There was a good turnout for the Association’s International fund-raising scores played out at a selection of venues around the county over the Bank Holiday weekend. A big-name opener at Shannonvale on Saturday morning provided an ideal starting point and it lived up to its billing as Martin Coppinger and James O’Donovan, international teammates in a few weeks’ time, served up a contest to savour. After a blistering start by Coppinger whose four openers had him close to sight at the ‘quarry’ and just thirty metres short of a bowl of odds ahead, O’Donovan found his groove, thanks in the main to a sweetly pitched fifth shot and levelled it in seven each to ‘Desmond’s’. A super effort on the rise had the Bandonian in the ascendancy to the tune of sixty metres but his lead was short lived as Coppinger fired an explosive ninth to ‘Kingston’s lane’ and he regained control with a cracking twelfth to ‘Campbell’s’. O’Donovan was defiant keeping it under the bowl for a while, but Coppinger’s record equalling fifteen over the line ensured victory by the shot. The combined stake amounted to €13,000. Shannonvale was good to the fund-raising effort and another towering performance came from Wayne Parkes who defeated Tim Young by two for an €8,200 total. The Clon man’s bowling matched that of Coppinger as he strode to a bowl lead after eight. He eventually won by close to two. There was a thrilling comeback win for the Shannon’s Sidney and Mark in a return doubles. The Carbery men were a bowl and big odds down after three shots to John Connolly and Ronan O’Donovan but recovered, mainly through a series of brilliant efforts from the elder, Sidney, to forge a last shot win for an €8,600 stake. These are just three of a six-score programme at Shannonvale and all results are in the Carbery section. Ballinacurra,
Upton, also had a six-score schedule on Saturday and it was Newcestown’s Ger O’Driscoll and Gaeltacht’s Conor Creedon who set proceedings in motion with a competitive set-to for a €5,200 total. Both were at their best throwing brilliant shots to the ‘gas line’, but from there, O’Driscoll gained control and rose a bowl of odds at the ‘silvery gates’. It was a lead he held to the finish. The Gaeltacht men were in the winner’s enclosure in the return when Anthony Lynch got the better of Mark Courtney for a €2,500 total. Lynch won it by the bowl of odds. Shane Collins then defeated Jim Coffey (Jun) by a bowl for €2,200 and Michael Desmond defeated Mickey McAuliffe in the last shot for €3,400. At the end of the day, John A Murphy Templemartin scored a double defeating North Cork’s Simon O’Connell for stakes of €1,600 and €600.
Bauravilla’s hosting on Sunday was another big crowd puller and the four scores played yielded two notable wins for players from the host region. In the opening score of the day Darragh Dempsey became the first to put a dent in John Young’s recent unblemished record on the road when he defeated the dual John Joe Murphy Cup winner by a bowl of odds. For a €4,600 total it was hard-fought as the lead changed hands in the shots to ‘Robin’s cross’ and on to the ‘rock’. At this juncture, Young held a narrow lead, but his form deteriorated somewhat in the bowling to the ‘bridge’. His shot from ‘the railing’s’ got no traction and Dempsey took his chance lining a powerful drive to the ‘bridge wall’ that gave him valuable leeway for the last quarter. The Skibb youth went on to rise a bowl of odds and held it to the finish. Back the road there was sweet revenge for Denis O’Sullivan, Caheragh, as he got the better of Jim Coffey for a €6,200 total. Coffey had the better of their last meeting at Reenascreena, but O’Sullivan, from arrears in the early stages, put in a blistering finish to win their latest duel by a bowl of odds. Diarmuid Hurley and David Hegarty contested the third of the day for a whopping €12,200 and it was very much the Togher Cross man’s way in the early stages. Hegarty got little going with his opening shots and trailed by a big bowl of odds at ‘the rock’. Hurley was consistent as he threatened to extend his lead before a thrilling Hegarty comeback made for an exciting finish. Knocking odds with every throw in the shots from the ‘bridge’, Hegarty nearly pulled it out of the fire, but his final effort veered that little bit right, and Hurley held on to win with his final cast. A level tips finish is a rarity in bowling but that is what transpired at the end of see-saw battle between Denis Buckley and Martin O’Donovan. The one-shot throw off resulted in victory for Buckley. They played for a total of €4,440.
Clubhouse fixtures on Bank Holiday Monday were transferred to Derrinasafa and the feature here involved intermediate graded Brian Wilmot, also on the team for Germany, and Bantry’s Donal O’Riordan. For a €9,000 total, it was a tight affair all the way to ‘Walshe’s lane’ at which point O’Riordan held a five-metre lead. Brian Wilmot fired the score winning shot from here lining one of the best seen up to the novice line and it gave him a bowl of odds lead at a vital juncture. O’Riordan did his best to claw back ground in the remaining shots but to no avail. Sidney Shannon showed all his warrior-like qualities in eking out a last shot win from his battle with James Hurley in Monday’s opening score at Derrinasafa. Recovering from a slow start, the Ahakista man lined big shots to ‘Nattie’s’ where he took a first lead after five. He defiantly held the front despite a few admirable attempts by Hurley. They played for a total of €8,000. Down the road there was a re-run of the Bauravila clash of the previous day when Martin O’Donovan and Denis Buckley resumed hostilities. For a €5,000 stake it was another belter as O’Donovan stormed home a bowl of odds winner thanks to five exceptional efforts from ‘darkwood turn’.
North Cork club, Beal an Morrive were active too and on Friday here in an international fund-raiser, Tom O’Donovan and David Hubbard engaged for a €4,400 total and in a return here, Brian Collins defeated David Crowley, last shot, for €3,600. Clondrohid also had a packed programme on Bank Holiday Monday.
Wayne Parkes, in such splendid form at Shannonvale on Saturday, joins a few notable contenders who have bowed out of the 2022 junior A title race without even reaching the later stages of their divisional campaigns. P J Cooney in East Cork, Davy Fitzgerald, North-East, Trevor O’Meara, in the City and now the defending South-West and All-Ireland U18 champion, Parkes, after an unexpected loss to Alex O’Donovan at Ballygurteen on Wednesday, have all been eliminated. O’Donovan, a former champion in the division too, bowled well to come from an early deficit and hind bowl for the last shot, to win by twenty metres in the final exchanges. Alex will play either Gavin Twohig or Jimmy O’Driscoll in the South-West decider. In the South-West junior B championship, a round-robin shoot-out, Johnny O’Driscoll defeated Darren Santry by a bowl to gain his second winning point in the series. For a €1,200 total, O’Driscoll’s good start had him well over a bowl up at ‘the tunnel’. At Shannonvale on Friday, Stephen O’Connell came from arrears to defeat Shane Nugent in the novice B championship.
The peerless Christy Mullins may have a say in 2022 junior A honours after a thrilling last shot victory over Denis O’Driscoll at Durrus on Friday evening. This West Cork junior A round-robin clash was the second for O’Driscoll after his win over Muiris Buttimer and he was already guaranteed a place in the decider, but a couple of mid-score lapses in this one here left him a bowl down to his Bantry rival. The closing stages though were fought in frenetic style as O’Driscoll rallied to bring it to a last shot. Both men fired superb second last shots and it was in the melting spot facing the line. O’Driscoll’s last cracked right, and Mullins won it just about after his reply got a false play too. They went for a €6,000 total and are almost certain to meet again before the outright West Cork winner is declared. A three-way U18 championship score at Durrus on Monday saw James Russell emerge with a hard-won victory from Garoid Cronin and Colin Arundel. In novice C at Kealkil, Jason Daly defeated Martin O’Donovan and in novice D at Derrinasafa, Kieran O’Driscoll did exceptional bowling in defeating Barry O’Donovan. At Bantry in the novice C championship, Con Collins defeated Barry O’Donovan.
At Ardcahan in U18 boys Andy O’Sullivan won from Paudie Crowley.
Sean Murphy is through to the Mid Cork junior A final after winning his penultimate round clash with David O’Mahony at Newcestown on Friday evening. A blazing start had Murphy two bowls to the good, but O’Mahony’s late surge saw him hit the line in three from ‘O’Brien’s bend’ to bring the margin under the bowl. They played for a €520 total. Murphy will play either Tom O’Donovan or Dan O’Halloran in the decider. In Castletownkenneigh in novice D, Michael Desmond won from John Madden and in novice A at the same venue, Paul Walsh won from Joe Madden.
In club scores during the week, Denis Murphy defeated Noel O’Donovan at Ballinacurra, Upton and at Whitechurch, in senior action, Gary Daly forged a narrow last win from Killian Kingston for a €1,600 stake.