Includes a report from Ból Chumann's annual convention which was held at The Munster Arms Hotel along with all the regional action from scores across the weekend
Ból Chumann’s Convention held at The Munster Arms, Hotel, Bandon, on November 30 heard reports covering 2020/21. For chairman, Michael Brennan, it was a first AGM since replacing Susan Greene at the 2019 Convention. In his address, the Chairman said it had been a difficult period on many fronts, but he remained focused on leading the Association through its next stage which will span the 70th anniversary of is founding. The new Strategic Plan which the Chairman launched at the beginning of the meeting will provide a roadmap for the way forward. It is ambitious, aspirational and will entail involvement of volunteers from all sectors. Its Strategic Pillars are 1. Structure, 2. Development, 3. Promotion. Under these aims it is planned to get the foundations of the sport best structured in terms of Governance and Finance to have a solid base for future stability and growth in place. It plans to put the Development of the sport at the heart of what we do, particularly through coaching and the setting up of under-age structures, the womens game and providing further opportunities to play. The Association plans to promote the sport to a wider audience, whilst also protecting the heritage of the sport and building stakeholder relationships. The meeting endorsed the Strategic Plan and implementation will begin immediately.
The meeting was well-attended and represented a strong show of solidarity among regions and clubs with those currently in leadership roles. Michael Brennan’s first address was stark in its content as he outlined events over the past two years. ‘The past two years have been very difficult for the Association’ he said, ‘with events being cancelled, bowling being suspended due to Covid 19, arbitration cases, protests, internal problems caused by non-compliance with Executive decisions, cancellation of the 2020 Internationals, attacks on social media, illegal bowling and having to suspend players. We have come out the other side a stronger and more united Association. Bowling has resumed, the 2020 All-Ireland series was completed, team trials have been held for the Internationals in 2022 in Germany, the Strategic Plan has been launched. A new Code of Governance is being worked on. We as an Association can look forward to 2022 with renewed enthusiasm and vigour. I thank you the delegates for all your efforts at whatever level you are at within the Association’.
New Honorary Secretary, Michéal O’Ceallachain, report was constrained by not having documents from the pervious Secretary at hand. He said the completion of the three 2020 All-Ireland series was a significant achievement for the Association.
Treasurer, James O’Driscoll gave a full and comprehensive report on the finances of the Association assisted by Edmund Neville C/O Christy Naughton, Certified Accountants. There were two sets of accounts for 2020 and 2021. Edmund Neville certified that the Treasurers reports were correct and complied with all the regulations and were correct in detail. The 2020 Statement of Accounts were proposed by Pat O Sullivan and seconded by Teddy Bradley, the 2021 Statement of accounts were proposed by Denis Kelly and seconded by Jerome Casey. P.R.O. Pat McCarthy read a review of the Associations activities spanning the two-year period which again detailed the successful All-Ireland and King of the Roads series. His report referenced the Covid impact, administrative difficulties and the unsavoury consequences of online misuse. The passing of some of bowling’s former greats during 2020/21 was acknowledged too.
The election of officers saw some changes. Willie Murphy, North Cork is new vice-chairman succeeding Carbery’s Pat O’Sullivan who has capably filled the role since 2002. Pat’s involvement at administrative level dates from the late sixties when he became secretary of Cahermore Bowling Cub. He served with the West Cork Bowling Association and has been ever-present with Carbery division since its inception in 1987. Pat has served Bol Chumann as youth officer, Honorary Secretary (1996-1999) as well as his tenure as vice-chair. His 28 years of service was acknowledged with a warm round of applause by the delegates present. Fixtures Secretary, Harry Jennings, is also departing and is another with a long and distinguished period of service. Harry has had an administrative input that spans five decades having attended his first convention as a delegate in 1968. He was, of course, one of those who made the inaugural trip to Holland in 1969 when the European Championship series was set in motion. Harry has served as an officer with Cottage Road, The Miles and Shannonvale bowling clubs and as fixtures secretary for the South-West region. He assumed the demanding role of Association Fixtures secretary in 2001 when succeeding John Cronin. James O’Driscoll spoke glowingly of the service Harry has given to the bowling game. He had he said, ‘the patience of Job but always, when problems were solved, had a wry smile and an understanding that getting the championship season completed needed great forbearance’. A successor to Harry was not appointed at the meeting. The remaining officers were unanimously re-elected. Those serving for 2022 are, President, Liam O’Keefe, Chairman, Michael Brennan, Vice chair, Willie Murphy, Honorary Secretary, Michéal O’Ceallacháin, Treasurer, James O’Driscoll, Registrar, Billy McAuliffe, P.R.O. Pat McCarthy, Youths Officer, David Murphy.
Lively debate followed the introduction of motions from regions. An East Cork motion urging that in a ‘called bowl’ situation, the shorter of the two or three throws be the marked down tip was contested on many fronts and was defeated. A Carbery motion that all novice grades be played out to county final stage was carried while another from East Cork that Bol Chumann set-up its own independent alternative disciplinary structure and withdraw from SDSI received overwhelming support. The Connaught region who were represented by David Hughes and Joe Sheridan had motions in relating to the participation of U12 and U14 grades boys and girls, in the All-Ireland series. An alternative motion allowing for the setting up in conjunction with Bol Chumann Ard Mhacha, of a special under-age All-Ireland weekend series, was deemed satisfactory to Connaught while the new Three Year Strategy covered further motions proposing expansion and development. It was also agreed that zoom facilities would be in place for future conventions.
Denis O’Driscoll won his first round West Cork junior A tie at Drinagh defeating Muiris Buttimer by a bowl for a €2,000 total. Playing out, O’Driscoll’s massive cast from ‘the pond’ was the catalyst for this victory. It gave him a lead of almost two that stood him in good stead as Buttimer found his best form in the latter half of the score. O’Driscoll plays Peter Murray in the semi-final. Also, at Drinagh in junior ladies, Rachel Kingston and Marie Russell had a titanic battle that ebbed and flowed throughout. Rachel shaded it in the final throw. In novice A at Togher Cross, Finbarr Lynch defeated Paul Kingston and at Kealkil in B, David O’Brien defeated James Hurley. The return to Inch bowling necessitated by road works at Derrinasafa, will evoke memories of a venue that was a Mecca for bowling followers of a certain generation. Scores in their thousands were played there in the sixties and seventies and among the popular campaigners of the time were Tiger Hurley, Tom McCarthy, Jerry O’Driscoll and Jerry Dwyer. Three 2021 West Cork championship scores were played at Inch on Sunday. Randal’s ace,
Padraigh O’Sullivan turned in a good display to defeat Danny Horgan in U18 boys, Teegan Hurley edged out Shauna Kehily in junior ladies and also in junior ladies Eirinn O’Donovan won from Kate Murray. In U16 girls at Drimoleague, Niamh O’Connell won from Clara O’Driscoll; Emer O’Connell won from Kimi Bosna. At Drimoleague too in the novice D semi-final, Brendan Burke defeated Adrian Cronin in the last shot. Remaining on the other side are Michael Collins, Ciaran Murray and Timmy Roberts.
There was an extraordinary finish to the Mid Cork junior B final at Beal na mBlath as Kenneth Murphy salvaged a last shot win from a score in which he was on the back foot for much of the way. Brendan O’Neill was throwing odds at the novice line but didn’t hammer home his advantage. He still had the bones of a bowl close to the line but Murphy’s big last one yielded victory when O’Neill missed his tip from an advantageous stand. Another big one in Mid Cork was at Dunderrow where the novice D decider had Michael Hickey, Templemartin, and Fionn Dwyer, Belgooly, fighting it out for the Des Murphy Cup. Hickey made a good start with a big opening shot to sight and, when he lined a huge fourth to the top of the hill, he was almost a bowl to the good as the rain descended. In tough conditions, Dwyer rallied well but could not quite close the gap enough to threaten Hickey’s lead. When Dwyer’s thirteenth caught the ‘water’, the Templemartin man was able to consolidate his lead and the cup was Hickey’s after a big one round the last bend. They played for a total of €12,000.
In the vintage grade at Leap, B category, Donal Harnedy defeated Donal O’Sullivan by a bowl and will play John Murphy in the semi-final. Pat Joe Connolly is still going strong having come from a bowl down to deny Harry Russell for a €1,100 total. Michéal O’Ceallacháin is next up for Pat Joe in the second semi. In vintage C, Tom O’Donovan defeated Jim Walsh at Ballinacarriga and will play John Tringle in the next round. Also, in section C at Castletownkenneigh, Teddy Murphy defeated Jerry Connolly, last shot, for €900. At Whitechurch in vintage C, Joe Walsh defeated Thade Murphy.
In club action, Rosscarbery’s Micheal O’Sullivan got the better of Ger O’Driscoll at Lyre, last shot, for €2,000 and at Grange, north Cork’s, David Hubbard defeated Clon’s Alex O’Donovan by two bowls, for €4,600. In a big money clash at Ballinacurra, Upton, on Saturday, Patrick Coffey defeated Mick Gould, last shot, for €14,000.