On a momentous night at The Celtic Ross Hotel Gretta Cormican’s induction into the West Cork’s Sports Stars Hall of Fame was a highpoint in the extraordinary career of bowling’s leading lady and a significant recognition for the sport itself. The Awards celebrated their 25th anniversary and it was perhaps fitting that its very first overall winner should now enter the pantheon of its greatest achievers. Kieran McCarthy of the Southern Star, co-hosts of the event along with C103 and the Celtic Ross, catalogued the various stages of Gretta’s life-long involvement in the sport she loves. It began with participation in a boys U16 competition on her home road, Lyre, progressed to her role in setting up stand alone competitions for women under Ból Chumann’s auspices in 1980, her Gold Medal winning performance in Germany in 1984 and seven senior All-Ireland championships. Right to the present her commitment is unwavering as she fills the secretarial position in the South-West division, likewise with the Ladies committee, is the sports photographer within its membership and continues to partake in its championship programme playing now at intermediate level. On receiving her Award from special guest, Brian Cody, Gretta expressed her shock at the announcement and said it was similar to winning an ‘Oscar’. She thanked all involved with the Sports Awards and her family too for their support through the years.
Bowling was well-represented among the galaxy of stars who attended. Hannah Sexton’s exceptional debut year in senior ranks saw her win the county senior title at the first attempt and this achievement was recognised with the June monthly award. Darragh Dempsey and Rachel Kingston both won Gold in the U18 sector at the European Championships in May and were honoured with the mid-summer quarterly youths award. There was poignancy too as tributes were paid to the late Paudie Palmer who was foremost in promoting the Awards from the outset. Congratulations are extended to outright winners for 2022, World and European rowing champions Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy and to dual football and camogie star Millie Condon who won the Paudie Palmer Youth Award.
On a weekend of many weather-related cancellations tournament action at Beal na mBlath and Lyre and junior A championship scores in the City garnered most attention. Carbery’s Donal Crowley came out on top in the Beal na mBlath three-way on Sunday defeating Mick Murphy and Sean Kiely to clinch a place in the upcoming final. Despite the unpleasant conditions all three gave of their best with sprightly septuagenarian, Murphy, holding sway to the tune of forty metres by ‘Bradfield’s cross’. Crowley turned the score in his favour with a monster effort at ‘Dan Joe’s lane’. It put him a bowl clear of his rivals and he held his odds to the end. They played for a total of €1,500. Donal Crowley will play last week’s winner Michael Carroll and the winner of the remaining three-way, Kevin O’Crualaoi v Sidney Shannon v John O’Mahony in the overall decider. Upgraded Tommy O’Sullivan defeated Andrew O’Callaghan at Lyre. For a €2,000 total, O’Sullivan made early headway going almost a bowl up after five to the ‘tunnel’. He built on this rising the shot and odds with it as they played to ‘McCarthy’s bend’ leaving O’Callaghan with too much ground to make up. Back here, City junior A, Patrick Stokes, defeated intermediate graded Wayne Parkes by two bowls for a €6,000 total stake. At Templemartin Michael Desmond defeated Shane Collins, last shot, for €1,500. County novice 1 winner from 2019, Collins, was on top for much of this contest but Desmond stayed close enough to stage a late rally and win the day. At Ballinacurra, Upton, Dan O’Halloran showed he has still got it with a fine performance in defeating the in-form Johnny O’Driscoll by a bowl of odds for a combined €1,400. At The Bog Road Eamonn Bowen took the spoils from his contest with Wayne Callanan. It was a last shot win for the Carrignavar man but Callanan did have chances in this one as he held handy odds at different junctures. They played for a €2,200 total.
In the Jerry O’Donovan Memorial tournament at Carrignavar, a doubles competition, Padraigh Scanlon/Billy Cahill defeated Billy Connolly/Billy Daly last shot for €900 and Tom O’Callaghan/Tom O’Donovan defeated Joseph Murphy/Michael Sheehan last shot for €520.
In regional championship action, the City junior A got underway at Whitechurch. In the opening score in the round-robin series, Trevor O’Meara had a big win over an off-form, James Nagle. A strong start by the Togher player gave him big leeway on the former Carbery champion. They played for a total of €300. Nagle will have a second chance in the four-man group format. Sunday’s junior A score between Craig Moynahin and Michael O’Donoghue did not take place. In City novice veteran, Denis Connolly defeated Finbarr Ross at Whitechurch. In the City division at Paddoes, Ray O’Keefe defeated David Spillane by a bowl for €300 and Jeremy Downey defeated Jason McCarthy, last shot, for €600. Two scores in the Mid Cork novice D championship at Newcestown resulted in wins for Teddy Murphy and Shane Desmond. Murphy got the better of Paul Walsh for a €1,200 total while Desmond won a close battle with Tommy Maloney for a combined €1,500. At Jagoes Mills, Joe Lynch defeated Stephen Murphy in the last shot, for €700.
In Mid-Cork novice veteran at Ballinacurra, Upton, Jerome O’Mahony defeated Pat Spillet and Fionn Dwyer defeated Mick O’Callaghan.
In West Cork novice C at Bantry there was a home win for Damien Hurley who defeated Eoin Murray, Togher Cross in the last shot. In the same grade at Ardcahan, Corneilus O’Mahony defeated Paudie Crowley, last shot, for €1,400 and Barry O’Donovan defeated Joseph O’Mahony, by a bowl. In a third novice C championship score at Ardcahan, Sean Cronin defeated Sean Sheehan by a bowl for €900. At Kealkil in C John O’Regan defeated David Hourihane and in D, Rickard O’Donovan won from Jamie Nyhan. In the South-West division the novice A grade progressed at Timoleague where Ivan Buchannon was impressive in a one bowl win over the strong Stephen O’Connell. Championship scores went ahead too in the Gaeltacht division. At Ballyvourney in novice veteran, Tim Kelleher defeated Pat Healy and Thomas Murphy won from Richard Browne. In novice D at Clondrohid, Anthony O’Donoghue defeated Darren O’Brienn and in U18 Luke Lyons won from Daniel Murphy. Two strong contenders contested in novice A at Cill na Martra. Last year’s county U18 runner-up Cillian Kelleher won his battle with the player who won the All-Ireland in the U18 category in 2018, Colm McLoughlin.
In North Cork’s novice C championship at Beal na Morrive on Saturday John Walsh got the better of Jim Martin in the last shot of a good score. They played for a €640 total. In a return here, Adrian O’Connor defeated Ross Lynch by a bowl for €800. At Ballinagree in the D grade, Jerry Hubbard defeated Alan Sexton and Dan O’Regan defeated Matty Martin in novice veteran. The Conna club in East Cork hosted two scores in the novice veteran grade. In the first of these, Pat Murphy won from Tom Reaney and, in the return, Tadg O’Driscoll defeated Leo Hegarty. In the North-East division at Doneraile, Shane Buckley defeated Shane Canavan.
Skibbereen Bowling Club’s ‘Dowtcha Boy’ festival takes centre stage this coming weekend.
The Marsh Road is the venue for a seven-score series which will be played over Saturday and Sunday. Local interest will be at a premium for the opening score when teenage European Champion, Darragh Dempsey will take on experienced Mid Cork junior A campaigner, Denis Wilmot at 10.30am on Saturday. The festival which also serves as a fund-raiser for Skibbereen Geriatric Society will conclude on Sunday afternoon when the feature score between Aidan Murphy and Gary Daly gets underway.
There was shock and sadness in the bowling community on Monday morning March 6 when the news came through of the untimely passing of Pat Buttimer. Known and respected throughout the county as a formidable force on the bowling road in the seventies, eighties and nineties, and in later decades as an administrator and mentor with Bantry Bowling Club, Pat left an indelible mark on the game. Pat’s bowling career began in the Mid Cork region in the early seventies and he won the U18 there in 1973 with a narrow victory over John Crowley at Enniskeane. He went on to contest Mid Cork novice A and junior B finals. A Kilmichael native, Pat transferred to the West Cork division in the early eighties, and he reached the peak of his powers during this period. He played at intermediate level and won the Moxley Cup, then a signature tournament played on the R586 east of Drimoleague when the late Vin Forbes was at the helm. An extraordinary run that brought him eighteen victories in succession was eventually ended by a defeat to Mick O’Driscoll, Reenascreena, at Connonagh, but his high-powered displays saw him selected alongside senior standard-bearers such as Bill Daly, Michael Buckley and Christy Mullins on Bol Chumann’s international team for the 1984 European Championships in Garding, Germany. Pat was a member of a dominant team that won Gold on the Road and on the Moors. On his move to Bantry, Pat was immediately involved in the local bowling scene. He nurtured the game among the youth including his son Muiris whose successes has seen him attain junior A ranking in the region. In recent months Pat was a guiding light within Bantry bowling club as the Mick Eoin Cup was concluded and the new senior tournament was progressed. A devout family man, the loss is greatest for his wife, Kay, son, Muiris and daughters, Niamh, Shauna and Katie and immediate family circle to whom sincere sympathies are extended. His many friends from the bowling fraternity accompanied him to his final resting place at the Abbey Cemetery, Bantry, on Wednesday last. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis.