Reaction from the Willie Whelton Cup, the Mid-Cork Junior Veteran Final, new Ból Chumann Regulations along with the rest of the weekends action
On an exceptionally busy mid-December weekend some of the games leading lights saw action. Grange had a couple of big ones, and it was the Willie Whelton Cup clash of Martin Coppinger and Aidan Murphy that attracted most interest. Their last meeting was that fraught county senior final of 2018 staged at Ballygurteen and won by Murphy at the death, a prelude his to going on to All-Ireland glory later on at Tullysaran. His form though has taken a bit of a dip since. This was evident in a slack start at Grange where he squandered a chance after Coppinger got a poor opener. The Bantry native rose a bowl after four and doubled his lead in the bowling to the ‘school cross’. Coppinger held his odds thereafter delivering a performance that matched some of his best days and exuded a confidence in his ability to see off all comers. They played for a total of €20,000.
Earlier in the day at Grange, in the Champy Deasy Cup, regional junior A winners Wayne Parkes and Aidan Desmond took issue. It was the South-West man Parkes who won this one for an €8,000 stake. At Lyre the peerless Christy Mullins made sure 2021 didn’t pass without a score. It was a winning foray too as a consistent and strong performance saw him home a bowl of odds winner against 2020 City junior A champion, Trevor O’Meara. The stake in this one amounted to €4,000.
Upgraded, Tim Young defeated 2020 champion, Donnacha O’Brien in the West Cork junior A championship on the Hawthorn road. Going for a €4,800 total, both ‘made’ Caheragh cross in three, but from there, Young showed his paces and had a bowl of odds by the end of the wood. He held his odds repelling O’Brien’s best efforts and was a convincing winner by the end. Denis O’Driscoll won his first round West Cork junior A tie at Drinagh defeating Muiris Buttimer by a bowl for a €2,000 total. Playing out, O’Driscoll’s massive cast from ‘the pond’ was the catalyst for this victory. It gave him a lead of almost two that stood him in good stead as Buttimer found his best form in the latter half of the score. O’Driscoll plays Peter Murray in the semi-final at Durrus. Also, at Drinagh in junior ladies, Rachel Kingston and Marie Russell had a titanic battle that ebbed and flowed throughout. Rachel shaded it in the final throw. A cracker in junior C at Ballinacarriga on Sunday saw the returning, Sean O’Regan, come with seven brilliant closing shots to deny a game Liam Hurley, last shot, for €740.
In novice A at Togher Cross, Finbarr Lynch defeated Paul Kingston and at Kealkil in B, David O’Brien defeated James Hurley. In the B semi-final at Togher Cross on Sunday last, Whiddy’s Sean O’Leary came good again winning a terrific contest with Garoid Crowley, last shot, for €1,600. The return to Inch bowling necessitated by road works at Derrinasafa, will evoke memories of a venue that was a Mecca for bowling followers of a certain generation. Scores in their thousands were played there in the sixties and seventies and among the popular campaigners of the time were Tiger Hurley, Tom McCarthy, Jerry O’Driscoll and Jerry Dwyer. Three 2021 West Cork championship scores were played at Inch on Sunday week. Randal’s ace, Padraigh O’Sullivan turned in a good display to defeat Danny Horgan in U18 boys, Teegan Hurley edged out Shauna Kehily in junior ladies and also in junior ladies Eirinn O’Donovan won from Kate Murray.
In the U16 girls final at Drimoleague, sisters Emer and Niamh O’Connell had a mighty battle with Emer just edging it. Drimoleague too in the novice D semi-final, Brendan Burke defeated Adrian Cronin in the last shot. Remaining on the other side are Michael Collins, Ciaran Murray and Timmy Roberts. At Kealkil on Sunday last, Connie Connolly won the West Cork novice veteran section A final avenging a recent vintage loss to Patsy O’Sullivan. The Drinagh man was two bowls too good in their latest clash played for a total of €1,200. In U14 boys at The Clubhouse Daniel O’Sullivan won from Eoin Hurley and at Durrus in U16, Brian Horgan defeated Sean Cronin. At Ardcahan, Rachel Kingston won the West U18 final defeating Katelyn Sheehan after well-contested encounter.
John Shorten won the Mid Cork junior veterans final at Ballinacurra, Upton, on Saturday defeating old rival, Dan O’Halloran by a bowl of odds. For a combined €1,700, both started in a blaze firing three of the best to the main road where Shorten led by a metre. Kilmurray man, Shorten, pulled away then to lead by seventy past ‘Foley’s’ but was pegged back to almost even tips at the ‘bridge’. The shots past ‘Innishannon cross’ were the turning point. O’Halloran was unlucky with his eleventh breaking left, and it gave Shorten the opening to rise a bowl lead after thirteen. That margin stayed between them to the end. In the Mid novice veteran’s final at Jagoe’s Mills, David Walsh defeated P J McCarthy, last shot. In the Gaeltacht junior A championship at Clondrohid, Jerry O’Riordan defeated Jim Coffey.
There will be twelve in the senior men’s grade for 2022. The only change is the promotion of John O’Rourke, All-Ireland intermediate champion, with the eleven from 2020 retaining their status. Contesting for the game’s premier championship are Michael Bohane, Eamonn Bowen (Jun), Martin Coppinger, Arthur McDonagh, defending champion, James O’Donovan, Aidan Murphy, David Murphy, Seamus Sexton, John O’Rourke, Killian Kingston, Michael Harrington and Gary Daly. There were quite a number of changes in men’s intermediate. Four long-serving campaigners move down to junior ranks for 2022. Forty-four summers have elapsed since the wonderful Christy Mullins contested in junior ranks. The years have rolled and it’s time for a return. Junior A is also an elite grade and all genuine bowling followers hope there may a few more scores in one of the games greatest campaigners. Down too is former senior John Creedon of Ballyvourney, Patrick O’Donoghue of Mallow who won intermediate in 2010 and Rossmore’s Gavin Twohig a two-time winner the last as recent as 2016. Andrew O’Callaghan, junior A champion for 2020 automatically goes up to intermediate while from the west filling big shoes with Christy Mullins’ departure, is Tim Young of Bantry. Tim has the power and ability to make his mark at this higher level and his progress will generate plenty of interest in Drinagh and Bantry. At the moment, graded intermediate for 2020 are Raymond Ryan, Jimmy O’Driscoll, Edmund Sexton, Brian Wilmot, Wayne Callanan, Paul Buckley, Billy McAuliffe, Willie O’Donovan, Donal O’Riordan, Tim Young and Andrew O’Callaghan. There is the possibility that others could join them at January’s regional grading.
Bol Chumann’s Convention night November sanctioned a number of new regulations including the adoption of its Strategic Plan which will be mandatory going forward. These are included under Motions from the Executive.
1. That the Strategic Plan outlined earlier this evening be adopted. This was proposed by Eamon McSweeney and seconded by John Lombard and was carried unanimously.
2. Bol-Chumann na hEireann change its end of financial year to December 31st to comply with regulations from Sports Ireland and other Governing Bodies, when we move our financial year to the 31st of December our Annual Convention will take place in Q1 or Q2 from 2023. This was proposed by Jerome Casey and seconded by Darragh Murphy and was carried unanimously.
3. Bol-Chumann na hEireann appoint a Child Welfare and Safeguarding Officer to deal with Safeguarding, Garda Vetting and be the Contact/Liaison person within the Association for all Child Welfare issues. This was proposed by David Murphy and seconded by Billy McAuliffe and carried unanimously.
4. That any Club who allows a player under 16 years of age in the calendar year play for a stake will suffer a sanction of a fine of 500 euro and be suspended from Fixtures for a month. This was proposed by John O Leary and seconded by Brian Sexton and carried unanimously.
5. Players in the All-Ireland series must wear a Munster Bol-Chumann jersey throughout the score: Sanction for not complying with the ruling would be suspension from partaking in their own grade in the following years Championship. With the amendment that the player gets the jersey at least one week in advance of the All-Ireland finals. This was proposed by Darragh Murphy and seconded by Jimmy Hennessy and carried unanimously.
6. That the Chairman of the Referees panel be nominated as a co-opted member of the Executive of Bol-Chumann na hEireann. This was proposed by Darragh Murphy and seconded by Caroline Smith.
The December Executive meeting announced the appointment of Richie Fitzgerald as Bol Chumann fixtures secretary succeeding the long-serving Harry Jennings. Richie’s appointment was enthusiastically received by delegates, and he brings a wealth of experience to the role having been Carbery’s fixtures secretary for many years. He has proved himself a popular and hard-working administrator both with his local Bauravilla bowling club and with Carbery where his input to the regions off-road track at Skibbereen Showgrounds has been significant. Chair, Michael Brennan welcomed the new incumbent and also paid tribute to departing fixtures secretary, Harry Jennings whom he said ‘performed his duties in exemplary fashion’. The meeting also sanctioned another important appointment when Caroline Smith was tasked with the Child Welfare and Safeguarding role. Caroline, who recently succeeded Susan Greene as chair of Bol Chumann’s women’s committee, will deal with Safeguarding, Garda Vetting and be the Contact/Liaison person within the Association for all Child Welfare issues. Also at the meeting, registrar, Billy McAuliffe, outlined dates and deadlines for 2022 affiliations and grading. January 17 is closing date for all affiliations for 2022 and on that night, regional grading will take place. The three-way grading and overall grading will take place on January 26. Club and player membership fees will be determined by insurance costs which are not yet available to the Association.