Pat Daly, Kilronan, defeated Gaeltacht’s Tim Kelleher in the Derrinasafa novice 1 tournament on Sunday after a strong late surge from ‘darkwood turn’ put him in control for the last shots. A competitive joust that carried a €2,200 total stake had Daly in early ascendancy holding good odds after three excellent openers. His next brace didn’t run kindly and the All-Ireland veteran champion from Macroom came in front with good bowling to ‘Cotter’s cross’. When Daly missed ‘sight’ with his next, he looked in trouble almost a bowl down, but a brilliant effort to ‘Walshe’s lane’ levelled it up again. Daly followed up with a couple in similar vein and held a forty-metre lead for the last shots. Kelleher’s good last effort did not trouble the Kilronan man. In a local three-way return, Kevin O’Donovan emerged the victor from Barry O’Donovan and Michael Carroll, Dunmanway.
Beal na mBlath and Bantry bowlers enjoined in a day’s bowling on the Mid-Cork club’s home road on Saturday last. Beal na mBlath took the honours on the day winning three of the four but many were close run and re-match’s may be in the offing when Bantry are hosts for a return visit. The feature score involved leading juniors Ger D O’Driscoll, Mid Cork, and Muiris Buttimer from the west. For a €3,000 total it was going O’Driscoll’s way almost from the off. The Newcestown man’s opening four to ‘Murphy’s palms’ yielded almost a bowl lead and he rose it in full with his next brace to ‘Bradfield’s cross’. Not much was going right for Buttimer and, when the 2022 Mid Cork junior B champion doubled his lead with five more good efforts to the ‘novice line’, there was no way back for the Bantry man. Honours were even in the early day doubles as Joe Madden and Paul Twomey got the home side off to a winning start only for Darren Cronin and David Hourihane to level matters for the visitors. Twomey was again in the winner’s enclosure in the days final score when, partnered by Michael Desmond, a one bowl victory was secured over Patsy O’Sullivan and former West Cork novice D championship winner, Brendan Burke for a stake of €3,100.
At Ballinacurra, Upton on Saturday, Jerry Murphy, Templemartin, a vintage A contender, scored a win from Jim Coffey, two bowls for €5,000. An even first quarter quickly turned Murphy’s way when he fired an exceptional effort down past ‘Perrot’s’. Coffey challenged in the next exchanges, but Murphy held his ground and, when he delivered another big one to the ‘D’ line, victory was assured. Coffey did score a win in a return challenge but only just against plucky novice C graded Ronan O’Donovan, last shot, for €500. Earlier at Ballinacurra, Paul Kelleher defeated Michael O’Riordan and Tim Allen won from Finbarr Lucey, two bowls for €400.
At Shannonvale on Sunday, on a day of five scores, Johnny O’Driscoll and Patrick Coffey fought out a competitive opening contest. Shot for shot it went with O’Driscoll shading it in the final exchanges. They played for a total of €4,000. O’Driscoll won their second set-to handily enough for a €1,000 total. John Cahalane then engaged with the redoubtable Jim Coffey in three afternoon scores. Coffey won the first for a €4,000 total but Cahalane had the overall bragging rights winning the next two for stakes of €5,540 and €2,600.
The ubiquitous novice E grade is now filling the post-championship void. Deemed suitable for those not good enough or unwilling to participate in any of the four other novice categories, it has a presence in almost all regions and gives those involved a competitive platform to maybe progress to higher levels. In Mid Cork at Castletownkenneigh, Dylan Murphy won from Cian Collins for an €800 total and, in the Gaeltacht division at Baile Mhuirne, three were played. On Saturday here, Joe Warren won from Brendan O’Callaghan while Sunday’s fixtures resulted in Jerry McSweeney winning from Daniel Kelly and Eamonn McSweeney getting the verdict from Christy McCarthy. A couple of more in North Cork at Bweeng saw Aidan O’Brien defeat John Buckley, last shot, for €660 and Barry Meade defeat Kevin Finnigan, last shot for €740.
Micheál O’Callacháin, outright winner of the vintage championship in 2021, is on the trail again having scored a hard-earned last shot win from old nemesis Tom Allen in their midday county section B (East) joust at Kilcorney on Sunday. O’Ceallacháin dominated early but did not take a significant lead to ‘Coleman’s bridge’ and was on the hind foot for a while as Allen threatened a surprise. Allen’s second last didn’t run and the Baile Bhuirne man pounced to ensure a place in the second-round draw.
In section A vintage at Jagoe’s Mills Martin Connolly made it through to the A semi-final draw with a last shot victory over Chris O’Donovan. For a €500 total, Ballineen man O’Donovan, a champion at junior A and veteran, had openings to make his mark in the over 60’s category but a couple of misplays at vital junctures were to cost him dearly. Bandon native, Connolly, who has also campaigned at the higher levels, lost ground in the shots to ‘O’Brien’s’ but a mistake by O’Donovan here meant there was nothing between them as they played to ‘Lawton’s’. The Ballineen man edged away again only to be reeled in by the ‘power station’ and Connolly’s persistence paid off as he came from thirty metres hind to win it in the last shot. Ted Hegarty, Jerry Murphy and Eugene O’Sullivan through after 2019 winner, Mick Young’s withdrawal, make up the last four in section A.
Also, in vintage at Beal na mBlath, Castletownkenneigh’s Denis Nyhan got over a tough first round hurdle when accounting for fellow Mid Cork campaigner Martin Desmond in the last shot of a good section B score.
Team bowling and under-age trials were also on last Sunday’s schedule. The Pike quartet of Darren Harrington, Michael Harrington, Feidhlim O’Neill and Joseph Hennessy were best at South-West’s hosting at The Pike while there was a home win at Leap too as the locals, David Minihane, Kieran O’Sullivan, Cian Minihane and Jordan Limrick topped a competitive group of six. Togher Cross bowling club hosted West Cork’s opening day under-age trials on Sunday morning last. Close on thirty boys and girls showed their paces with county and regional winners such as Daniel O’Sullivan, Shauna O’Driscoll and Oisin Murray among those leading the way. Making a welcome return after the two-year Covid induced break, these regional trials are the forerunner to the inter-regional team competition play-offs usually held in February when the famed Kelleher Shield is up for grabs. Following the trials, regions will submit two teams of three, boys, one from U14, U12 and U10 and for girls one from U16, U14 and U12.
SMA Community Centre in Wilton are currently hosting an exhibition on the life of Mick Barry. Bowling’s all time great had a chequered history in the sport and the display features photographic images and newspaper cuttings from iconic moments in an extraordinary career. There is also video input of some insightful interviews given by the great Mick. The exhibition at Wilton runs until Friday October 7.