Focus returns to domest
ic events as regional and county round scores advance championships in all grades. Wednesday night’s June Executive meeting heard words of praise and congratulation for all who helped with the European Championship effort. The selected teams who gave so much both in preparation in the lead up and in performances, often under trying conditions, in Germany, came in for special commendation. On the agenda too were draws for the concluding rounds of the senior and intermediate men’s championships and they have thrown up a variety of interesting clashes. The senior championship semi-final line-up has the winner of Martin Coppinger/Eamonn Bowen taking on either Michael Bohane or James O’Donovan at Templemartin with Arthur McDonagh or Gary Daly meeting Seamus Sexton/Aidan Murphy at Ballyvourney or Whitechurch in the second penultimate round score. The county intermediate final at Ballincurrig was assured of Bantry representation when Donal O’Riordan and Tim Young were paired in one semi-final and the long-time friends and clubmates duly played it out on their home road on Sunday evening. A wholesome battle ensued before a sizable gathering. O’Riordan, well into his second decade in the grade, retains the raw power that has brought him success on many occasions, and it was evident in magnificent second and third shots as he opened an early gap. After a couple of fine wins in his debut year, Young showed plenty too particularly with a super effort to ‘Casey’s’ that looked like making it a level contest. O’Riordan countered though with a brilliant ninth and it maintained a valuable sixty metre advantage as they headed to the home stretch. Young had a chance still with two to go, but O’Riordan’s tightly cut last beat the finish mark to book a final spot. A county finalist also in 2011 and 2017, O’Riordan will be hoping to make it third time lucky when he takes on either Patrick Flood or Wayne Calnan in the late June decider at Ballincurrig. Championship action continued apace right through the European Championship weekend and one high profile shoot-out was Calnan’s victory over Andrew O’Callaghan in the last quarterfinal at Clondrohid.
Ballincurrig host the concluding rounds of the Lowney’s Jewellers sponsored Women’s senior championship. On Thursday June 16 Hannah Sexton plays Meghan Collins while on the following Sunday June 19, at 11.00am, Marie Nagle plays Veronica O’Mahony. Both will be played on the inward route starting at ‘O’Connell’s green’.
The county rounds of the Junior A championship are an annual highlight, and this year should be no exception. Two quarterfinal round scores at the weekend brought wins for Gaeltacht’s John Creedon and Mid Cork’s Tom O’Donovan. In the rain at Bantry on Saturday, Ballyvourney’s Creedon showed glimpses of why he was a leading contender in senior ranks for over a decade. In against David Shannon, the Carbery champion, the former U16 All-Ireland winner made light of the conditions with a power-packed display that had him with a two-bowl advantage well before the finish. Skibb man, Shannon came with high expectation after his barnstorming regional final victory at The Marsh Road, but this was not his day. He won the opening exchange with a fine cast to ‘Sweeney’s’ but got no purchase on a second shot that whipped left off an inside play. Shannon did not do a lot wrong in the next exchanges, but Creedon’s fourth and fifth to the ‘farm entrance’ were exceptional. A big bowl of odds separated them at half-way and there was no way back for Shannon after Creedon lined a powerful eighth shot. The played for a €3,500 total with the Carbery man the punters favourite. John Creedon will now pitch up at The Clubhouse for a county semi-final clash with Mid Cork’s Tom O’Donovan.
The youthful Belgooly exponent is surely battle hardened having come through another tough engagement when getting the better of North Cork’s David Hubbard at Ballyvourney on Sunday. O’Donovan, who had last shot victories in his Mid Cork regional final over Sean Murphy and in a preliminary county round shoot-out with London’s Patrick O’Driscoll in the days leading up to his departure from Germany with the Irish team, showed no ill effects from his exertions in the Moors and German Loft disciplines as he scorched the testing Gaeltacht road in twelve excellent shots. Hubbard is a formidable opponent and matched O’Donovan in the early exchanges until a searing fifth shot from the Mid Cork champion at ‘Roche’s wall’ put daylight between them. O’Donovan looked like extending his lead, but Hubbard closed in with a huge cast at the novice line. The North Cork champion needed another big one, but it didn’t come, and O’Donovan came home a big bowl of odds winner. They played for a €3,500 total.
On the other side of the draw, Cian Boyle, the City champion will play Denis O’Driscoll who carries the West Cork banner in a quarterfinal at Newcestown this weekend. Boyle eliminated East Cork’s standard-bearer in the second preliminary round contest at Glenabo on European Championship weekend. In the last of the quarterfinals South-West’s Alex O’Donovan will take on North Easts Tim McDonagh at Jagoe’s Mills. Also, at Ballyvourney in a preliminary county round U18 score, City’s Anthony Crowley got the better of North Cork’s Jamie Kelleher. Jamie, a member of Bol Chumann’s youths team in Germany, bowled a fine score except for a lapse in accuracy on two occasions. The strong City contender took advantage and won by the bowl. Anthony Crowley will play Gaeltacht’s Cillian Kelleher in the county quarterfinal at Beal na mBlath.
West Cork’s Daniel O’Sullivan from Knockduff is going great guns in U14. Daniel won a highly competitive regional final from Ballineen’s Shane Coughlan on the Inch road, Dunmanway and followed with victory over Mid Cork’s fine champion, Adam Barr, in the county quarterfinal at Lyre on Friday. Three outstanding opening shots got Daniel on his way here. In U12 at Bantry, Oisin Murray won from Timmie Gibbons; Conor Hourihane won from Eoghan Hickey, and Patrick Crowley won from Brian Murphy. At the other end of the age-bracket, Michael Carroll is through to the novice veteran’s final by virtue of his victory over Connie Connolly at Togher Cross. Patsy O’Sullivan is next up for the Gloun man. A high-octane novice B quarterfinal at Ardcahan saw Alan Brickley come from a long way back to oust last year’s winner, Sean O’Leary. The upgraded Brickley now has a semi-final with Brian O’Driscoll at Ballinacarriga. James Hurley got the better of Seamus O’Regan at Bantry and will meet Padraigh O’Sullivan who got over a tough hurdle in Vincent Healy, as the championship comes to a close.
Joshua Murphy, son of senior standard bearer, David, was a big winner in Mid Cork during the week. A thrilling U18 final at Ballinacurra had him up against Kinsale’s Ronan O’Donovan. Three big openers by O’Donovan to the ‘main road’ set a high standard. Murphy reeled in early deficit and won by the fore bowl. Denis O’Sullivan is South-West junior B champion for 2022. A newcomer to the grade, O’Sullivan defeated Johnny O’Driscoll in Friday night’s final at Lyre. O’Sullivan’s massive opening shot was the catalyst for his rising almost a bowl lead in the shots from ‘McCarthy’s bend’. He held off O’Driscoll’s late rally and will play the North-East winner in the county quarterfinal at Carrigaline. In a novice C quarterfinal at Grange, Darren Harrington won from Ethan De Burca. In the Gaeltacht division, Ballyvourney are hosts to the novice A championship. A big semi-final set-to here saw former under-age champions Michael Desmond and Colm McLoughlin go head-to-head. Desmond came through a hard-fought duel and will play Freddie Scannell in the decider. Former Pike man, Freddie, got a walk-over in his semi-final when Terelton’s Danny Twomey was forced to withdraw through injury.
West Cork’s regional fund-raisers were well supported at The Clubhouse with multitudes of scores over five days including the Bank Holiday weekend. David Horgan blazed a trail on Thursday evening when getting the better of Carbery’s Colm Crowley. Horgan’s bowling for the road was first class. In the return on Thursday, two long-time adversaries, Tim Cahalane and Deccie O’Mahony engaged, and it was Cahalane who prevailed on this occasion, winning by a bowl for a stake of €2,100. Friday’s scores included a win for Clon’s John O’Driscoll over Pat Daly, but Saturday’s rain put a dampener on proceedings with the day’s bowling cancelled after the opening score. That morning score was a lively encounter between two of the best from the game’s younger generation. Jack O’Callaghan and Alan Brickley have been making waves in their respective Mid and West regional novice championships and the duo served up a sparkling contest for a €3,800 total stake. Brickley was in all sorts of trouble after a misplay at ‘O’Brien’s corner’ left him well over a bowl down. O’Callaghan’s opening four were spot on and he seemed to be heading for an easy victory throwing odds with the bowl back of ‘Dineen’s lane’. Brickley stuck with it and lined a magnificent sequence that not only wiped out the deficit but yielded a handy thirty metre advantage for the closing stages. He was still in front for the last shots but, in another twist, O’Callaghan snatched victory with a last shot almost defied belief. Brickley missed by thirty.
The feature of the weekend was the joust between Paul Buckley and Wayne Parkes. Clon youth, Parkes, although out of the junior A championship is considered a match for most intermediates as the total stake of €9,320 testifies. He didn’t quite produce it on Sunday as Buckley’s opening three came close to sight at ‘O’Brien’s’ putting big yardage between them at an early stage in the score. Parkes was facing an uphill battle for the remainder of the score. Buckley did little wrong in holding his bowl of odds lead to the end. A couple of doubles on Monday morning saw honours even as the West Cork pairing of Martin O’Donovan and Donal O’Mahony shared wins with Mid Cork’s Deccie O’Mahony and P J McCarthy. The stakes at issue were €3,000 and €4,000.