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Bowling Report - Week ending 03rd December


Christy Mullins is the overall vintage champion for 2023 after his last do or die effort garnered him a two-metre victory over a game and gallant David Walsh at Fisher’s Cross on Sunday last. Section C winner, Jack Cahalane also contested this three-way play-off but did not show any semblance of the form that took him to a string of victories in a competitive category. On a bitterly cold day at the seaside venue Mullins and Walsh fought it to a stand-still, making the occasional error and enjoying a slice of luck here and there, but always focused on the goal of taking the Donal Moynahin Shield and that elusive county honour. For the Bantry native who long ago has assumed legendary status in the game, it is a first and, while he will have wished to have won one in his senior heyday when he contested three premier county finals, he will cherish this title coming as it does in the twilight of a truly extraordinary career. For David Walsh, it was an agonising defeat. He was impressive in taking charge in the shots away from ‘Bunny’s cross’ displaying agility and nimbleness in his deliveries and carrying the greater firepower in most of the exchanges. He recovered too from a fall executing his eleventh at ‘Galley cross’ to regain the lead and hold commanding odds facing the line. It still wasn’t enough as the battle-hardened Mullins hung in to snatch the victory in the most dramatic of circumstances. The front men were away with big opening shots, immediately rising a bowl on Cahalane whose travails continued as the odds mounted in the next exchanges. Mullins was a shade lucky to escape from the left and stay level with Walsh as they both hit the main road at ‘Footman’s’ in five. Cahalane, three adrift here, fired a great effort on the rise, but it was Walsh with a super sixth who forged almost a bowl in front of Mullins. Mullins kept in touch and a fine tenth to the ‘bridge’ cut the odds to twenty metres. Skibb’s Cahalane by this stage was forced to concede to his higher ranked rivals and the stage was set for a grand finale. Walsh was unlucky with his eleventh seeing his well-played delivery whip right losing the lead as he incurred a fall in his follow through. A great recovery saw him go back in front when Mullins missed his target. Mullins didn’t make the last bend, but a rare miscalculation by Walsh resulted in him missing also but retaining the fore bowl. Walsh got the best of breaks with his second last and it looked curtains for the A section winner until he produced that blistering effort on the incline. It won the day when the Clodagh native missed by the narrowest of margins. James O’Driscoll, on behalf of Bol Chumann, praised the three finalists, thanked the Fisher’s Cross bowling club and paid tribute to the family of the late P J Lehane whose continuing sponsorship of the Donal Moynahin Shield is much appreciated. The contest did not carry a stake.


Sunday was a busy day at Ballinacurra, Upton. The last of four scores was a junior B tournament semi-final involving Kenneth Murphy and Johnny O’Driscoll and it was a dead level contest for the opening phase as both made ‘Foley’s’ in good bowling. The deciding exchanges came when Murphy fired a few lengthy piledrivers in the section between ‘Perrot’s’ and Innishannon cross. These had the effect of rising a bowl of odds for the Spur Hill based Murphy and, with O’Driscoll uncharacteristically erratic in his bowling to ‘Cronin’s avenue’, the lead was consolidated resulting in a big bowl of odds victory and a place in the decider against Adrian Buttimer. The stake at issue amounted to €4,000.


On Sunday morning the Mid Cork under 10 competition final was played out for the Jerry Murphy Memorial Cup. The late Jerry from Beal na mBlath was a major presence in Mid Cork bowling for a generation and it was indeed his grandson, Jerry, son of former multiple county U18 champion, Johnny, who captured the coveted cup after a great score with Michael Foley (Jun). Both boys showed their potential in a well-contested play-off. Also, on at Ballinacurra, were two big money shoot-outs between Michael Gould and Flor Crowley. City man, Gould won the first of these by almost two for a €10,000 total but Caheragh native, Crowley, rebounded well winning the return by a bowl of odds for €13,000.


Despite the cold there was a splendid turnout for the last of Bol Chumann’s ladies open days at Timoleague on Saturday morning. Team and long-shot competitions were enjoyed by adult and under-age with keen competition and plenty of youthful endeavour on show. Team Results read, 1, Hannah Cronin, Ciara Lennon, Ciara Allen; 2, Ciara Buckley, Amelia Buckley, Rosin Allen; 3. Emma Fitzpatrick, Kaela Corrigan, Aibhe Corrigan. Long shot, U8/10, 1, Abbie O’Callaghan, 2, Lola Twohig, 3. Amelia Buckley; U12/14, 1. Caoimhe Lennon, 2. Holly Bourke, 3. Keala Corrigan; U16, 1. Julieanne O’Sullivan, 2. Rosin Allen, 3. Sophie Murphy; U18/Adults, 1. Ciara Buckley, 2. Ciara Allen, 3. Emma Fitzpatrick.

At Whitechurch, county junior C champion, Shane Collins put in a blistering finish to thwart Willie O’Donnell for a €3,600 total. North East regional champion, O’Donnell, showed his paces early on rising a bowl of odds in the bowling to the top of the hill, before two explosive efforts from Collins to ‘bula lane’ wiped out the deficit and put the Rathcoole man in pole position. Collins continued in a rich vein extending his lead with a series of powerful deliveries and was a convincing winner by the end. In a double back here, Stephen Bowen/Johnny Curtin defeated Bernard O’Donovan/Jeremy Downey, last shot for €2,000.


Michael Carroll, Gloun, won the Beal na mBlath three-way decider in the last shot, from Sidney Shannon while injury forced out third contender, Donal Crowley. The stake money amounted to €1,500.


The Jerh Cotter Cup at Terelton had Liam Kearney and Con O’Sullivan in opposition in a Saturday quarterfinal contest. For a €1,800 total, Kearney was on top from the off and ran out a comprehensive winner. Also here, Joe Creedon defeated Sean O’Leary, in the last shot, for €1,000 and, in a third score, local Andrew Kelleher scored a last shot win from City’s Tom Reaney, for a €2,000 total. In junior action at Templemichael, Craig Moynahin defeated Mick Hurley, last shot, for €900. Back the road in a novice contest, Bernard O’Donovan won from Dean Mooney, last shot, for €600.

At Jagoe’s Mills, Kieran Corrigan and Damien Burns shared the spoils in two good scores. Corrigan, thanks to a big effort from the ‘power station’ won the first for €1,000 total while Burns of the Gaeltacht division took the return, last shot, for €1,200. Also here, Mark Coleman defeated Brian Harrington, last shot, for €1,300. Back in the City division at The Bog Road, in a doubles contest Denis Connolly with John Donnellan defeated Sean O’Leary/Paul Murphy, last shot, for €1,200. Sean O’Leary defeated John Donnellan in a return, one bowl, for €1,700; Cellie and Gearoid Spillane defeated Declan and Jack O’Leary last shot, for €880 and Denis Connolly/Noel Hegarty defeated Mark Long/Bernard O’Donovan, last shot, for €1,200. Also here, Cellie/Gearoid Spillane defeated Mark Long/Tony Dunlea, last shot, for €1,000; Paul Walsh defeated Bernard O’Donovan last shot for €800; Paul Walsh defeated Bernard O’Donovan last shot for €1,400 as. John Donnellan/Jeremy Downey defeated Stephen Bowen/Tom Connolly last shot, for €1,700.


In Gaeltacht novice E at Baile Bhuirne, Jack Lynch won from Finbarr Buckley for a €500 total while, in the same category in North Cork, Firmount hosted the meeting of John Buckley and Alan McMahon. Buckley took the verdict here for a €740 total. Back the road, Aughabullogue’s free-scoring dual county medallist Matthew Bradley was in action and left it late to score a win over Adrian O’Connor for a €1,000 total. O’Connor was leading all the way to the last shots before Bradley found his groove to hit the winner.


Bowling’s annual Ard Chomhairle meeting between governing bodies north and south reflected on a largely successful 2023 for both bodies with primary goals, the completion of extensive championship programmes in both jurisdictions, including the staging of three All-Ireland series, all achieved satisfactorily. Held at The Maldron Hotel, Dublin, Bol Chumann’s representatives were Honorary Secretary, Michéal O’Ceallacháin and Treasurer, James O’Driscoll while Bol Chumann Uladh’s spokesmen were chair, Chris Mallon and Honorary Secretary, Pat O’Hagan. Mr. Mallon thanked specifically the large group of Cork bowlers who travelled to Eglish in February to participate in their Associations youth development fund-raisers. A sum of £3,365 was raised. Chris sought and was granted permission to host a similar event at Madden on February ¾ 2024. He said the standard of bowling at the inter-provincial youth’s team event at Newcastle, Co. Dublin, early in the year was heartening and showed the importance of youth development. He congratulated all the Ulster champions with special mention for Thomas Mackle who, he said, ‘completed the Grand Slam’ of bowling in 2023 winning, All-Ireland senior, King of the Roads, Joe McVeigh Cup at Bol Fada and the Joe O’Sullivan Acorn Life Cup at Castletownbere. At his conclusion, Chris thanked ‘all the bowlers North and South for keeping the sport alive and well, also he praised both Executives who work well together for the betterment of the sport.’ On Bol Chumann’s behalf, Michéal O’Ceallacháin responded in kind outlining the extensive championship programme undertaken by his Association and the successes achieved by its top performers. He said the registration and grading of players for 2024 was almost complete.

Discussions were held re the forthcoming European Championships. As well as the larger Cork contingent, Bol Chumann Ard Mhaca will have one team place in both youths’ teams, two in senior ladies and two senior men. The grading of players in certain categories was contentious. Bol Chumann Ard Mhaca felt strongly that those in junior A or higher should not participate in veteran and vintage as it leads to mis-matches in the All-Ireland series. There was discussion too on the junior C grade which some felt was not adding to the novice All-Ireland weekend and should be included within the premier series in July and August. It was proposed that for the 2025 season, a team event (teams of 3) would replace the junior C championship at the September event. The proposals will be discussed by respective Executive committees in the coming months.


Next weekend sees the second hosting of the Eamonn Bowen (Sen) memorial. Bottlehill in the North East division will be the Mecca for a two-day event that has seven scores on the clar. Feature of course are the contest for the Eamonn Bowen Memorial Cup and last years winner, Martin Coppinger is ready to defend in Sunday’s three-way decider against the winners of two premier grade singles scores on Saturday. Throwing off first at 10.00am are Michael Harrington and Pa Flood and this is followed by a return novice set-to between Stephen Bown and Declan O’Leary. The winner of Seamus Sexton and Gary Daly will provide Coppinger’s second rival on Sunday and they hit the road at 1.00. A good junior clash completes Saturday’s programme when Stephen Murphy and Willie O’Donnell take issue. Prior to the senior final on Sunday which has a 1.30 throw-off time, intermediates Eamonn Bowen (Jun) and Wayne Callanan renew acquaintances followed by an interesting junior clash involving Johnny O’Driscoll and John O’Donoghue. The organisers encourage support for their weekend which also acts as a fund-raiser for Irish Cancer Society for Cancer Research


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