The overall 2020 vintage play-off, Ból Chumann's Ladies Championships, action from Lyre with Mullins vs Creedon along with the rest of the weekends action
Steadiness at the tiller is a trait that has stood Gaeltacht’s Michéal O’Ceallachan well over a turbulent six-month period and it was there in spades as he secured the Donal Moynahin Shield at Beal na mBlath on Sunday last. The 2020 overall vintage play-off was a three-way affair and had an exciting finale after A section winner Jimmy Collins from Union Hall put down a testing marker for the Ballyvourney man who had lost valuable ground with a poor second last. O’Ceallachain held his nerve, splitting the sop with an excellent response to become the first from the region to win the P J Lehane sponsored shield since Jerh D O’Connor won the inaugural vintage championship in 1985. Grenagh’s Joe Walsh as section C winner was very much the underdog but gave it a right go matching his rivals in the €1,200 total stake and holding his more fancied opponents to just the fore bowl lead beyond half-way. Collins made the first break with a super shot through ‘Bradfield’s cross’ but undid his good work with a misplayed thirteenth. O’Cealllacháin, who, since his appointment on August 24 last, is capably filling the honorary secretarial role with Bol Chumann na hEireann, won back the lead with a brilliant thirteenth and was on the cusp of victory until a miscue with his second last left him virtually level with the Union Hall man as the finish line beckoned. Collins’ fine last attempt was not enough. Back the road at Beal na mBlath another remnant from pre-covid times was concluded. An inter-regional U21 competition was down to the final stages before the pandemic hit and, on Sunday last, the spoils went to Mid Cork who were represented by Newcestown’s James Kelleher and Crossbarry’s Kevin Wall. Carbery’s Mark Shannon, Brahalish, and Shane McCarthy, Reenascreena, had early chances but, when Kelleher and Wall hit four of the finest up to the finish point by ‘Murphy’s palms’, the winner’s prize was always heading for the Mid division.
Delegates at the February meeting were given an outline on the programme of events for the 16th European Championships which will be hosted by the German bowling association Verband Schleswig-Holsteiner Bosler (VSHB) at its headquarters in Meldorf in the third week of May. With the selection process complete Bol Chumann teams are in readiness and will be well-prepared for what promises to be a gruelling three days of competition. Following the arrival of the five competing teams (Bol Chumann, VSHB, NKB Holland, FKV, also Germany, ABIS, Italy) and supporters via Hamburg airport on Wednesday, May 25, there will a practice session on the bowling road at Suderhastedt on Thursday followed in the afternoon by the parade of competing nations and official opening at Meldorfer City Hall. Competitions begin on Friday 27 with the Dutch Moors event at Kaltenhorn starting with youth’s boys at 9.00am. Girls follow at 10.00am with senior women at 11.00am and senior men at 12.50pm. The winner’s presentation ceremony will take place on the competition grounds at 5.30pm. A similar timeframe will pertain for the German Loft discipline in Meldorf Stadium on Saturday May 28 and for the big one for the Irish, the Road Bowling event at Suderhastedt on Sunday. The Associations depart for home on Monday May 30.
Ból Chumann’s ladies’ championships are again sponsored by Lowney’s Jeweller’s Clonakilty and promise some intense competition for senior and intermediate titles. With the departure of defending senior champion, Carmel Ryan, retired, the battle for the Brendan Roche Cup will involve six well-matched contenders. Meghan Collins, so close on three occasions, could well achieve outright honours in ’22, but the inexorable rise up the ranks of Hannah Sexton will take some stopping. Rosscarbery’s duo, Maria Nagle and Emma Fitzpatrick are in the frame while last year’s runner-up, Veronica O’Mahony will look to go one step further. Kealkil’s Claire O’Sullivan is, since her breakthrough intermediate success in 2014, almost always within a score of a final spot and 2022 could well be her year. The womens intermediate shoot-out could well be one of the championships of the year. Fourteen start here and, although the format has yet to be finalised, a host of thrilling engagements are guaranteed. Contesting are; Ciara Buckley, Mallow, runner-up last year; Louise Collins, Dunmanway, winner of the grade in 2004; Gretta Cormican, Lyre who needs no introduction; Aoife Creedon, Ballyvourney, last year’s junior winner; Hannah Cronin, Togher Cross, the only one from the grade selected on Bol Chumann’s senior team for Germany; Louise Daly, Shannonvale; Drinagh’s Julianne Hayes; Lisa Hegarty, Lyre; Emma Hickey, Durrus; Bernadette Murphy, Brinny; Denise Murphy, Ballinagree; Juliette Murphy, Donoughmore; Chloe O’Halloran, Innishannon and Helen Whyte, Reenascreena.
Two of bowling’s great warriors faced off at Lyre on Saturday last and produced a good competitive joust for a €5,000 stake. Christy Mullins and John Creedon, both recently re-graded to junior, are in the twilight of careers that has seen them perform at the highest level and they matched each other pretty well until Mullins fired a fourth from the old days to rise a hundred metre lead. It was the catalyst for him to rise a big bowl of odds lead around ‘Crowley’s corner’. The Bantry man needed that cushion as Creedon finished with three massive shots. The lead was well under the bowl of odds as they faced the line, but Mullins held on to win it with a big final cast.
In a three-way all City tournament shoot-out at Whitechurch on Saturday, Cian Boyle came good taking the spoils from Trevor O’Meara and Michael O’Donoghue. Back here, Finbarr Ross got the better of former intermediate, Michael O’Leary, two bowls, for €1,000. On Sunday at Whitechurch, Denis Murphy and Shane Collins has a win each from two scores both last shot and both for €1,600 totals. On a busy Sunday at Beal na mBlath the second of the novice 1 three-way tournament scores saw Kinsale’s Anthony Broderick overcome Michael Desmond and David Hegarty, both last shot for a combined €3,300. In the last of the day at Beal na mBlath, Cill na Martra’s Desmond got the nod over Lyre’s Hegarty for a €1,400 total. At Ballinacurra, Upton, Clon’s Johnny O’Driscoll continued on a good run of form with victory over David Buckley, one bowl, for a €4,000 total. Uibh Laoire stalwart Darren Kelly has had a busy few weeks on the bowling roads. In action again last Sunday at Ballyvourney he overcame north Cork’s Darragh Kiely in the last shot for €2,000. On a good day for the locals, Paudie Murphy defeated Sean Kiely, last shot also for €2,000.
At Jagoe’s Mills, Kinsale’s Declan O’Donovan won two from two with City’s Terry McKenzie, last shot and one bowl for stakes of €900 and €740. Two cracking scores at Newcestown saw local, Mark Courtney and Kevin Murphy, Dunmanway, engage. For a €2,100 total, Courtney won the outward tournament joust in the last shot of a score that produced excellent bowling. The pair renewed hostilities for a second time in another humdinger back the road for a €1,200 total. Murphy this time got the upper hand again in the last shot. At Grange Denis O’Sullivan (City) came from a bowl down to defeat West Cork junior B champion, Adrian Buttimer, almost a bowl for €4,100. In a womens league score at Castletownkennigh Gretta Cormican got the better of another sporting icon, Juliette Murphy in the last shot of a good contest.
Bowling’s current championship season is about to begin. Regions throughout have confirmed a significant increase in affiliations for 2022, a welcome development but one that will entail increased pressure on deadlines with two new championships in the novice sector now added to the annual programme.
West Cork begin this coming weekend with a Ballinacarriga novice B meeting of Alan Keane and Seamus O’Sullivan while novice B winner from 2021, Sean O’Leary from Bantry faces a tough opening defence when he pitches up against Dunmanway’s Peter Kelly at The Clubhouse on the following Sunday. West Cork’s 2021 championship is close to completion. On Sunday last at Drimoleague the Bantry bandwagon rolled on as Brendan Burke became the third from the west to annex a winner’s prize in successive weeks. Following in the footsteps of Sean O’Leary and Tim Young, Burke took the novice D title after a one bowl victory over Timmy Roberts, Casteldonovan, who had lit up the championship with a series of spectacular performances in the earlier rounds. Playing out from the village, Burke, took a bowl lead to the ‘no-play’ lines, but faced a resurgent Roberts over the closing half. The lead came well under the bowl, but Burke stayed steady and took the spoils. They played for a total of €3,600. In the novice A semi-final at Ardcahan, Diarmuid Hurley defeated James O’Driscoll (Ahakeera) by a bowl of odds and will play in the decider. In a junior C semi-final at The Clubhouse, James Lordan won from Noel O’Regan and will play Sean O’Regan in this weekend’s final at Durrus.
Mid Cork are heading for a busy season. Junior A has an interesting line up and the draw is as follows. (A) John Shorten v Stephen Desmond at Jagoe’s Mills; Quarterfinals, Denis Wilmot v Sean Murphy at Templemartin; Aidan Desmond v Dan O’Halloran at Ballinacurra; John Shorten or Stephen Desmond v David O’ Mahony at Castletownkenneigh; Tom O’Donovan v Kieran Murphy at Newcestown. There’s a whopping seventy-one starters in Mid Cork’s novice D championship. Some further championships form 2021 were concluded in Mid Cork last weekend. At Templemartin in girls U16 sisters Ciara and Rosin Allen battled out a fine decider with Ciara emerging the winner. At Castletownkenneigh in the junior ladies’ final Martina Foley won from Mary Ann O’Donovan.