Reports from the youth team finals at Newcastle, the West Cork Junior Ladies Final, Under 18 championship shoot-out at the Clubhouse, details of the latest bowling draws along with the rest of the weeks action
There may have been a chill in the air, but conditions were near perfect on Saturday last for the inter-provincial U12/U14 team finals on Lyons Road, Newcastle, Co. Dublin. The games upcoming stars produced thrills aplenty before an audience of almost two hundred with Munster (Cork’s) selections triumphing in three of the four categories. The competition evolved from a motion for Convention 2021 introduced by Mayo’s David Hughes which allows for larger participation from the lower under-age grades in an All-Ireland setting and, with support governing bodies north and south, the inaugural event proved a great success. To David’s credit, he brought teams to compete in three of the four classifications from his small bowling enclave in Aughagower near Westport and all contributed handsomely to a hugely enjoyable occasion. Boys U12 were first off and a wholesome battle developed here in the second score out between Ulster’s Josh O’Neill and Cork’s Ross O’Brien. O’Neill proved a star on the day coming tops in the individual rating for U12 boys and also playing a big part later on his provinces U14 team. Gaeltacht’s O’Brien tremendous showing brought his Cork side to the fore in the team event, and he was given massive support by teammates, Jack Allen and Tadg Hickey both Mid Cork and City’s Miles O’Connor. The final team standing s were Cork, 3,395.8 total; Ulster, 3,314.2; Connaught 2,245.7. Cork’s team were victors too in the U12 girls’ competition.
As in the trials, Chloe Hubbard, from Beal na Morrive was again in splendid form as she took the individual prize and led an impressive team comprised of Lily Twomey, Abbie McDonald and Anna Deane to a top place total of 2,542.2 metres. Ulster had 2.412.4 and Connaught 1,988.4. Ulster won a thrilling U14 boys shoot-out from a strong Cork line-up. Oisin Gribben, grandson of former Bol Chumann Ard Mhacha Chairman and Hon Secretary, Donald, won a stirring battle for the individual prize from Cork’s star, Ben Cooney. Josh O’Neill was again to the fore for Ulster as were, Paul Corr and Caolin Carr. Munster’s quartet, of Cooney from Dungourney, Skibb’s Tom McCarthy, Daniel O’Sullivan from Ardcahan and Bantry’s, Kevin Courtney who replaced Sean Cuinnea, gave their all but finished 200 metres back of their Ulster rivals on a score of 4,003.1 to 3,802.6. Cork’s U14 girls won another thriller from their Ulster counterparts with just thirteen metres separating the top two in this one. Darcy O’Brien, Gaeltacht, Laura Sexton, Timoleague, Sophie Murphy, Brinny, and Doireann Hurley, Manch, who replaced Niamh O’Sullivan, were all consistency personified in a tight affair in which Connaught also played their part. Ulster’s Anna Carson on 935.4 was the individual winner. The final tallies in girls U14 were, Munster 3.096.1; Ulster 2,993.7; Connaught 2,161.1. At the presentations in Baurnafea House, Rathcoole, Michael Brennan, Bol Chumann and Pat O’Hagan, Bol Chumann Ard Mhaca were fulsome in their praise of all who participated and made a contribution to the success of the event. There was a special word to the parents and families who turned up in such large numbers. The residents on Lyons road, so many of whom came to spectate and lend a hand too were also thanked.
The 2021 West Cork junior ladies’ final was on at Drinagh on Saturday and resulted in a one bowl win for Rachel Kingston from her Dunmanway opponent Eirinn O’Donovan. Rachel who has been making waves in under-age competitions and is on Bol Chumann’s U18 panel for Germany in May, rose a bowl of odds in the shots to the ‘blacksticks’. Eirinn’s late rally looked like making it a level score at ‘the pond’, but a big finish from Rachel regained her earlier advantage. In West Cork novice C at Ballinacarriga, 2021 D winner, Brendan Burke, got his new campaign off to a winning start with a narrow victory over Kieran O’Brien. In the same grade at Durrus, Corneilus O’Mahony defeated Kevin O’Sullivan, last shot, for €2,200 and Joseph O’Mahony defeated John O’Brien, one bowl, for €1,880. At Derrinasafa novice C, Conor O'Connell defeated Danny O'Donovan last shot and Derick Jagoe defeated Con O'Sullivan, two bowls, for €500. At Drinagh in novice D, Connie O’Driscoll defeated Adam Daly, two bowls, for €400 and at Ardcahan in the B grade, David O’Brien defeated J J Hurley, two bowls, for €1,080.
The Clubhouse hosted an exciting U18 championship shoot-out between Paudie Crowley and Sean Cronin. Having levelled after being a bowl down to Cronin’s good start, Crowley found himself forty behind again for the last shots but won the day with a super final effort. In Gaeltacht championships at Clondrohid novice C, Liam Young defeated Adrian O’Driscoll and in the D grade here, Denis O’Leary defeated D D McCarthy. At Ballyvourney on Saturday, in the novice C championship, Tim O’Riordan defeated James O’Leary. In a cracking U18 contest at Terelton, Ben Herlihy just edged Jack Lynch and in the C championship here, Peter Burns defeated Martin O’Connor. Mid Cork’s 2022 championships are up and running too. At Newcestown, in novice D, Mick O’Callaghan defeated Stephen Murphy, last shot and Eugene Courtney defeated Colm Dromey, last shot, for €1,700. In the same grade at Beal na mBlath Teddy Murphy defeated Ger O’Leary and William Allen defeated Pete Walsh.
Senior and intermediate draws herald a new championship season in earnest. For bowling’s elite a title at the top level is a career highpoint and there is no shortage of worthy contenders in the line-ups just announced. The senior men’s championship has eleven starters and while the big guns, defending champion, McDonagh, Coppinger, the Murphy’s, Daly and O’Donovan will be fancied more than some others, there is the potential for those outside that group to make a big impact as Seamus Sexton did in the 2020 campaign when reaching the semi-finals. Arthur McDonagh is handed a tough opening defence with 2016 champion, Killian Kingston, the opposition in a Whitechurch designated first round fixture.
There are two local derby first round clashes. Last years finalist, James O’Donovan, meets fellow Mid Cork contender, David Murphy who is going for his fifth Munster crown in a Beal na mBlath contest while north Cork rivals Seamus Sexton and the grades newcomer, 2020 intermediate champion, John O’Rourke play-off at Firmount. The full senior men’s draw for 2022 is Arthur McDonagh v Killian Kingston at Whitechurch; John O’Rourke v Seamus Sexton at Firmount; James O’Donovan v David Murphy at Beal na mBlath; Byes to Michael Bohane, Gary Daly, Eamonn Bowen, Martin Coppinger and Aidan Murphy.
The intermediate championship has its own intrigue. Pick of the first-round ties is the meeting Paul Buckley, Crossbarry, and Tim Young, Bantry. Grange is the venue with Buckley hoping to avoid an early exit similar to that suffered to Willie O’Donovan in the 2020 campaign while Young, the West Cork junior A champion, will be all out for a winning debut. Raymond Ryan versus Andrew O’Callaghan at Ballyvourney and an interesting duel between former senior champion, Edmund Sexton, and exceptionally talented newcomer from Fermoy, Patrick Flood, at Ballinacurrig are the other first round scores.
The full draw is, Round 1; Raymond Ryan v Andrew O’Callaghan at Ballyvourney; Paul Buckley v Tim Young at Grange; Edmund Sexton v Patrick Flood at Ballincurrig: Round 2; Billy McAuliffe v Young/Buckley at Clondrohid; Wayne Callanan v Ryan/O’Callaghan at Terelton; Donal O’Riordan v Willie O’Donovan at Carrignavar; Brian Wilmot v Flood/Sexton at Templemartin.
Lowney’s Jewellers, Clonakilty are sponsors of the Ladies championships and draws have been forwarded by Gretta Cormican.
In senior there are two groups of three with the top two in each playing off the semi-final rounds. The round-robin series is as follows; Group 1, Maria Nagle v Claire O’Sullivan at Drinagh; Maria Nagle v Meghan Collins at The Clubhouse; Claire O’Sullivan v Meghan Collins at Bauravilla: Group 2, Emma Fitzpatrick v Hannah Sexton at Shannonvale; Emma Fitzpatrick v Veronica O’Mahony at Beal na mBlath; Meghan Collins v Veronica O’Mahony at Ballinacurra, Upton.
The womens intermediate championship will take a lot of winning. Fourteen contests in two groups of four and two of three with the round-robin format again the order will leave eight still in contention. The top two in each will contest the quarterfinal round.
The group stage scores are as follows: Group A, Juliette Murphy v Julianne Hayes at Macroom; Juliette Murphy v Chloe O’Halloran at Castletownkenneigh; Juliette Murphy v Emma Hickey at Lyre; Julianne Hayes v Chloe O’Halloran at Grange; Julianne Hayes v Emma Hickey at The Clubhouse; Chloe O’Halloran v Emma Hickey at Drinagh; Group B, Aoife Creedon v Bernadette Murphy at Ardcahan; Aoife Creedon v Hannah Cronin at Castletownkenneigh; Aoife Creedon v Ciara Buckley at Peake; Bernadette Murphy v Ciara Buckley at Firmount; Bernadette Murphy v Hannah Cronin at Grange; Hannah Cronin v Ciara Buckley at Newcestown. Group C: Helen Whyte v Denise Murphy at Ballinacurra, Upton; Helen Whyte v Gretta Cormican at The Clubhouse; Denise Murphy v Gretta Cormican at Beal na mBlath. Group D: Louise Daly v Lisa Hegarty at Timoleague; Louise Daly v Louise Collins at The Clubhouse; Lisa Hegarty v Louise Collins at Drinagh.