The William Wolfe Memorial at Waterloo was the focus for many bowling followers over the past weekend. This annual event, hosted by the City region, acts as a fund-raiser for the local Waterloo Community Group and has grown in popularity and prestige in recent years combining as it does a selection of intermediate and junior scores with its feature event which is dedicated to those in the lower novice grades. The weekend’s eight score programme concluded in a welter of excitement on Sunday evening as two from the North Cork division, Stephen Spillane and Liam McCarthy, from neighbouring Ballinagree and Beal na Morrive clubs battled it out for the Wolfe Memorial trophy. Spillane took the spoils by less than a metre after escaping from the jaws of defeat when his chances looked forlorn a bowl of odds down two shots to go. McCarthy, who bowled a fine score, went a bowl of odds up when Spillane erred with his third last and looked to have victory in his grasp throwing for the finish line. A mistake here proved costly when he missed both the line and Spillane’s mark. The Beal na Morrive man recovered instantly and put down a fine cast, but Spillane had it’s measure just about. They played for a total of €3,600. The weekend started with an intermediate contest on Saturday morning involving Wayne Callanan and Eamonn Bowen. They clashed recently in a Jim O’Driscoll Cup qualifier at Ballincurrig when Bowen emerged a comprehensive winner, but the Farranree man turned the tables in this one in desperately close finish. Bowen held the advantage coming near the finish and was a shade unlucky not to have more odds than the few metres he held for the last shots. Callanan grabbed his chance in style firing a big final effort that Bowen, despite playing his reply well, missed by twenty metres. They played for a €4,000 total. The first of the Wolfe Memorial semi-finals, a three-way involving novice C’s Liam McCarthy, Garoid Spillane and Tony Dunlea then went off for €1,860 plus €1,600 (McCarthy-Dunlea). The contest turned out to be a battle between McCarthy and Spillane who both went a shot up on Dunlea. McCarthy’s brilliant last shot saw off the challenge of Spillane. Novice A’s Denis Connolly and Mark Long took issue for a €3,600 total. A good contest which also had chances going a begging ended with Connolly the winner. The second Wolfe Memorial semi-final had Stephen Spillane, John Donnellan and Deccie O’Mahony in opposition. For a €1,800 total, Spillane and Donnellan fought this one out at the front as O’Mahony trailed from the mid-way point. It came to the last shots and Spillane took the verdict by a good fore bowl. Sunday’s action started with a junior A clash of City’s James O’Sullivan and North Cork’s former senior champion, Edmund Sexton. For a €3,200 total, O’Sullivan won by a bowl of odds. A three-way singles novice C contest followed with Celly Spillane (Jun), Stephen Bowen and Declan O’Leary fighting it out for a €4,800 total. Spillane won a well-contested score. Juniors Mark Burke and Patrick Stokes took issue in Sunday’s third contest which carried a €6,200 total stake. This was a cracking score all through and it went to the final shots. Burke’s big last one won it. The Spillane-McCarthy decider brought the curtain down on a hectic weekend at the Blarney venue.
At the day’s conclusion a four-figure sum was presented to the local community group. The William Wolfe Memorial commemorates a prominent local Blarney resident who died in a work accident at a relatively young age. Waterloo, a one-time City bowling stronghold, was the venue for the 1969 senior championship showdown between Mick Barry and Denis Scully, a contest Barry, then in his heyday, won to claim the sixth of eleven county titles that went his way.
Ailbhe O’Shea and Siobhan Kelleher will contest the 2023 junior ladies’ final. Siobhan’s emphatic victory over North Cork’s Rachel Lucey at Clondrohid on Sunday week signalled intent on bringing the championship to Newcestown and it promises an intriguing decider with an equally determined Ailbhe who turned the tables on Ellen Sexton in the second semi at Ballinacurra, Upton, on Sunday last. The Gaeltacht champion from Macroom was on the receiving end of narrow defeat to her South-West rival when they clashed in the county U18 semi-final and produced one of the scores of the summer championship at Beal na mBlath. Their-rematch at Ballinacurra was another tense encounter that ebbed and flowed throughout its eighteen-shot duration even if it did not deliver the quality of bowling of their championship meeting. Playing back the Ballinacurra route with a start line at the ‘main road’ junction, they exchanged leads in the opening phase. Ailbhe’s fifth and sixth were both right and Ellen had an opportunity of opening up a gap. That didn’t materialise and they stayed locked together in seven to the turn-up. Ailbhe got little traction on her next two and Ellen, steadier on the ‘sop’, held the advantage to the tune of fifty metres as they played to the P&P entrance. The U18 champion lost the lead unexpectedly when her tenth whipped right and she would not regain it in the subsequent exchanges. That last quarter produced exciting fare, nonetheless. Ailbhe beat a big thirteenth from Ellen to stay in front and a superb follow-up on the right track gave her and eighty metre lead with two to go. The Macroom girls second last was way left, and Ellen closed it to twenty facing the line. Ellen’s last, an excellent effort on the centre, tested Ailbhe’s resolve but the Gaeltacht champion answered in stye beating a good tip with metres to spare.
The vintage championship continues apace. Scores in section C East and West dominated with a few hard-fought duels reducing both to the last four. Donal O’Sullivan, Knocknaphonery, fired a big opener in his clash with Batty Foley, Templemartin, at Ballinacarriga and it gave him the bones of a bowl of odds cushion that proved crucial in his win over the Templemartin man. They played for a total of €1,000. The win sets O’Sullivan up for meeting with Rossmore’s Pat Joe Connolly who won at Leap from Jerry Connolly. For an €800 total, Connolly’s massive fourth shot was instrumental to this win. It enabled the Rossmore man go a bowl up at ‘Mealasheen’ and, when he doubled his lead in the subsequent shots, there was no way back for his Shannonvale rival. Jim Cronin stays on course with a win at The Pike from Brendan O’Sullivan. Togher Cross man, Cronin, rose a bowl a bowl of odds in the shots to the no-play lines at White’s Cross’ and withstood a good challenge from his Butlerstown opponent to progress to the next round where he comes up against an in-form Jack Cahalane. The stake money at The Pike amounted to €400. In section C East two scores were played at Ballincurrig. In the first of these, Oliver Searls showed is wares in a two-bowl win over Michael Cahill. Oliver plays Con O’Donovan in the next round. Donie Connolly advanced too at the East Cork venue. The Carrignavar man had a bowl of odds to spare on Carrigaline’s John Healy and will play Eddie Barry in the next round. Barry accounted for Denis Murphy, Ballinagree, the outright section C winner in 2019, in their clash at Grenagh. It was here too that Con O’Donovan won from Mick Murphy, Donoughmore, still in active participation almost forty years on from his junior A championship glory days.
Novice E scores went ahead in Mid Cork and Gaeltacht. At Casteltownkenneigh on Sunday a Mid semi-final E competition score went ahead between Dylan Murphy and Patrick Buttimer. For a €780 total, Murphy rose a bowl of odds at the first turn and held it to the finish. In the Gaeltacht, also in E Ronan O’Callaghan won from Aaron O’Riordan. In club scores at Ballinacurra, Upton, Eoin O’Flynn defeated Darren Harrington by two for €3,000 and Martin O’Donovan (K) defeated Tommy Maloney for €400. At Jagoe’s Mills Brian Harrington defeated Sean Galvin by two for €1,400 and Tommy Maloney defeated Paul Kelleher, last shot, for €1,100.
Castletownkenneigh Bowling Club have been nominated by the Mid Cork region as hosts for the 2024 All-Ireland bowling finals. July 13/14 are the appointed dates for six national deciders that will include senior women, intermediate and junior A men as well as under-age play offs. Castletown’s nomination is a popular one as it brings the game’s premier event to an active, progressive club who have given exceptional support to various Bol Chumann endeavours over a long period of time. Currently, it is the location for the series of International trials that will determine selection on Bol Chumann teams for the 2024 European championships in Germany next May. A central venue with a variation in roads to choose from, Castletown has been pivotal to the efficient running off of countless inter-regional scores including county finals down through the years. It is, of course a vibrant area known for its active sporting community, boasting numerous sporting clubs and activities for enthusiasts of all ages and interests. The famed Diarmuid O’Mathuna’s hurling and football clubs spearhead the diversity. Castletown Celtic are prominent in the West Cork soccer championship and dart teams compete in local leagues. Cork Auto Grass race on their track adjacent to the soccer pitch which also serves as a setting for the sport of pigeon racing. 2024 will mark the thirtieth anniversary since Mid Cork began a three-year hosting that is still recalled for the monumental battles that took place during that mid-nineties period. Chief amongst them was the 1994 senior final clash on the Bandon Road between Michael Toal and Bill Daly. Toal emerged the winner from a hotly contested, drama filled contest that had its share of controversy. Saturday’s finals on that inaugural Mid Cork weekend were played under a deluge. Gretta Cormican won senior ladies, Phillip O’Donovan, junior A and Percy Deane, veteran while future senior All-Ireland winner, Conor McGuigan, Armagh, won U18 from Drinagh’s Donnacha O’Brien.