Gary Daly and John O’Rourke scored victories in the opening round of the men’s senior championship at the weekend. Following on from Ballincurrig, the Daly / Seamus Sexton contest at Templemichael on Sunday was another filled with passages of top-class bowling. Sexton beat two big openers to hold a slender early lead, but Daly’s massive third to ‘blackbird lane’ was the beginning of a period of ascendancy for the Fermoy man. Sexton did not quite make it to the ‘white wall’ with his fifth and Daly increased a narrow lead to close on a bowl of odds. Sexton beat huge tips on the straight to keep the margin under the bowl as they battled on to ‘Sarsfield’s cross’. Daly tenaciously stayed in front, but Sexton kept closing and a magnificent fourteenth from the North Cork man brought him ahead for the first time since the early stages amid high excitement. It would be short lived as Daly came again with a thundering second last which gave him a forty-metre cushion for the final exchanges. It was enough for a thrilling win from a contest that carried a €16,200 total stake. Daly now has a quarterfinal match-up at Whitechurch with the winner of David Murphy v Michael Bohane who go at Lyre on this Saturday evening.
There was a fraught finish to the senior championship first rounder played at Carrignavar on Saturday. John O’Rourke and Killian Kingston fought it out for a €5,400 total and it was an even contest for the first phase of play over the rising road to the ‘doctors’. O’Rourke held thirty metres after six, but it stayed level with both reaching the ‘creamery cross’ in eight. O’Rourke again took a thirty-metre lead in the shots away from the ‘no-play line’ and then capitalised in full on a misplay by Kingston whose eleventh caught the grass too soon. Rylane man, O’Rourke, drove on to rise a bowl of odds and Kingston’s cause looked lost at this stage. The 2016 county champion faced the challenge well firing a truly massive effort to sight at the ‘bridge’. It was a shot O’Rourke missed in two handing the lead back his Leamlara rival at a vital juncture. Kingston forged into a sixty-metre lead, but O’Rourke got it back to thirty facing the line. Drama unfolded as O’Rourke missed that target only for Kingston to do likewise handing the initiative back to the north Cork man. John O’Rourke won that vital last exchange to advance to a quarterfinal meeting with Aidan Murphy at Ballyvourney. In a women’s intermediate group D contest prior to the senior men’s shoot-out at Carrignavar, Ciara Buckley defeated Juliette Murphy in the last shot of a good score. Both qualify for the quarterfinals from the group. In the Ulster senior championship, Thomas Mackle won the first of his best of three with Colm Rafferty at Knappagh.
Two scores in the intermediate championship saw Wayne Callanan and Eamonn Bowen advance to the quarterfinals. City man, Callanan, went head-to-head with Glanworth’s Billy McAuliffe for an €1,100 total at Ballincurrig on Sunday morning. 2019 All-Ireland junior A winner, McAuliffe, beat a big opening shot of Callanan’s and came ahead again after five as the lead changed in an even opening quarter. Callanan took a grip with a brilliant sixth to the no-play lines and it was a hold he didn’t relinquish in an impressive display. A bowl of odds down, McAuliffe made inroads with a fine effort on the long straight, but his City rival powered on again to rise big law with the bowl as they played to the ‘big turn’. Another super cast up the short straight doubled his odds and there was no way back for McAuliffe after that. Paul Buckley at Inchigeelagh is next up for Callanan in the quarterfinal round. Later, on Sunday at Bweeng, Eamonn Bowen and John Creedon took issue for a €12,000 total. A shot-for- shot duel unfolded in wet conditions. Bowen beat a big opener of Creedon’s before last year’s junior A All-Ireland winner took charge over the next sequence to the ‘tinny house’ where Creedon’s advantage amounted to twenty-five metres. Creedon tenaciously held the advantage up to half-way and beat a particularly fine effort of Bowen’s to the novice line. Carrignavar man, Bowen, got his reward with the lead again at the junior finish and tips stayed close as they neared the last line. Creedon came back in front marginally but, in a crucial turning point saw his second last slash off the play. Bowen then held the ascendancy at a vital point and duly won in the last shot. He plays the winner of Brian Wilmot/Tommy O’Sullivan in the quarterfinal at Castletownkenneigh.
The weekend’s action brings some clarity to the quarterfinals draw announced at Wednesday’s night’s May executive meeting. The men’s senior last eight line-up is as follows. Gary Daly v David Murphy or Michael Bohane at Whitchurch; Patrick Flood v Martin Coppinger at Templemartin; James O’Donovan v Arthur McDonagh at Beal na Morrive; Aidan Murphy v John O’Rourke at Ballyvourney. In intermediate it’s, Wayne Parkes v Raymond Ryan at Bantry; Donal O’Riordan v Tim Young or Tom O’Donovan at Grange or Bantry; Wayne Callanan v Paul Buckley at Inchigeelagh; Eamonn Bowen v Brian Wilmot or Tommy O’Sullivan at Castletownkenneigh. Meanwhile, following a glut of scores in the women’s intermediate round-robin series, the quarterfinal and semi-final draws with venues have been unveiled are as follows, I. Rachel Kingston v Hannah Cronin at The Clubhouse; 2. Louise Collins v Chloe O’Halloran at Beal na mBlath; 3. Juliette Murphy v Lisa Hegarty at Ballinacurra, Upton; 4. Ciara Buckley who receives a walk-over from Julianne Hayes (Departing for the summer season to Australia). The semi-final draw is (4) v (1) at Clondrohid; (2) v (3) at The Clubhouse/Macroom/Castletownkenneigh.
The West Cork division had a big championship shoot-out at Durrus on Saturday afternoon. Noel O’Regan, Togher Cross and Drinagh’s John Young were in opposition in a junior B championship semi-final set-to and delivered a competitive joust that carried a €1,300 total stake. O’Regan’s winning margin of almost two does not reflect an evenly balanced contest for much of he way. The Togher Cross man did produce an explosive finish and will carry confidence to the decider when he plays Adrian Buttimer at Kealkil on May 27. Also, at Durrus on Saturday in the novice B championship, Alan Brickley came from a bowl down to deny James Hurley in the last shot. For a combined €4,100, Hurley held a bowl lead for much of the way, but Brickley’s strong finish swung it his way. In novice A at Drimoleague on Friday last, Brian O’Driscoll, runner-up in B last year, defeated Pat Daly and in the C grade here, David Horgan won from Damien Hurley. Also, on Friday at Togher Cross in veteran A, Patsy O’Sullivan defeated Jimmy Nyhan, one bowl, for €740 and will now contest the sectional final against Connie Connolly at Drimoleague. John Murphy defeated Barry O’Donovan in the B section semi at Drimoleague and will play Damien Hurley who got the better of Donal O’Mahony in the second semi at Derrinasafa mid-week. In novice D at Kealkil, Kieran O’Driscoll defeated Johnny Hurley by a bowl, for €800. In a hectic week of under-age action in West Cork, Ballinacarriga’s Emer O’Connell won her U16 contest with Kimi Bosna at Drimoleague. Daniel O’Sullivan showed class in his U16 win over a gallant Shane Hurley at The Clubhouse on Wednesday and here too, Brian O’Sullivan had a hard-earned win over Eoin Hurley (K).
At Kealkil in U14, Tadg O’Farrell won from Jack Coakley. Bantry scores made inroads on big entries in boys and girls U12. Results to hand read, Cillian Murray won from Donnacha Collins; Tommy Coppinger won from Padraigh Collins; Tadg O’Farrell won from Leo Arundel; Conor O’Sullivan won from Timmie Daly; Eoghan Hickey won from Brian Murphy; Rory Hurley won from Timmie Gibbons; Jamie Wiseman won from Jamie McCarthy; Ayesha Daly won from Ellie Gibbons; Ava Healy won from Lily O’Leary; Cait Young won from Louise Young; Nicola Hurley won from Caoimhe Lennon; Ava Hurley won from Rionna Young and Grace O’Sullivan won from Aisling Young. The quarterfinal draws for both grades are Boys, Eoghan Hickey v Rory Hurley; Joe O’Donovan v Tadg O’Farrell; Tommy Coppinger v Cillian Murray; James Wiseman v Conor O’Sullivan: Girls, Alyesha Daly v Chloe O’Farrell; Cait Young v Ava Hurley; Grace O’Sullivan v Nicola Hurley; Caoimhe Hurley v Ava Healy. The West Cork region mourned the passing of Jackie McCarthy, Bantry on last weekend. Jackie, a life-long follower of the game was a hugely popular presence on the bowling roads of the county over many decades. Ar Dheis De go raibh a Anam.
Another busy week of novice veteran scores at Fisher’s Cross saw the final play-off in section A and finalists decided in section B. On Saturday evening with Joe Tyner unable to contest due to injury, Ger Fitzpatrick and Donal Desmond contested the section A final for a €1,520 stake. In a score of swaying fortunes, Kilbrittain man, Desmond went a bowl clear at ‘Pierce’s’ but lost it in the shots to ‘Galley cross’. Pike native, Fitzpatrick, a man with a chequered career at junior level in decades past, shaded the exchanges to the last bend and eventually won the day with a big last shot. On Monday evening Seamus White defeated Timmie O’Brien in the first of the section B semi-finals and on the following evening the all Ballygurteen clash saw Danny O’Brien prevail against Vincent Dullea. White and O’Brien meet this week with the winner playing Fitzpatrick in the overall final. In novice B at Timoleague, John Connolly defeated Stephen O’Connell in the last shot and in novice D, here, Mike Kiely defeated Ethan DeBurca. Also, at Timoleague a brilliant U16 contest saw last year’s county winner, Laura Sexton, survive a tough test from Grace Ahern. Laura had just metres to spare at the end of close contest.
Eoin O’Riordan is Gaeltacht junior A champion after his second win over Denis Cooney. The championship revolved around a best of three between the pair and O’Riordan’s fore bowl win at Clondrohid on Sunday last means he will represent the region in the county rounds when he contests with the City champion in a preliminary round score at Beal na Morrive. In U16 at Clondrohid Tadg Cooney won from Ross O’Brien. Terry Mallon is Gaeltacht junior B champion after his victory over Frank Kiely at Clondrohid on Saturday. It was a two-bowl victory for the Kerry based Mallon for a stake of €1,940. Mallon plays the City winner at Beal na Morrive in the preliminary round of the county championship. A busy week in the Gaeltacht saw the U16 grade progress with scores at Ballyvourney. Sean Og Coleman won from Evan Kelleher; Evan O’Riordan won from Ciaran McSweeney and Eoin Moynahin won from Ian O’Donoghue. Plenty of action too in novice D at Ballyvourney on Bank Holiday Monday. Mikey O’Callaghan defeated Trevor O’Brien; Colm O’Leary defeated Cian O’Callaghan and Brendan O’Donoghue defeated Joe Warren. In the same grade at Cill na Martra D D McCarthy defeated Kieran Doherty and John O’Riordan defeated John Kingston. At Clondrohid, Paudie Lucey defeated Jerome Corkery and in U18, here, Liam Twomey won from Ian O’Donoghue.
In the Mid Cork novice veteran championship at Jagoe’s Mills, Mick Murphy defeated a formidable rival, Christy Butler by the fore bowl. In a score back here, Declan O’Donovan (K) defeated Richard O’Brien by a bowl for €1,040. At the other end of the age scale Anna Deane won from Lelia Foley in the U16 championship at Castletownkenenigh. Dunderrow hosted the novice D clash of Donnacha O’Donovan and Dean Cowhig. O’Donovan was the victor here. In novice B at Templemartin Owen Flynn defeated James Kelleher, last shot, for €900. In the novice veteran semi-final at Templemartin on Friday, Deccie O’Mahony overcame Ger O’Leary, one bowl, for €820.
The North Cork championships continue apace. At Peake in the novice B championship Sean Kiely go the better of Roddy O’Mahony on Bank Holiday Monday. The regional U16 girls final at Kilcorney on Wednesday was a cracker. Here, Rihanna Collins just edged a thrilling contest with local contender Jenna Healy. At the same venue in novice D on Thursday, Adrian O’Connor defeated Ger Cullinane. In novice D at Ballinagree, Ryan Long won a very even tussle with Matthew Bradley and Barry Twomey won by a bowl from Trevor Ahern. Here too in the same grade, Paul Twomey defeated Gary Murphy and, in a return double, Liam McCarthy and Jack Oldham won from Stephen Spillane and Anthony Bradley. Ballinagree hosted the novice veteran final on Tuesday when Dan O’Regan and Ned Kelleher went head-to-head for an €840 stake. O’Regan’s massive bowl on the incline gave him big odds but he still had to call on all his reserves to beat a big last shot of Kelleher’s to win it. In an exciting return Jack Oldham defeated Mickey McAuliffe, last shot, for €600.
In the City junior B championship at Curraheen, Noel Gould defeated Aidan Bowen, last shot, for €1,600. In a score back the road here, Paul Butler defeated Dec O’Leary for a €1,400 total. On Saturday, Gould followed up with a two-bowl semi-final win over Shane Lotty for an €1,100 stake and this was followed by a return contest in which Bernard O’Donovan defeated Kevin Ward, last shot, for €1,300. In the junior B three-way play-off at Curraheen on Sunday, it was the youthful James O’Sullivan who prevailed against more experienced rivals, Thomas Boyle and former junior A All-Ireland winner, Peter Nagle. Gould and O’Sullivan will contest the final this week. A score back Templemichael on Sunday saw Denis Connolly defeat Paul Butler for a €1,500 total.
There were four scores in the North East division at Carrignavar on Monday. Billy Connolly defeated Declan O’Donovan (K), in the last shot, for €700; Stephen Murphy defeated Ryan Buckley by two for €360; doubles, Billy Connolly and Ryan Delaney combined for a win over Declan O’Donovan and Colm O’Regan, last shot, for €1,700 and Ronan O’Donovan defeated Evan Buckley by a bowl for €1,900.
Phillip O’Donovan won the battle of the brothers for the East Cork junior veteran’s championship. The former senior champion defeated Willie of the O’Donovan clan in a well-contested decider at Ballincurrig on Sunday morning. He plays the Leinster representative in a preliminary county round score at Grenagh. At Ballincurrig on Thursday in a Moss Twomey Shield semi-final, Johnny O’Driscoll came from arrears to defeat local clubman, Mick Hurley, by a bowl for a €2,300 total. There was a double for the South-West men here as Darren Harrington defeated Michael O’Leary in the return contest for €1,600. In club scores at Jagoe’s Mills on Friday, Billy Connolly repeated his Carrignavar success with a win over Declan O’Donovan (K) for €1,340 and, in the return, Shaun Buckley defeated Ronan O’Donovan for €660. At Whitechurch at the weekend in senior action, Patrick Flood defeated Michael Harrington, last shot, for €6,000 and Willie O’Donnell had two bowls to spare on Garret Bourke, for a €2,200 total. Bantry’s Donal O’Riordan got back to winning ways with a big finish at Shannonvale where he accounted for Andrew O’Callaghan for a €2,200 total. O’Callaghan led by a bowl here in the early stages before O’Riordan powered ahead in the shots away from ‘Desmond’s cross’.