Michael Bohane’s clash with David Murphy is an interesting first-round tie to emerge from last Wednesday night’s senior championship draw. The 2022 champion will surely relish the challenge and that it is being played on the road where he achieved his greatest triumph will be an extra spur. The Carbery man will, of course, be aware of what Murphy, a previous four-time county winner, can bring to their Lyre clash. They met in last September’s King of the Roads semi-final where, despite making the ‘big turn’ in ten quality shots, Bohane still lost out in the three-way that also included German, Ralf Look. Bohane-Murphy is one of four opening round scores announced all carrying their own intrigue. Little has separated Seamus Sexton and Gary Daly in any of their previous set-tos and, with both aiming for a first title, their Templemichael meeting is an important starting point. 2020 champion, Arthur McDonagh is currently on a winning run and will be fancied against Michael Harrington at Ballincurrig. An extraordinary run of success at junior A and intermediate level has seen John O’Rourke begin his second season in premier ranks and he will be looking to make the most of the opportunity when he comes up against 2016 champion, Killian Kingston, at Carrignavar.
The full first-round draw reads: Michael Bohane v David Murphy at Lyre; Seamus Sexton v Gary Daly at Templemichael; Killian Kingston v John O’Rourke at Carrignavar; Arthur McDonagh v Michael Harrington at Ballincurrig; Byes to Aidan Murphy, James O’Donovan, Martin Coppinger, Patrick Flood. Five intermediate round draws pave the way for the quarterfinals.
Tommy O’Sullivan and Brian Wilmot repeat their RNLI fund-raiser clash when they re-engage in what could be the score of the round at Caheragh. An interesting Gaeltacht tie has Pascal Buckley and Andrew O’Callaghan in opposition at Terelton. Billy McAuliffe and Wayne Callanan meet at Ballincurrig and another newcomer to the grade, Tom O’Donovan, Belgooly, goes head-to-head with Tim Young, Bantry, at Rosscarbery. Last years junior A champion, John Creedon will test his mettle against Eamonn Bowen at Bweeng. The full draw reads; Billy McAuliffe v Wayne Callanan at Ballincurrig; John Creedon v Eamonn Bowen at Bweeng; Tom O’Donovan v Tim Young at Rosscarbery; Brian Wilmot v Tommy O’Sullivan at Caheragh; Andrew O’Callaghan v Paul Buckley at Terelton. Byes to Donal O’Riordan, Wayne Parkes and Raymond Ryan.
North Cork girls and West Cork boys were winners at The Phale Road on Sunday morning last where conditions were ideal for Bol Chumann’s inter-regional youths team finals. The event, making a welcome return after a two-year pandemic induced break, brought twelve teams from across the county all of whom contributed to an enjoyable morning’s bowling. Showcasing their skills were county and regional champions, rising stars in the U10 and U12 categories and some exciting talents just getting acquainted with the game. It was a competitive eighteen shot shoot-out in both boys and girls classifications. Chloe Hubbard, Rihanna Collins and Jena Healy were wonderfully consistent over the course and their tally of 1,224 metres was good enough for a well-deserved North Cork win. Carbery’s trio of county U12 champion, Maebh Cuinnea, dual regional winner, Emma O’Leary and the excellent Saoirse O’Neill were twenty-four metres behind in second place while a battling Mid Cork with Sophie Murphy, Rosin Allen and Anna Deane, all to the fore, edged out Gaeltacht for third place. Daniel O’Sullivan showed why he is county U14 champion when giving a towering performance for West Cork boys. He was assisted in no small measure by Tadg O’Farrell and Brian Murphy in amassing a winning total of 1,393.2 metres, thirty-three ahead of a very strong Gaeltacht team that had All-Ireland U12 champion, Ross O’Brien in their ranks. Dylan O’Shea and Eoin Kelly were good too as Gaeltacht threatened top spot with a blistering start. Just a fraction of a metre separated third from fourth with Mid Cork’s Jack Allen, Tadg Hickey and James Murphy pipping Carbery’s Tom McCarthy, Dylan Baker and Brian Harrington for the medals. Association chair, Michael Brennan, had words of praise for all involved and John Kelleher presented the winning teams with the Kelleher shields.
Martin Connolly took the Denis Moynahin Shield after a dramatic finale to the overall vintage play-off at Ballinacurra, Upton, on Sunday afternoon. B section winner, Donal Harnedy, brought his Bantry form of the previous week to the opening phase of this three-way that also included C champion, Pat Scanlon. Carrignavar man, Scanlon, despite throwing a fine opener, lost ground on his higher graded rivals as they played to the ‘main road’ by Brinny cross. Harnedy set the pace with three big casts rising a bowl of odds on Scanlon and seventy metres on junior ranked, Connolly. The Carbery man got a huge touch with his seventh that doubled his lead on Scanlon and increased his margin to one bowl on Connolly. The Bandon native hinted at a comeback with a big effort to sight past the ‘GAA pitch’ but Harnedy still held sway firing an excellent delivery past ‘Innishannon cross’. Whatever good fortune the Skibb man enjoyed with his seventh suddenly deserted him when his well-played twelfth never got traction. Connolly fired an excellent effort from the ‘cross’ and suddenly he was within metes of the long-time leader. He took an unexpected first-time lead when Harnedy missed his second last and crowned his day with a big final cast over the finish line. Bol Chumann’s James O’Driscoll thanked the host club and encouraged people of all ages to continue playing. The Ballinacurra play off did not carry a stake.
In senior action at Corrin, Fermoy, there was a home win when Patrick Flood overcame Seamus Sexton in the last shot. Going for a total of €8,740, Sexton had early momentum going a bowl oof odds up after six. In a twenty shot score, Flood recovered ground in the second half and eventually won in the final exchanges. In intermediate at Whitechurch, Tommy O’Sullivan defeated Eamonn Bowen, last shot, for €10,000.
The vintage play-off aside it was a busy weekend at Ballinacurra, Upton. Not least in significance was the completion of an old Monorone club tournament that had been under the radar for a few years. The once prominent Bandon club is now no more and Ballinacurra was the chosen venue for the final decider between the last two left in the competition, Sean Murphy and David Hubbard. It was a tight affair on Saturday forenoon with the North Cork man, Hubbard, spurning a chance with a wayward second. He compensated with a big third to the ‘main road’. Hubbard still held sway until Murphy’s huge seventh past ‘Perrot’s’ saw a swing around. The local man, Murphy, stayed in front despite a super effort of Hubbard’s to Innishannon cross and that trend didn’t alter over the closing third. Neither could be faulted for effort but shots didn’t run or were slightly misplayed as opportunities came and went. Murphy held on for a sixty-metre win and the winners prize from the eighteen shot score. They played for a total of €2,200. In a doubles back the road, Declan O’Donovan (K) combined with Deccie O’Mahony for a win over the City pairing, Tom Reaney and Damien Burns, last shot, for €2,000. After that, Kenneth Murphy, kept a good run going winning his tournament score with Noel O’Regan, for €3,200. O’Regan led at ‘Foley’s’ but Murphy, thanks to a huge cast at ‘Perrot’s’, finished stronger and won by the shot.
Sunday was tournament final day at Lyre and for the second weekend running Gaeltacht’s Micheal O’Callaghan was on the wrong end of a thrilling contest. David Walsh was in the opposing camp for this veteran’s tournament decider that carried a €3,000 total stake. Playing on the lower road, both men were in excellent form reaching the mason’s hill in three. In bowling of a high order, they went level to Knockskeagh school. From here Walsh fired two exquisite efforts to take a sixty metre lead but O’Callaghan responded with a powerful cast to ‘Ballinscarthy cross’. It looked a likely lead for the Gaeltacht man at a critical juncture but Walsh beat it by a small margin and had enough in the tank to beat a good last shot and take the winners prize. In junior action at Shannonvale, Johnny O’Driscoll, produced top class fare in defeating Ger Connolly, by a bowl of odds for a €1,200 stake. At Newcestown, Joe Madden defeated Kevin Coughlan.
The Gaeltacht championships have commenced. In a junior B contest at Cill na Martra, Terry Mallon overcame Frank Kiely by a bowl for €1,400. The Armagh native was a bowl down to his Macroom rival after the opening quarter but rallied successfully to take the verdict. Kiely will have a second chance in the second-round back-door format. Anthony Lynch defeated Shane O’Driscoll for an €1,100 total in a return here. Also, at Cill na Martra in novice veteran, Richard Browne defeated Donal O’Connell. In Gaeltacht novice veteran at Clondrohid, Pat Healy defeated John O’Callaghan. In the West Cork championships, Brian Horgan looked strong in his win at Drinagh. Last year’s U16 county runner-up reached the ‘church’ in four excellent shots to rise winning odds on Conor O’Donovan. There was an excellent contest in novice C at Ballinacarriga where on Saturday, Eoin Murray just held off the challenge of Seamus O’Sullivan. Gloun’s Paudie Crowley won his novice C first round tie with Darren Cronin at The Clubhouse. A good contest played for a €900 total saw them level in five each to the ‘chip dump’. From here, Cronin threw an exceptional effort almost to ‘Dineen’s lane’ but he undid his good work with a mistake at Clon cross. Crowley fired three big ones from ‘Murray’s’ onward and they ensured a place in the second-round draw.
Finally, a shout-out to Ireland’s U20’s who sold out Musgrave Park for their thriller with France on Friday night, with special mention for their outstanding scrum-half, Fintan Gunne. In keeping with West Cork’s ascendancy in the rugby world, Fintan, from Terenure, is a young man with Drinagh blood in his veins. His grandmother, Ann, sister of Bol Chumann’s James O’Driscoll, hails from Derryclough. Fintan is not unfamiliar with the ’28’ and has been known to throw a shot or two down the lane at his ancestral homestead. We wish him and his teammates continued success.
Photos by Dan McCarthy