Another shock as one of the leading lights on the Irish team at the European Championships seemed to have left his best form on the continent. James O’Donovan exit from the senior men’s championship at the hands of Michael Bohane was unexpected but not unprecedented. Derrinasafa was the venue too when they duelled in 2016 with the Carbery prevailing in another upset, but this was a new stage and coming on the back of a super-charged performance that brought him an individual bronze in Meldorf, a repeat loss for O’Donovan was not envisaged. His comrade in the cause in Germany was well up for the contest although it did not carry a stake and took the lead for the first time with his third throw. O’Donovan had unluckily, hit a gate pillar with his second shot when looking to extend his early advantage. Both were good in six to ‘natties’ and three more to ‘darkwood’, Bohane consistently winning all tips albeit by no more than a few metres. Mistakes occurred in the next sequence and, when Bohane instead of extending his odds with his twelfth, handed the lead back to O’Donovan, it looked a turning point in favour of the hot favourite. Bohane recovered from that setback with what would ultimately be the score winning shot, a thundering thirteenth past ‘Hurley’s cross’. From there to the finish the standard deteriorated as Bohane did not consolidate his advantage and O’Donovan just could not get anything going. The Bandon man might have been closer than the eighty metres that separated them for the last shots and, when he missed the line with his seventeenth, Bohane closed it out with a well-pitched effort past the finish. Michael Bohane will be the underdog again when he meets the winner of the Martin Coppinger/Eamonn Bowen quarterfinal but with confidence now surely on a high, more surprises may be in store.
In women’s intermediate, Ciara Buckley won the last of the group stage scores at Firmount on Saturday when defeating Bernadette Murphy, last shot after a good joust. Ciara emerges from B along with Hannah Cronin and will play Chloe O’Halloran in a quarterfinal at Newcestown.
The junior A semi-final line-up is now complete after wins for Tim McDonagh and Denis O’Driscoll. Jagoe’s Mills hosted the quarterfinal meeting of North East’s McDonagh and South-West’s Alex O’Donovan on Saturday afternoon. Going for a €4,700 total, McDonagh had an early bowl lead after six to the ‘concrete footpath’ but lost it to a fine resurgence by O’Donovan in the bowling to the ‘power station’. The Shannonvale man did not maintain his rally and McDonagh regained his earlier advantage to win by a bowl. He now meets Drimoleague’s Denis O’Driscoll, the West Cork, standard bearer, in the semi-final at Kilcorney this weekend. O’Driscoll’s late surge brought him home ahead of City’s Cian Boyle at Newcestown on Sunday afternoon last. For a €5,000 total, Boyle had chances to rise a bowl of odds as O’Driscoll struggled in the shots away from ‘Mac’s cross’. Those chances weren’t availed of and O’Driscoll, thanks in the main to a huge thirteenth throw, kept it level to the ‘forge cross’. The Drimoleague man found his groove with another big one to the last corner and it gave him leeway enough to overcome his City rival by almost a bowl of odds. Tom O’Donovan (Mid Cork) and John Creedon (Gaeltacht) contest the second semi at The Clubhouse this weekend.
Shocks abound in U18 boys none bigger that the demise of European Champion, Darragh Dempsey at the hands of Mid Cork’s Joshua Murphy in a sensational quarterfinal score at Togher Cross on Monday week. The vagaries of the game were underlined as the Skibb youth seemed to have left his best game in Germany after firing two of the very short variety that left him almost a bowl down to Murphy’s well-played opener. Dempsey did rally but found Murphy in determined mode best exemplified by his following a magnificent shot to sight at ‘the chips’. Chances galore were missed on both sides but it seemed Dempsey had survived when he led by forty metres facing the line. The Mid Cork champion hadn’t read the script and fired a sublime effort well past the finish mark and it won the day when Dempsey’s reply veered right. In another quarterfinal contest at Ballinacurra, Upton, South West’s surprise champion, Eoin McCarthy, came within metres of causing another upset as he ran North-East’s highly rated Patrick O’Donnell very close before losing out in the last shot. East Cork’s Dylan Beecher contests with West Cork’s Mark Deane in another quarterfinal at Templemartin.
The boys U14 county rounds are also in full spate with completion necessary well before the first All-Ireland series at Ballincurrig on July 9/10. A cracking first round score at The Clubhouse saw Gaeltacht’s Ross O’Brien just edge South-West’s Rory Twohig. Ross needed a big cast through ‘Clon cross’ to overcome Rory’s early dominance and it was the Gaeltacht champion who prevailed in a thrilling closing sequence. Ross O’Brien plays London’s Callum O’Donovan in the quarterfinal at Beal na mBlath. 2020 U12 champion, Ben Cooney, representing East Cork will play Carbery’s Tom McCarthy in another quarterfinal with the winner meeting West Cork’s Daniel O’Sullivan in the semi. The remaining U14 quarterfinal has City’s Myles Connors in against North Cork’s Jonathan O’Callaghan. In girl’s U18, Carbery’s Natalie Dempsey won a good quarterfinal battle with Mid Cork’s Ciara Allen at Togher Cross on Friday.
Up the age scale, the junior veteran county rounds are up and running. A quarterfinal round contest at Castletownkenneigh carried a whopping €16,200 total stake and it went the way of City representative Noel Gould who won by a bowl from South-West’s Ted Hegarty. In another quarterfinal at Beal an Morrive, North East’s Andrew O’Leary had a three-bowl victory over Gaeltacht’s Jim Coffey. O’Leary and Gould meet in the semi-final.
Christy Mullins is back in the winner’s enclosure. The defeated junior A finalist is a viable contender in junior veteran and got over the first hurdle at Togher Cross on Sunday evening when defeating the former All-Ireland winner in the grade, Chris O’Donovan, by a bowl of odds. Mick Young has withdrawn so Mullins’ regional final opponent is Humphrey O’Leary. They will contest at Kealkil. In the West Cork junior B round-robin at Derrinasafa on Thursday, Peter Murray, with a super effort to ‘darkwood’ gained the winning point from his duel with Drinagh’s John Young. They played for a €2,200 total. In junior C at Kealkil, Kevin Cotter defeated Chris Murray.
In novice A the inform David Horgan is through to the final after a two-bowl victory over Pat Daly at Ardcahan on Friday. Paul Kingston will be Horgan’s final opponent after the Dunmanway man eliminated Steve Hurley in his semi-final at Togher Cross. West Cork’s novice B semi-final at Ballinacarriga on Saturday evening was a shot for shot thriller. No more than a few metres separated Brian O’Driscoll and Alan Brickley at any point in a score of quality bowling. Brickley’s twelfth unluckily missed the line giving O’Driscoll that chance which he took to forge a last shot win. James Hurley and Padraigh O’Sullivan play the second semi at Bantry. In novice veteran at Drinagh, Patsy O’Sullivan defeated Michael Carroll, last shot, for €1,200 while in novice D here, Darren O’Donovan won from Jan Tessyman. At Durrus in the novice C championship a quarterfinal meeting of Joseph O’Mahony, Schull, and Daniel Hayes, Drinagh, resulted in victory for the Schull man setting up a semi-final clash with John Collins at The Clubhouse. At Durrus too in U16 there was another win for U14 champion, Daniel O’Sullivan as he edged out Josh O’Farrell. John Murphy, Togher Cross is contending on two fronts and advanced in novice veteran at The Clubhouse with victory over John Tringle.
In U12 at Bantry, Conor Hourihane won from Ryan Coakley-Healy; Oisin Murray won from Conor Lennon; Jack Coakley won from Caden Walsh; Tadg Farrell won from Michael Young and Patrick Crowley won from Timmie Daly. In the midst of their current schedule West Cork completed a remaining championship deferred from 2021 and it is Drinagh’s Connie Connolly who is last years novice veteran champion after a comprehensive victory over Martin O’Donovan at Ballinacarriga.
Mid Cork’s junior B final at Ballinacurra on Friday evening was an exciting shot for shot duel for much of the way. For a €1,700 total, John Butler followed three big bowls from Ger O’Driscoll to lead by ten metres at the ‘main road’. O’Driscoll edged in front with a huge seventh shot and, fired an equally good tenth that would eventually give him a bowl of odds winning margin. Another big winner in Mid Cork is Castletownkenneigh’s Jack O’Callaghan who came out on top in a brilliant novice B final with John Hickey at Dunderrow. This one carried a sizable €10,200 total stake and O’Callaghan’s victory came in the final throw. South-West’s championships are continuing and in novice D at The Pike, Brian Harrington won from Liam O’Brien, last shot, for €440. In the Gaeltacht junior C championship, Jerry O’Riordan defeated Jim Coffey at Ballyvourney.
Several club scores, many with a higher than usual profile, were part of the busy weekly schedule. At Carrignavar, All-Ireland champion, Arthur McDonagh got a run over the road ahead of his championship clash with Gary Daly when taking on Martin Coppinger on Tuesday evening. For an €8,000 total, the Fermoy man bowled well and won by a shot. At Carrignavar too, Rosscarbery’s James Nagle was in the winner’s enclosure coming in ahead of P J Cooney in he last shot of a hard-fought encounter. They played for a total of €1,600. The Paddy Barry Cup at Rosscarbery saw Brian Wilmot defeat Wayne Calnan by a bowl of odds for a €3,000.
Ból Chumann extends its sympathies to the Moynahin family Kilnamartyra on the passing of Connie. A popular competitor in Gaeltacht championships for many years, Connie commanded a loyal following and enjoyed a great run in the 2001 novice 1 championship finishing as runner-up to Johnny O’Driscoll in the county final at The Clubhouse. From a family who uphold the great traditions of bowling, Connie enjoyed the successes achieved by his brother Patrick who claimed All-Ireland junior A honours in 2001. His many friends from the bowling world were with him on his final journey to Gougane Barra cemetery on Friday last.