O’Mahony the junior A final at Ballinacurra, Upton and Wayne Parkes, Tim Foley Cup at Templemartin. Bol Chumann ladies held a second open day at Coolea, Ballyvourney. The novice team bowling finals for the Sliabh Ban trophy drew over 70 bowlers to Castletownkenneigh on March 26. Ardcahan (Danny O’Donovan, Brian and Colman Murray and Ian O’Sullivan) emerged winners. Maurice Connolly and Simon Buckley won the Jerry O’Donovan Memorial at Carrignavar. Divisional championship finals and inter-regional rounds of some competitions were in full spate in May/June. David Desmond and Michael A Cronin won tournament finals at Lyre and Ardcahan and West Cork held a series of fund-raising scores at The Clubhouse. John O’Mahony won the Denis O’Donovan Cup at Jagoe’s Mills. Bantry Bowling Club hosted a series of ‘Cancer Connect’ fund-raisers in mid-May. London’s championships were also progressing, and the North Cork division hosted a successful under-age evening at Bweeng. The Pat Kiely Shield was held at Baile Bhuirne with London’s Padraigh Nugent winning the feature score. In the closing weeks of June, county finals were played, and David Murphy won senior defeating Martin Coppinger at Ballincurrig, Noel O’Regan won junior B from Noel O’Donovan at the same venue and Emma Hurley won U16 at Beal na mBlath from last year’s champion, Laura Sexton. Phillip O’Donovan and Paul Butler won junior and novice veteran finals and Eoghan Hickey and John O’Donoghue won U12 and U16 respectively. Ciara Buckley, with a hugely impressive performance, won ladies intermediate from Chloe O’Halloran at Whitechurch. The All-Ireland series at Ballincurrig and Eglish, both successfully run off, dominated July and August. The latter was a particularly challenging month for fixtures secretary, Richie Fitzgerald, with five finals plus-play-offs required ahead of the third series at Killea in September. In July, Geraldine Curtin staged a thrilling comeback to win the women’s senior final from Denise Murphy at Castletownkenneigh; Brian Wilmot won men’s intermediate from Donal O’Riordan at Ballinacarriga; Denis O’Sullivan junior A, Tommy O’Sullivan and Ellen Sexton U18 and Tommy O’Donoghue U14. During a hectic month of August, Shane Collins won junior C, Brian O’Driscoll, Novice A, David O’Brien, novice B, David Desmond, novice C and Michael O’Driscoll, Blarney, novice D. In tournament action, Brendan O’Neill won the Fearghal Beamish Cup at The Pike; Arthur McDonagh the Dan O’Riordan Cup at Bantry; Timmie Murphy the Joe Bowen memorial at Whitechurch and Margaret Daly organised a CUH Cancer fund-raiser at Shannonvale. There was little let-up in September with the prestigious Joe O’Sullivan Acorn Life Cup sandwiched between the Killea junior/novice All-Ireland weekend and the King and Queen Festival at Ballincurrig. As he would later at the East Cork venue, Thomas Mackle, came and conquered, taking the winner’s prize following a big stake shoot-out with Arthur McDonagh. Vice -chair, Willie Murphy, was appointed interim chair, Bol Chumann, on the unexpected resignation of Michael Brennan. Shane Shannon and Michael A Cronin won tournament finals at Durrus and the Carbery-South-West fund-raising series took place over October Bank Holiday weekend. The opening rounds of trials for the purpose of selecting teams for the 17th European Championships in Germany 2024 were held at Castletownkenneigh. Conna in East Cork also held a successful fund-raiser. Also in October, the City division ran the annual Wolfe Memorial event at Waterloo. North Cork’s Stephen Spillane emerged the winner. During this period the vintage (over 60’s) championship was in full spate with multitudes of scores reducing the 100 plus starting figure. Christy Mullins won section A, David Walsh section B, and Jack Cahalane section C. The ladies completed their championship season with Ailbhe O’Shea winning a thrilling junior final at Timoleague from Siobhan Kelleher while north Cork girls, Chloe Hubbard and Jena Healy won U12 and 14 county championships respectively. Novice E scores abounded in many regions with a high-profile final at Castletownenneigh delivering the Mid Cork title and the John Hennessy Cup to John O’Callaghan. Regional AGM’s were held at venues around the county. Registration and affiliation of players as well as grading procedures were the main focus for Registrar, Billy McAuliffe and his regional counterparts for the month of November. Figures held up but grading followed the usual trend with the vast majority of players in the novice sector to the detriment of regional junior competitions. Johnny O’Driscoll won a tournament final at Grange and Cliodhna Murphy won a first ever novice ladies final at Baile Bhuirne. Emma Hurley, Drinagh, was nominated West Cork youths sports star quarterly award winner in recognition of her All-Ireland U16 championship success and for her performances with West Cork Kennedy Cup teams. Bol Chumann Ard Mhaca celebrated their sixtieth anniversary with a photographic exhibition from the 1963 All-Ireland senior final at the Cardinal O’Fiaich Library, Co. Armagh while Bol Chumann celebrated their championship season with a gala night at The Parkway Hotel, Dunmanway. Championship finalists from twenty-four separate categories were honoured. It was the month of remembrance too with thoughts of the many associated with the sport who went to their reward during the year. As well as the aforementioned they included, Con Twohig, Skibbereen, Paddy Morgan, Gerald McKee, Gerry Rafferty and Joe Shortt all Armagh, Sean Murphy, Passage, Leo O’Neill, Drinagh, Charlie Donovan, Kilcrohane, Denny Ronan, Reenascreena, Humphrey O’Sullivan, Macroom, Donal O’Driscoll, Drimoleague, Con O’Sullivan, Rosscarbery, Pat Buttimer, Bantry, Pete Crowley, Caheragh, John Joe Barry, Rosscarbery, Derry Warren, Ballineen, Peadar Tunney and Mick Kennedy, Mayo, Pat Murphy, Cork City and Templemartin, Jim Geasley, Cobh, Paddy Murray, Ballygurteen, Noel Buckley, Whitechurch. John Lynch, Wood Road, Sean Harrington, Caheragh, Finbarr Casey, Fairhill and Joe Coleman, Clonakilty. Christy Mullins won the vintage overall final at Fisher’s Cross on the first Sunday of December. Michael Carroll won the Beal na mBlath novice B final. Johnny O’Driscoll won a tournament final at Grange and Simon O’Connell won the Tigh O’Laoire Cup at Beal na Morrive. Also in December, the Eamonn Bowen (Senior) Memorial was held at Bottlehill with takings accruing to Cancer Research. A successful two-day event saw Seamus Sexton emerge the winner. Bol Chumann ladies held a well-attended open day at Timoleague and the game’s governing bodies north and south convened for the annual Ard Chomhairle meeting at The Maldron Hotel, Dublin. Following the completion of trials, Billy McAuliffe, Gretta Cormican and David Murphy announced the panel of players who will participate at the 17th European Championships in Germany in May 2024. Also in mid-December, Whiddy Development Group and Bantry bowling club organised a fund-raising day’s bowling on Whiddy with four scores played. The Christmas New-Year period brought a flurry of end of year activity. Aidan Murphy won the feature score at the RNLI-Cancer/Connect fund-raisers at Castletownbere on December 27/28; John Murphy won the novice veteran tournament final at Lyre and Brendan Hurley won the Dunderrow novice final. In the Carrignavar-Bottlehill Christmas tournaments there were wins for the trio of Denis Connolly/Kieran Daly/Felix Murphy and for Dylan McDonald/Tony Dunlea/Shane Cahill. In December too freelance film-maker, Laura Mahler, did an intensive study of Irish Road Bowling that included footage of scores and interviews with players and officials. As the year ended regions put their championship programme for 2024 in place with some announcing draws for competitions that will begin in January. Training schedules were outlined for those selected for the European championships to held in Germany on the 10th/11th/12th of May 2024. A few stand-out memories from 2023 might include, not in any particular order; Thomas Mackle’s incredible performance on a rain-lashed, leaf-strewn road at Ballincurrig on September 24th to win his fifth King of the Road title; The wonderful reception accorded to Gretta Cormican at The Celtic Ross Hotel on the announcement of her selection as West Cork Sport’s Star Hall of Fame winner; Geraldine Daly’s extraordinary comeback to win the county senior ladies final at Castletownkenneigh; The delights of Dunmore East and Killea and the fine-tuned organisation for the junior C/Novice All-Ireland’s on a glorious September weekend; The power, consistency and near perfection of delivery shown by Kelly Mallon in an awesome display at Eglish when winning her eleventh All-Ireland senior crown; Another stunning comeback at Clondrohid when Shane Collins, Rathcoole, came from over two bowls down to win his county junior C semi-final from John Anthony Murphy at Clondrohid; An unrelenting, action-packed month of August when fixtures secretary Richie Fitzgerald put in place a schedule of forty-two scores over a thirty-day period in order to facilitate finalists for Killea; An exceptional U16 inter-regional first round contest at Terelton between North-East’s John O’Donoghue and Carbery’s Shane Crowley; Emma Hurley’s U16 success and the crowds and colour she brought to the summer championships; The enthusiasm and attention to detail with which James Luke Hayes undertook a rare artwork dedicated to Road Bowling; the determination and grit shown by Ailbhe O’Shea to hold off the challenge of Siobhan Kelleher in a fiercely competitive junior ladies final at Timoleague; Brilliant end of year senior performances by Seamus Sexton on the opening day Eamonn Bowen Memorial at Bottlehill and by Aidan Murphy for a €104,000 total stake at Castletownbere;

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Bowling Review of 2022 - Part 1

A successful European venture, the return of a full championship programme and ratification of the Association’s updated Code of Governance, Rules and Constitution made for a busy twelve months on and off the road for bowling’s governing body, Ból Chumann na hÉireann. Meldorf in May was the focus for the sports elite in the months leading up as the 16th hosting of the European championships, deferred due to the pandemic from 2020, were given the go-ahead in early January. It was a fraught but ultimately successful experience for the Irish contingent. The selection process had gone well, team trials providing plenty of competition for places and the rigorous training sessions which followed had Ból Chumann’s four teams ready for the fray. A bitterly cold opening day by the North Sea for the Moors competitions did not yield the expected returns. Martin Coppinger’s heroic effort in the worst of the conditions came up just short of taking gold and his bronze podium place was scant consolation. Tommy O’Sullivan silver and Darragh Dempsey bronze in U18 were Ireland’s only other individual medal winners on a tough day. The Lofting competitions on Saturday are always the preserve of the German Associations and this was no exception but the battle for third best team was won by Ból Chumann’s senior men and youths’ teams. The glory came at Suderhasdt on Sunday May 29 in idyllic conditions, and it proved to greatest of days for Seamus Sexton, Darragh Dempsey and Rachel Kingston. All achieved Gold in their respective categories, senior men, youths’ boys and girls. Sexton’s performance was exceptional coming tops from a field of fifty and in doing so setting a magnificent target of 2,323.9 metres for his ten shots. The team were accorded a civic reception by Mayor Cork County, Gillian Coughlan at County, Hall, Cork on the week prior to their departure and there were suitable celebrations in Kanturk, Dunmanway and Skibbereen when the Gold Medal winners returned to their home bases. Ból Chumann’s membership ratified its updated Code of Governance, Rules of Play and Constitution at a Special Convention held at The Copper Grove, Bandon, on Wednesday November 16th. Chair, Michael Brennan, welcomed close on one hundred club and regional delegates and outlined the business of the Special Convention. He said it was an historic evening for the Association as, under the rules of Government and Sport Ireland who were charged with bringing in Government policy rules to sporting organizations, Ból Chumann was required to introduce a Code of Governance for our sport to maintain its funding. He continued that it was an opportune time to update our Constitution as the delegates had been asking for this at various Annual Conventions down through the years. The first Constitution was produced in 1954 and updated in 1994. This was well structured and formed the basis for the current body of work. In 2001/2002 an attempt was made to update the Constitution, but events overtook the process, and it was abandoned. Finally, 28 years later, he said ‘we have reached a stage where we are able to achieve this’. Honorary Secretary, Micheál O’ Céallachain, a principal architect of the review, explained the need for a Special Convention. He said ‘Ból Chumann was a members-based organisation working for its members and this Convention was needed to give the documents legal status’. Jerome Casey of the working group who has experience of similar work with the LGFA, thanked all those involved in preparing the documents. He asked for proposers and seconders as he moved through each section of the 200-page transcript. These included amendments on the Constitution, Rules of Play, Organisational rules, Registration regulations, Disputes and Disciplinary, Arbitration Regulations, Child Welfare and Safeguarding Policy and Code of Conduct. All received unanimous approval. The Chairman thanked all the delegates for their attendance and said that the updated Code of Governance and Constitution/Rules of Play would come into effect from November 21. The document can be viewed on under the about section (or click here). All-Ireland finals at Ballincurrig (July 9/10), Newtownhamilton (July 30/31) and Fenor, Co Waterford Sept 3/4 concluded a championship programme that began for some at regional level in the early weeks of February. Significant bragging rights for our northern rivals were acquired with national titles in both senior men and women’s championships. Thomas Mackle out fought Michael Bohane in a closing quarter thriller at Newtownhamilton while Kelly Mallon brought all her experience to bear in a dominant display against first time Cork champion, Hannah Sexton at Ballincurrig. The Cork camp had plenty to shout about in terrific wins for Patrick Flood and Denise Murphy who both achieved All-Ireland honours in the intermediate grades and John Creedon’s success in junior A men. Aaron Hughes, Armagh, pipped Denis O’Sullivan for the junior B crown at Newtown but Gaeltacht’s Tim Kelleher balanced this one out with a convincing win in the veteran’s final. In the under-age finals Paddy O’Donnell and Rachel Kingston were successful in U18; Liam Murphy, thrillingly in U16, and in a peak year for the Gaeltacht, Ross O’Brien, in U12. Ulster had national champions in U14 when Ethan Hughes won a cracking final with Cork’s worthy champion, Daniel O’Sullivan and in Armagh when Lily O’Rourke just held off Laura Sexton. Fenor for the junior C and novice final did not prove a happy hunting ground for Cork’s champions who came home empty handed. Louth’s J P Clinton was the big winner eclipsing Cork youthful champion, Sean Paul McDonagh in the decider. Ulster scored a double here with Brendan Rafferty winning junior C and Frank Oliver novice D. The vintage men and junior ladies championships are down to the final stages. The big festival events Ból Fada Easter weekend and the King and Queen classic returned to full schedules with the latter accommodating champions from The Netherlands and Germany. Arthur McDonagh won the Joe McVeigh Cup on the Keady-Tassagh road at Easter and successful too was John O’Rourke who captured the Pete Grimley Cup. The 37th King and Queen festival held thrills and spills in abundance. David Murphy edged Gary Daly to take the King crown for the sixth time while Silke Tulk, the Dutch champion, likewise took the Queen gong also for the sixth time. Donal O’Riordan won an exciting Jim O’Driscoll Cup decider from Ethan Rafferty while, on a supremely successful weekend for the Dutch visitors, their under-age champions Tim Hendricks and Britt Rolink won the Proto-Mark Technologies Youths International Triple Crown. Child Welfare and Safeguarding Officer, Caroline O’Leary, introduced a series of courses in compliance with the new Code of Governance. Club and Regional personnel attended at selected venues around the county.

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Bowling Review of 2022 - Part 2

Club tournament competitions, fund-raising events and activities promoting ladies bowling and under-age development all engaged the sports membership during the past twelve months. Carbery’s off-road bowling track situated within the precincts of Skibbereen Showgrounds continues to provide a safe environment for those wishing to hone their skills with the iron ball. Floodlit and sheltered, the facility’s popularity can be gauged by the large numbers of boys and girls attending the Thursday night sessions. Dan McCarthy and his youths committee are at the helm. In perhaps a portent of things to come, Michael Bohane made a few sit up and take notice when winning the O’Connell/Dullea Cup at Ballygurteen in January. It was a month too when many regions finished off their 2021 novice and junior championships which had been disrupted by the many Covid induced stoppages of the previous year. Tim Young gave an early indicator too winning the West Cork 2021 junior A championship in February. Tom O’Donovan won the Ballinacurra junior A winter tournament and Liam Kearney’s thunderbolt last shot won the Sliabh Ban trophy for his Clondrohid side at the inter-regional team finals at Castletownkenneigh also in February. The Marsh Road Bowling club hosted the annual Carbery/Gaeltacht challenge for the Johnny O’Driscoll Cup and Noel O’Regan, Diarmuid Hurley and Shane McCarthy won tournaments at Bauravilla, Reenascreena and Skibbereen. By January’s end affiliations and grading for 2022 were completed and regional championships began in most divisions. Micheal O’Callaghan won the delayed 2020 vintage championship and received the Donal Moynahin Shield with a last shot victory at Beal na mBlath. In March the first inter-provincial youths team finals were held at Newcastle, Co. Dublin; a number of Cork bowlers travelled to Armagh for the ‘Aaron Mission to walk’ fund-raisers, the West Cork Distillers sponsored ‘Dowtcha Boy’ weekend was held at The Marsh Road, Skibbereen where the partnership of Martin Coppinger and Claire O’Sullivan were victorious, and P J Cooney won the John Cronin Cup at Churchtown South. Bol Fada was the focus for April, but also senior and intermediate championships were in full flow. Ted Hegarty completed his Covid hit under-age championships on the Phale Road in the first week of May. This was a month too of intense preparations and fund-raising for the upcoming European Championships. The teams departed for Germany on Tuesday May 24th. Meanwhile regional, championships were in full spate. In junior A there were divisional wins for David Shannon (Carbery), Alex O’Donovan (South West), Denis O’Driscoll (West Cork), Mick Hurley (East Cork), Tim McDonagh (North East), Cian Boyle (City), Tom O’Donovan (Mid Cork). David Hubbard (North) and John Creedon (Gaeltacht) were the other regional representatives. It was the latter who would emerge with ultimate honours. The senior and intermediate grades were casting their own spell. Michael Bohane shocked James O’Donovan who had earlier eliminated another favourite, David Murphy. Seamus Sexton, with a performance in keeping with his status as European Champion, blitzed the defending All-Ireland title-holder, Arthur McDonagh, with an awesome display at Ballyvourney. Bohane then defeated Martin Coppinger and won the battle for the county with Sexton at Lyre to become the Carbery division’s first senior champion. Hannah Sexton was making her own history winning the senior ladies at the first attempt while Denise Murphy stayed on course to win the lady’s intermediate crown. Patrick Flood, another first-time contender, became the youngest intermediate men’s winner in long time. All would grace the All-Ireland series at Ballincurrig and Newtownhamilton in July. Margaret Daly ran off her annual CUH fund-raisers at Shannonvale in August. Fund-raising too were the Derrinasafa, Dunmanway club whose ‘Autism Friendly’ weekend at the end of the month was well-supported. Aidan Murphy and Paudie Hurley were the principal organisers. Martin Coppinger won the Wille Whelton Cup at Grange in September and Denise Murphy added to her collection when winning the Gretta Cormican Queen of the Roads qualifier cup. It was a month of intense activity in the junior and novice grades ahead of the Fenor All-Ireland series in early September. At the end of a prolonged series, David Hegarty won the junior C county at The Marsh Road, Sean Paul McDonagh the novice 1 at Castletownkenneigh and Ruairi O’Connell the novice D at Beal na mBlath. All-Ireland honours eluded all three at Fenor. While the King and Queen festival was another September highlight, the revival of the popular Joe O’Sullivan Acorn Life Cup at Castletownbere also made the headlines. Thomas Mackle made it a profitable sojourn southward when winning the prestigious cup on the Eyries road. Team bowling events and the recently introduced novice E grade ensured plenty of regional action post championship and Wilton Parish Centre hosted a photographic exhibition featuring images of Mick Barry in his heyday. Ból Chumann ladies committee hosted a ‘Hers Outdoors’ event at Castletownkenneigh and a lady’s day at Dunderrow both of which were well supported. Tim Young won the Mick Eoin Cup at Bantry, John Young the John Joe Murphy Cup at Bauravilla and Maebh Cuinnea and Emma Hurley won girls U12 and U14 county championships. As the year wound down, Michael Brennan and James O’Driscoll represented Ból Chumann at the International Bowlplaying Association in Germany where Ernest Reimers of the German VSHB Association was elected to replace Alloys Timmerhuise (NKB) as IBA President. Mr. Timmerhuise had completed his four-year term. Maria Nagle and Hannah Cronin won the women’s senior and intermediate women’s league competitions, Martin Coppinger the Eamonn Bowen Memorial at Bottlehill and Jack O’Callaghan, the Coachman’s Cup at Bauravilla. Other tournament winners included Kenneth Murphy at Beal na mBlath; Ger Connolly, Grange; Shane Shannon, Marsh Road, David O’Connor, Durrus, Liam Ronan, Rosscarbery, Luke Nolan, Schull, Wayne Parkes the Tim White Cup at Rosscarbery; James Hurley, Togher Cross; Martin Murphy, Lyre and David McCarthy and Darren Lynch the D doubles competition at The Marsh Road. Regional AGM’s preceded the new affiliation and grading deadlines for 2023 and all were completed by November 1 in readiness for the coming year. Sadly, 2022 also marked the departure of some who have been long associated with bowling through their exploits on the road or in playing a supportive role. Over the past twelve months the bowling game lost Tony Hughes, Armagh, Teresa Brennan, Bandon, wife of Association chair, Michael, Michael O’Mahony, Drinagh, Liam Daly, Shannonvale, Donal Hurley, Clon, Jerry Murphy Crookstown, Connie Moynahin, Cill na Martra, Mary Trunwit, Bandon, John Cronin, Churchtown South, Mickey O’Brien, Rosscarbery, Neilus Ahern, Bishopstown, Kevin Wall, Innishannon, Roger O’Donoghue, Ballygurteen, Danny O’Donovan, Mardyke Street, Skibbereen, Dan O’Regan and Jerry Sheehy, both of Castlehaven, Ted Hickey, Skibbereen and Blarney and just at year’s end, Denis Collins, Clonakilty. 2022 ended with the RNLI and Ból Chumann fund-raisers in Castletownbere where the big winners were, Aidan Murphy and Martin Coppinger. The Association’s end of year celebration night returned for the first time since 2019 and a pleasant get-together at The Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery, saw championship finalists from 21 grades honoured for their achievements. Susan Green was inducted into Bol Chumann’s Hall of Fame; Mick Hurley was named Personality of the Year; Seamus Sexton won Male Player of the Year and Rachel Kingston, Ladies Player of the Year. All is in readiness for the new season.

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