Last Sunday morning’s European Championship trials held at Diarmuid O’Mathuna’s G.A.A. grounds, Castletownkenneigh, again emphasised the value of senior ranked players to Bol Chumann’s challenge at the 16th hosting in Garding next May. Dutch Moors and German Loft are the chosen disciplines for these October trials and so far, weather conditions have been benign, a factor in allowing the games best to show their wares. Staking a strong claim for inclusion in the senior men line-up are Martin Coppinger who demonstrated his prodigious lofting skills on Sunday week, James O’Donovan who posted big figures in Dutch Moors, an event indeed in which he won a silver medal at the Ootmarsum games in 2016, and the Murphy brothers, David and Aidan, Gold Medal winners in Road and Moors in previous championships. In the mix too are other senior contenders, Michael Bohane, Gary Daly, Eamonn Bowen, Seamus Sexton, Killian Kingston. At this juncture, the race for places is certainly not confined to the game’s seniors with several from intermediate and junior grades solidly in contention. The top ten based on figures that will also include Road Bowling trials, make the team of twelve with two places reserved for trialists from Bol Chumann Ard Mhaca. It is less competitive in senior women. 2012 Road Gold Medal winner and current county champion, Carmel Carey has retired, but Claire O’Sullivan, who ran Silke Tulk a close second at Ootmarsum, is well placed for selection although a shoulder ligament injury disrupted her endeavours on Sunday morning. New intermediate champion, Hannah Sexton will be a big addition while also making a strong bid are Hannah Cronin, Veronica O’Mahony and Meghan Collins who has European Championship experience winning a youths Gold at Pesaro 2012. There is competition too in the U18 grades. For the boys, Darragh Dempsey posted big figures in his Moors attempts on the dew-covered grass at Castletown. North Cork’s Conor Lucey did well in the loft and Jamie Kelleher, Conor O’Donovan and Tommy O’Sullivan and several more from the almost twenty contenders make it a very competitive battle for the four places. The Sexton sisters, Margaret and Ellen, Rachel Kingston, Ciara Allen, Emer O’Connell and Amy Forde are among those vying for three places in U18 girls. The third series of Dutch Moors and German Loft trials go ahead at the same venue on October 31. The Road trials, also at Castletownkenneigh are billed for November 14, 21, 28.
Wayne Parkes won the South-West junior A championship for 2021 scoring a victory of two bowls over Alex O’Donovan at Timoleague on Saturday last. In his first year up the junior B All-Ireland winner won the opening shots and, crucial to the outcome, followed O’Donovan’s magnificent fourth to within metres. Both played big shots again to ‘Bateman’s gate’ and it stayed close as Parkes won back the lead. Back of Barryshall bend, Parkes missed a tip he should have beaten, but an instant recovery saw him line the shot of the score all the way out past the ‘white pillar’s’. It was a tremendous effort that rose a bowl of odds on his Shannonvale rival and instilled an unshakeable confidence in the new South-West junior A champion. He finished in style rising a second bowl with his remaining three shots to take the Jim Sexton Cup for the first time.
West Cork’s regional championships had a distinct under-age flavour as a host of highly enjoyable encounters were played out. At The Clubhouse in U14, Kimi Bosna scored a thrilling win coming from a bowl down to deny a gallant Clara O’Driscoll. At the same venue, also in U14, Drinagh’s Emma Hurley showed style and skill in her win over a very good opponent, Niamh O’Connell of Ballinacarriga. Sunday’s intermediate league score at The Clubhouse didn’t go as Hannah Cronin suffered an injury in practice but the handy gathering wasn’t disappointed as the games frontline ambassador, Gretta Cormican, took on Hannah’s opponent Julieanne Hayes in a hugely enjoyable challenge for a €440 total. The Drinagh lady won the battle defeating the former great in the last shot. At Drimoleague, for the second weekend running, Johnstown’s Brian O’Sullivan was on the winning side of a tremendous duel. This time in U14, he just edged out Shane Hurley, Lisbealad in the last shot. Kilronan’s Eoin Hurley won here too in U14 scoring a two-bowl won over Shane Coughlan. In a cracking score too in U16 at Drimoleague, Dunmanway’s Daniel O’Sullivan won from Kieran O’Driscoll. In the adult grades the Schull men had a good innings in West Cork. At Drimoleague, novice C, John O’Regan defeated John Collins, one bowl, for €400 and at Derrinasafa, Joseph O’Mahony got the better of a likely contender, Michael A Cronin, last shot, for €1,400. Also, at Derrinasafa in B, Whiddy native, Sean O’Leary hit form in a good win over Eoin Murray, last shot, for €1,620. At Bantry Alan Brickley advanced in novice C with a win over Kevin O’Sullivan. In West Cork championship scores at Drinagh, U16, Brian Horgan won from David Russell and Danny Horgan won from Brian O’Driscoll.
In Mid Cork, Kenneth Murphy is through to the junior B semi-final after victory over Bryan O’Halloran at Castletownkenneigh on Saturday evening. It was a last shot win for Murphy for a €1,100 total. Also, at Castletownkenneigh in novice B, David Walsh hit fine form in a two-bowl win over Kevin O’Crualaoi for €900. In novice B at Beal an mBlath on Saturday, Jack O’Callaghan came out on top in a competitive duel with Dermot Crowley, one bowl, for €1,100.
Gaeltacht’s championship continued apace. A junior A round-robin clash at Macroom saw locals Eoin O’Riordan and Frank Kiely in opposition. O’Riordan won this one in the last shot for a €1,400 total. Ballyvourney hosted the 2021 girls U18 final and here, Rosin O’Riordan, daughter of Eoin, came through after a fine contest with Lauren O’Brien. In a junior C contest at Terelton, it was the veteran campaigner, Tim Kelleher who came out on top against the 2018 All-Ireland U18 winner, Colm McLoughlin and here too in novice C, D J O’Driscoll defeated Ben Herlihy.
In club action Beal na mBlath hosted a three-way junior B tournament fixture on Saturday. Here, the former senior campaigner, Anthony Gould, showed that he still has that know-how when it comes to contesting against those from a younger generation. Carbery’s Shane Shannon and Gaeltacht’s Conor Creedon provided the opposition and put it up to the City man on occasion, but the better consistency lay with Gould and he duly took the verdict. Going for a combined €3,000, Creedon had the better of it to ‘Bradfield’s cross’ leading the City man by fifty metres here while Shannon enjoyed no luck and trailed almost a bowl further back. Gould came in front of Creedon at the three-quarter point and a super second last almost to the line sealed his win. Eugene McVeigh, Ulster junior B champion, showed intent on capturing an All-Ireland in the grade when scheduling a preliminary run on the Ballyvourney road. His visit to the Gaeltacht on Sunday last saw him engage with seasoned Mallow campaigner, Vincent Kiely, winner in 2019. Mc Veigh’s blistering start saw him gain a bowl advantage and he was consistent thereafter in holding his odds. They played for a €2,400 total. His performance indicates an explosive shoot-out with Cork’s in form 2020 junior B champion, Wayne Parkes when they meet on Saturday afternoon October 23rd. They met in U18 in Ballyvourney when Parkes emerged a convincing winner, but McVeigh’s resurgence was evident too in a classy performance at the King of the Roads when partnering Paddy O’Neill to a convincing McCarthy Insurances Cup win against formidable Cork opposition, Darren Kelly and Mick Hurley. Back the road at Ballyvourney, local boy, Cathal Creedon won from Ulster U12 champion, Eoghan McVeigh.
Bowling’s vintage (over 60’s) championship still has a bit to go. Draws at the October Executive meeting have narrowed down the three sections two of which are further sub-divided into regional East-West groupings. Section A, for those in the 2020 junior/Novice A rankings, is straight forward and, following two first round scores and a number of withdrawals, is indeed down to a three-way final play-off. Ballygurteen host the meeting of John Nagle v Chris O’Donovan and Jimmy Collins. Section B (west) has eight second round scores. There is plenty of local interest in this section as the draw reveals. Skibb’s Donal Harnedy plays either Liam Hurley, Dromore, or Jerome O’Mahony, Fivemilebridge; Martin Desmond, Newcestown plays Donal O’Sullivan, The Pike at Castletownkenneigh; Cousins, Liam and James were drawn to meet and they return to their native Drinagh for their clash; Mick Murphy, Innishannon, plays Fachtna Keane, Drimoleague at Grange; Dinny Nyhan, Castletown, and Drinagh’s Bob O’Regan meet at The Clubhouse; Brendan O’Sullivan, Butlerstown and Pat Joe Connolly, Ferlihanes, clash at Timoleague; the all Carbery tie involving D D Carroll and Harry Russell is on at Caheragh and West Cork campaigners, Jim Cronin, Togher Cross and Patsy O’Sullivan, Kealkil meet at Togher Cross. In vintage B (east) the winner of the grade ten years ago, that man of song, Denis Hickey of the City will engage with new Bol Chumann Hon Secretary, Micheál O’Ceallachain, Baile Bhúirne, at Ballinagree and John Murphy, Templemartin plays north Cork’s Dan O’Regan at Dunderrow. Vintage C for those in novice D ranking has eight scores in each section. In C (west) the fixtures include, the all Mid Cork clash of Jerry O’Donovan and Association chair, Michael Brennan at Dunderrow; the meeting of Pat Joe Sheehy, Kilbrittain and former Leap man, P J Hegarty, Gaggin, at Grange and an interesting set-to at Drinagh involving, Robbie Limerick, Union Hall and John Tringle, Lettergorman. The fixtures secretary has stipulated that no more postponements can be entertained at this late juncture. Just one score was played last weekend, this at Kilcorney in vintage C (east) and here Denis Murphy, Ballinagree, overall runner-up in 2019, won from Mick Murphy, Donoughmore, a junior A All-Ireland winner way back in 1984.