Grading of players for bowling’s premier championships took place at Bol Chumann’s November’s Executive meeting. Pending affiliations, the 2023 senior championship will have twelve contesting with Fermoy’s Patrick Flood automatically upgraded as intermediate champion and the returning Michael Harrington, new contenders for the coming year. Michael Bohane’s shock win last year along with Seamus Sexton’s superb run to the final will serve as an incentive to all contenders that those considered as only having an outside chance at the beginning can well become worthy winners at the end of the day. Bohane and Sexton lead the way among a host of experienced campaigners, the Murphy’s Aidan and David, Martin Coppinger, James O’Donovan, Gary Daly, Arthur McDonagh and Killian Kingston. 2020 intermediate champion, John O’Rourke retains his status while the aforementioned, Flood and Harrington complete the senior line-up for 2023. Minor changes were also the order of the day in the intermediate grade with eleven, one less than last year, contesting in 2023. Significantly, taking a step down to junior after over two decades at senior and intermediate is the 2003 county senior winner, Edmund Sexton. Also, down to junior is 2009 intermediate champion, Willie O’Donovan. Currently, Mayo based, O’Donovan will contest in the East Cork junior A championship. Replacing them are John Creedon returning to intermediate for a second stint following his All-Ireland junior A championship victory and the up and coming, Clon exponent, Wayne Parkes, deemed more than a match for most at intermediate level. The evenly balanced line-up has last year’s runner-up, Donal O’Riordan competing with fellow townsman, Tim Young, City’s Wayne Calnan, Bandon’s Brian Wilmot and Glanworth’s 2019 All-Ireland junior A winner, Billy McAuliffe. Raymond Ryan is in the mix along with 2020 junior A county winner, Andrew O’Callaghan. Eamonn Bowen, down from senior, John Creedon and Parkes complete the list.
The big one at the weekend was a Mother Hegarty Cup score at Lyre where two from the new senior pool contested. Seamus Sexton and Patrick Flood enjoyed memorable moments through 2022 and their tournament clash at the South-West venue ignited interest to the extent of a €16,000 total stake between them. Flood had the better of it over the opening stretch and might have extended a narrow lead with a better fourth. The All-Ireland intermediate champion from Fermoy fired a big fifth to still hold sway by seventy metres at ‘the tunnel’ but a crucial lapse with his seventh had the margin back to ten as they played to ‘Crowley’s bend’. A further poor sequence followed from Flood as Sexton, now upping his game, took his first lead and, in a major turnaround, found himself close to a bowl up as Flood missed across the double bends. The final third provided plenty of drama as Sexton fired a splendid effort to sight at ‘McCarthy’s bend’ to hold his odds only for a spirited rally from Flood to reduce the margin again to twenty. Another fine cast from Flood looked to regain the lead but the man who claimed Gold at the European Championships in Germany on the last Sunday in May produced again one of those specials when lining a ferocious second last shot to within metres of the finish mark. It finally put paid to Flood’s game challenge. The Fermoy youth quickly put that defeat behind him and was in the winner’s enclosure in a return contest after getting the better of another of the younger brigade, Tom O’Sullivan, one bowl, for a €4,500 total. Earlier in the day at Lyre in the novice tournament, Garoid McCarthy of Ballygurteen, came from a long way back to deny Martin Murphy, Togher Cross. For a €2,000 total, Murphy stormed into a big bowl of odds lead in the opening segment to the ‘school cross’, but it wasn’t enough as McCarthy’s blistering closing sequence overhauled the deficit. The Ballygurteen man forged ahead and won in the last shot.
At Ballinacurra, Upton, Diarmuid Hurley, Togher Cross, and county novice A champion, John A Murphy, Templemartin, had two scores on Sunday. For a €2,600 stake, Hurley, a tournament winner at Reenascreena, in early January, held good odds through Brinny Cross and went on to rise a bowl of odds at ‘Perrot’s’. He eventually won by two. Undaunted, Murphy returned to the fray and defeated Hurley in the return score, last shot for similar money. Also, at Ballincaurra, Anthony Gould defeated Tom O’Sullivan, last shot, for €1,000 and Tim Cahalane defeated Deccie O’Mahony by two for €2,400. Pat O’Sullivan (Shannonvale) and O’Mahony had a win each from two scores, both last shot and for totals of €2,400 and €2,900.
The novice E grade is providing plenty of end of season entertainment at regional level. Castletownkenneigh had the Mid Cork final on Sunday morning, a local derby involving Kenneigh men, Eoin O’Callaghan and Kevin Walsh. O’Callaghan was the master on this occasion giving a powerful display from the off. Playing out from the village, he rose a bowl of odds in the play to the first cross and repelled Walsh’s best efforts in the next segment to hold his lead. O’Callaghan powered on with a huge cast to the ‘triangle’, a point he reached in six where his lead was unassailable. Eoin was the recipient of the John Hennessy Memorial Cup, a splendid trophy dedicated to the memory of the fondly remembered local man, son of well-known referee, Jimmy Hennessy of Coppeen, whose untimely passing occurred in 2005. In North Cork five scores from the E section were run-off at Bweeng. On Saturday, Barry Twomey won from Dave Harrington, last shot, for a €1,040 total; Mark Sexton won from Dave Thompson, last shot, for €700 and Daniel O’Brien defeated Aidan O’Brien. Sunday’s scores saw Association vice-chair, Willie Murphy, prevail over Con Fitzgerald and Kieran Buckley get the better of Billy Murphy for a €400 total. In the Gaeltacht division at Cill na Martra, Shane Foley won from Eamonn McSweeney.
The vintage grade progressed with scores at Lyre and Grenagh. Brinny’s John Murphy overcame Drinagh’s Connie Connolly by a bowl of odds for a €1,200 total at the South-West venue and will now play Castletown’s Jimmy Nyhan in the third round section B west at Timoleague. In section C (East) at Grenagh, Carrignavar’s loyal performer, Pat Scanlon won from Thade Murphy and Willie Collins overcame Malachy Kennedy. The draw for the third rounds in vintage will advance the lower grade sections to the last four. Four remain in section A. Martin Connolly takes on Jerry Murphy at Beal an Morrive and Ted Hegarty plays North Cork’s Eugene O’Sullivan at Castletownkenneigh. In section B (East county), there is the interesting all Gaeltacht clash of last year’s winner, Association runai, Micheal O’Céallacháin and James O’Leary, Toonsbridge, at Clondrohid. Joe Walsh versus Ned Kelleher at The Bog Road is the remaining fixture in this section. Section B (County West) has more in contention with four round 3 scores. Sunday’s Lyre winner, John Murphy plays Jimmy Nyhan in a stand-out clash at Timoleague; James O’Driscoll engages with one of the competition favourites, Christy Butler at Lyre; Mick Murphy and Liam O’Driscoll meet at Shannonvale and there is the all Carbery shoot-out at Caheragh between Donal Harnedy and John Nagle. The two remaining fixtures in vintage section C county East are Willie Collins versus one of the trio Mick Murphy (Donoughmore), Tom Browne or Denis Murphy (Ballinagree) and Pat Scanlon v Joe Mackey or Mo O’Connor. The four third round fixtures in section C west are, John Tringle v Jim Walsh at Ballinacarriga; P J Hegarty v Pat Joe Sheehy at Grange; Jim O’Neill v Jerome O’Mahony at Dunderrow; Charlie O’Neill v Kevin O’Sullivan at Timoleague.
Bol Chumann’s South-West region reflected on a busy year at their 2022 AGM held at The Emmett Hotel, Clonakilty on Bank Holiday Monday. Hannah Sexton’s senior county win was a regional highlight and there were significant victories too for the region in Denis O’Sullivan’s and David Hegarty’s junior B and C county wins while Margaret Sexton is in the hunt for the junior ladies. In the under-age sector, Laura Sexton’s County U16 win and Tommy O’Sullivan’s U18 silver on the Moors at the European Championships were acknowledged. On a sadder note, the region lost one of its founding members with the passing of Liam Daly, Shannonvale, in March. All internal regional championships were completed. Officers elected to serve for 2023 are, President, James Barry; Vice Presidents, Paddy Murray, Jim Fitzpatrick and Margaret Daly, replacing her late husband, Liam. Chairman, John O’Leary; Honorary Secretary and Registrar, Gretta Cormican; Treasurer, Bernie O’Donovan; Fixtures Secretary and Child Safe-Guarding Officer, Ted Hegarty; P.R.O. Brian Sexton. In a progressive move, Hannah Sexton joins as one of the regions’ Youths Officers. The meeting was overseen by Bol Chumann chair, Michael Brennan.