BRAGGING RIGHTS GO TO SEXTON IN HEAVYWEIGHT TIE.
An eagerly awaited Mother Hegarty Cup clash at Lyre on Saturday had Seamus Sexton and Michael Bohane in opposition in what was a rematch of the 2022 senior championship final played at the same venue. On that momentous occasion the exchanges at the outset had a big bearing with Bohane’s electric start giving him momentum for a historic first county victory. In sharp contrast on Saturday last, it was Sexton who was out of the blocks in imperious style firing two splendid openers which gave him a seventy-metre lead. Bohane tracked a third-shot beauty which knocked the odds to ten, but his next brace drifted to the right, and he was playing a catch-up game again. Sexton’s fourth to ‘the tunnel’ was an excellent delivery and had him in a perfect stand to make ‘Crowley’s bend’ in three more which he duly did in a display of smooth, fast, accurate play somewhat reminiscent of what he produced on that glorious gold medal winning day on the Suderhastedt road in Germany last May twelve months. Bohane for his part did not give up the ghost and had a small chance to keep it level throwing seven, but, trying too hard, saw his effort again hit the right-hand brow and now the bones of a bowl of odds separated them. Sexton duly rose the shot with a fine effort across the ‘double bend’, but Bohane kept pressure up with a perfectly pitched eighth to ‘McCarthy’s bend’. Sexton missed that and there was a chance for the Carbery man again throwing eleven, but a seemingly well-played drive veered left, and Sexton’s lead remained intact. The north Corkman, whose fine following contributed to the €12,400 total stake the contest went for, finished as he started, lining two exceptional closing shots to win by a clear bowl of odds.
COPPINGER REVERSES RESULT AT GRANGE.
On to Grange on Sunday the latest instalment in one of the games great rivalries unfolded when Martin Coppinger and David Murphy went head-to-head in a Willie Whelton Cup tournament contest. Their pulling power remains undiminished, and a packed road saw the pair throw off from the Lislevane start line for a €6,000 total with Murphy the hot favourite on the back of a couple of a recent successes over his Bantry rival including that late June championship final victory at Ballincurrig. The county champion looked in the groove again spinning an excellent opener that gave him an immediate fifty metre lead, but it did not herald the expected dominance. Coppinger rebounded with a superb second shot that came close to sight at the ‘stud farm bend’. Murphy missed well and needed a touch with his third to stave off a big deficit. Murphy’s fourth got the perfect ‘rub’ off ‘Holland’s wall’ and he was back in front to the tune of thirty metres facing west to ‘DeBarras’. A few average exchanges followed with Murphy not making the most of an opportunity or two to consolidate and, when he missed Coppinger’s sixth, the Bantry man was in the ascendancy again. A bullet-like seventh on the incline and a lofted eighth at the ‘school-house cross’ gave Coppinger commanding odds and, when his ninth from this juncture escaped from the right-hand verge to run well past ‘O’Sullivan’s’, a bowl of odds came between them. Murphy tried with a great effort from here, but Coppinger replied with an even better cast and increased his lead. Showing some of the form that, on his day, makes him such a formidable force, the Willie Whelton Cup holder powered on in impeccable style repelling Murphy’s best efforts as he closed on a victory by a margin that was close to two bowls of odds.
HUGE LAST SHOT GIVES O'DRISCOLL VICTORY AT GRANGE.
Earlier in the day at Grange, a winter tournament was concluded with a three-way decider involving Johnny O’Driscoll, Noel O’Regan and David Hegarty. Carrying a total stake of €9,150, O’Regan fired a super opener from the Grange tavern start line rising big odds on both opponents. This transferred to a bowl lead on O’Driscoll and almost that on Hegarty by the half-way point at ‘the school cross’. The contest underwent a transformation at this point with Hegarty, who fired an excellent effort on the rise to ‘DeBarra’s’ and then O’Driscoll who upped his game with a big sequence to the ‘novice line’, both closing on the long-time leader. It was O’Driscoll who made the greater progress eventually overhauling O’Regan and taking a fifty-metre lead on Hegarty with four to go. In an exciting finale, O’Regan regained the front for the last shots only for O’Driscoll to fire the score winner from thirty back. It was an exceptional effort that beat the finish line from the ‘stud farm bend’. O’Regan had a virtually impossible task and missed by thirty metres. Hegarty’s game performance got him the third-place prize.
EXPLOSIVE FINISH GIVES BUTTIMER VICTORY AT BALLINACURRA.
At Ballinacurra, Upton, on Sunday morning, in a junior B tournament semi-final, Adrian Buttimer’s explosive finish got him ahead of an unlucky Ger Connolly. For a €3,500 total, Shannonvale man, Connolly, had the better of it early on, marginally ahead in three to the ‘main road’, but significantly, in a commanding position a bowl and fifty metres in front following an excellent sequence in the bowling past ‘Perrot’s’. Buttimer began a comeback charge with a big cast to the ‘GAA pitch’ which reduced the margin to the even shot. What followed was unprecedented on the road. Buttimer’s piledriver from here got him sight at the bend beyond ‘Innishannon cross’, a cast that levelled the score. Another around to ‘Cronin’s avenue’ put him in front, but Connolly fired an exceptional drive almost to the finish line that seemed sure to put him back in the lead. Buttimer, however, buoyed by his previous brace, hit another exceptional effort that not only beat Connolly’s mark but scored out the last line to set up a tournament final meeting with either Johnny O’Driscoll or Kenneth Murphy. Also, at Ballinacurra, two Saturday two doubles saw Anthony Gould and Tom Reaney share the spoils with Jim Coffey/Mike Casey, both last shot for €3,400 and €3,800. Also here, Jim Coffey defeated Anthony Gould, one bowl, for €6,000 and Tom Reaney defeated Mike Casey, last shot, for €2,300.
LUCEY'S WINNING TRAIL CONTINUES.
A cracking contest at Beal na Morrive saw Conor Lucey prevail against Jack O’Callaghan, last shot, for €2,480. Having trailed for the opening two, Lucey fired a massive third which was instrumental in rising a bowl of odds in six to the point know as ‘the rock’. O’Callaghan’s staged a great rally covering the straight in two making big inroads on Lucey’s lead in the process and it was looking good for the Castletown camp when he forged ahead for the last shots. Lucey, though, had the final say firing a super last throw that won the day and preserved his recent unbeaten run.
At Curraheen there were wins for John Donnellan and Evan Buckley. Donnellan won from Tom O’Donovan for an €1,100 total while Buckley got the better of Anthony Cody, last shot, for €600. At Jagoe’s Mills, Colm O’Regan defeated Pascal Bowen for €700. In scores at The Bog Road, Willie O’Donnell and Stephen Bowen combined for a doubles win over the Connolly’s Maurice and Denis, one bowl, for €2,400 and Jeremy Downey won from Tom Connolly, one bowl, for €600.
Novice E’s continue to provide end of season entertainment. In the Gaeltacht, at Baile Bhuirne, Ron Lynch won from Enda Lucey and Brian Twomey won from Conor Lane. In a novice ladies semi-final here, Cliodhna Murphy won from Kate Moynahin. North Cork was busy too with E scores at Firmount. Here, Tadg Bradley defeated Thomas Barrett, last shot, for €900 and Dave Harrington defeated Patrick Spillane for €740. At Beal na Morrive, Mickey McAuliffe defeated Will Harrington, last shot for €1,200 and, in a doubles contest, Kieran Buckley and Paul Walsh won from Jerry Hubbard and Pat Fitzgibbon, last shot, for €1,080.
GAELTACHT MEMBERSHIP HITS ALL TIME HIGH.
West Cork and Gaeltacht divisions reflected positively on their respective seasons at regional AGM’s during the past week. Micheál Masters report at Gaeltacht’s meeting at the Abbey Hotel on Wednesday 8th detailed an action packed twelve months in which clubs, players and punters all played their part in ensuring a demanding championship programme was completed on time. The exceptional success achieved by the region’s bowlers in 2022 when All-Ireland titles were won in four separate categories had a spin-off in a significant increase in membership which Mr. Masters said was now at all-time high. The region was also boosted by the addition of new club Inchigeela. While the regions champions did not scale the heights of the previous year there was plenty to celebrate in Ailbhe O’Shea’s thrilling win in the county junior lady’s championship final while Lily Scannell, runner-up in U12 girls, Michéal O’Céallachin, novice veteran and Liam Murphy novice B were all county finalists. The secretary thanked the clubs and fellow officers for their cooperation. Eamonn McSweeney who serves as chairman and treasurer presented a meticulous report on the region’s finances. Baile Bhuirne native Association runai, Michéal O’Céallachain, oversaw proceedings and thanked the region for their work and continuing support. Returned to serve in the Gaeltacht for the coming year are Chair, Eamonn McSweeney; Secretary, Michéal Masters; Assistant Secretary, Mary Browne; Treasurer, Eamonn McSweeney; Safety Officer, Niall Murphy; Children’s Officer, Teddy Bradley.
WEST CORK REFLECT POSITIVELY ON THEIR SEASON.
The Parkway Hotel, Dunmanway, was the venue for West Cork’s AGM where chair, Christy O’Donovan welcomed Bol Chumann’s James O’Driscoll and club delegates to hear their annual review. Secretary, Paudie Hurley outlined the various activities undertaken in an exceptionally busy year when eighteen championships were completed plus the additional novice E which is currently ongoing. The regions champions achieved exceptional success in 2023. Highlights were the All-Ireland victories achieved by Ardcahan affiliated, Brian Wilmot, who won intermediate honours as well as several tournament successes, Drinagh’s Emma Hurley who thrilled her huge following with the U16 All-Ireland and Brian O’Driscoll, who in the most trying of personal circumstances, won novice 1 at Killea. Also, Noel O’Regan’s incredible run to county glory in junior B, David O’Brien’s terrific Novice B win and Eoghan Hickey’s U12 county triumph were major accomplishments for the region. Martin Coppinger and Donal O’Riordan reached respective county finals in senior men and intermediate. The region looked forward to celebrating their successes at The Parkway Hotel on Saturday 25th when it hosts Bol Chumann’s Presentation Night. On the back of benefit weekends in June and October, John Murphy’s treasurer’s report showed the regions finances in good shape. The region mourned the passing of some of their most prominent personnel during a twelve months that had its share of sadness. These included, Teddy O’Driscoll, Pat Buttimer, Charlie Donovan and Donal O’Driscoll. James O’Driscoll congratulated the region on their trophy haul from the championship season and thanked clubs and regional officers for their continued promotion of bowling at all levels. Officers elected to serve for 2024 are President’s Con Young and Jim Conin; Chair, Christy O’Donovan; Vice chair, John Coveney; Secretary, Paudie Hurley; Treasurer, John Murphy; Fixtures, Martin O’Donovan; P.R.O. Donal O’Mahony, Register, Paudie Hurley; Ladies Committee, Erinn O’Donovan and Hannah Cronin.
RIP PEADER TUNNEY
The bowling community at home and abroad, mourned the passing of Mayo’s Peadar Tunney. From Cushin near Westport, Peadar was a bowling man through and through and, for many years the beating heart of Aughagower club, host of countless All-Ireland junior C and novice finals. He was one of the leading lights in the formative years when these finals began their odyssey back in 1992. That they have stood the test of time is in no small way due to the foresight and commitment of Peadar Tunney. He was chairman of Mayo bowling when that inaugural hosting and the report on the day highlights the congratulations offered to Peader by then north and south Association chairmen, Jerry Desmond and John Gribben, on the success of the weekend and on the work of a highly disciplined and motivated committee. Peader worked in tandem with Willie Carroll, David Hughes and many other to ensure the sport of bowling stayed alive and vibrant on the western seaboard. Peader was a bowler of repute in those times and contested in the finals at Drogheda in 1993 where he reached the novice 2 decider by virtue of a cracking semi-final win over London’s Dan Joe McCarthy and home representative, Martin Briscoe. All-Ireland honours eluded him though as Ulster’s John Lennon prevailed in the final. Peadar’s genial manner and pleasant demeanour endeared him to bowling followers everywhere and his passing, coming soon after the departure of Mick Kennedy, severs another link with the golden days of the early nineties. Bol Chumann extends it sympathies to his wife, Belinda, to Maria, Peter, Triona and Susan and extended families.
PRESENTATION NIGHT AT THE PARKWAY FOR 2023.
Bol Chumann’s November executive meeting announced that the Association’s annul Presentation Night will be held at The Parkway Hotel on November 25th at 8.00pm. On the night, championship finalists from twenty-five separate grades will be acknowledged for their achievements with a pictorial montage and there will be special Award made to male and female Player of the Year, Personality of the Year. The prestigious Hall of Fame Award will also be presented. Tickets are priced at €35 and are available from West Cork chair Christy O’Donovan (0868784759) or Gretta Cormican (0872143388).
Also announced was the deferral of the vintage play-off to Sunday December 3. This has come about due to injury and pre-planned holiday arrangements on the part of finalists. Fisher’s Cross is the designated venue and contesting are sectional winners, A, Christy Mullins, B David Walsh and C, Jack Cahalane.
DEADLINE FOR AFFILIATIONS CLOSES ON NOVEMBER 20TH.
Carbery’s affiliation meeting for the 2024 bowling season is on at The Corner Bar on Monday November 20th. This is the deadline for championship entry and members are requested to have signed forms returned by that date. There is an onus on clubs to contact their affiliated membership to ensure everything is in compliance. Club affiliations are also being accepted on the night. Insurance and championship fees have remained as they were for 2023 with those for junior and novice set at €60. Club affiliation is €350 while for those participating in both veteran and vintage, the levy is €55. Vintage alone is €25. U18 boys and girls fee is €25 with no additional cost if playing in an adult grade. For all other under-age the cost is €10. For non-playing members it is €10 and Unlimited Bowlers €5. Regional grading of players for the 2024 season will also take place on Monday night. Grading decisions will be subject to ratification at Bol Chumann’s overall grading meeting on November 29th.
MIXED DOUBLES GET UNDER WAY AT THE MARSH ROAD.
The opening score in the Marsh Road clubs mixed doubles tournament resulted in a win for the Bauravilla brother and sister pairing of Gavin and Aisling Crowley whose bowling for the road was exceptional. Leap’s Kieran and Nicola O’Sullivan tried their utmost but trailed by over two bowls at the finish. After Gavin’s thunderbolt on the downward stretch from Thornhill cross, Nicola did well to limit the damage to a bowl of odds with a fine cast to ‘the steps’. Two more of the best from Gavin and Aisling doubled the margin and there was no way back for the Leap duo after that.
There was a fine turnout on the upper Marsh Road on Sunday for the first morning of under-age trials which will determine Carbery’s team for the county inter-regional play-offs next February. With plenty of talent on show, there will be competition for the boys U10 slot with Darragh Gleeson, Dylan O’Callaghan, Jack Fitzgerald, Lucas Cahalane, Liam O’Sullivan and Ed McCarthy all in the frame. Championship winner, Brian Harrington is ahead in U12, but Dylan Baker is making a strong bid. Tom McCarthy played well and is looking good for the U14 spot. The girls were no less competitive. Rosscarbery’s Rosin O’Sullivan was excellent in U12 with Skibb’s Lauren McCarthy and Ciara Harrington, Caheragh also in strong contention. Again, regional champions Meabh Cuinnea and Emma O’Leary, showed up best in U14 and U16. The next trial session is scheduled for December 3rd again at The Marsh Road.
Marsh Road: Mixed doubles tournament, Gavin/Aisling Crowley defeated Kieran/Nicola O’Sullivan, two bowls.
Lyre: Mother Hegarty Cup: Seamus Sexton defeated Michael Bohane, one bowl, for €12,400; return, Darren Harrington defeated Stephen Spillane, two bowls, for €3,600.
Grange: Winter tournament final; Johnny O’Driscoll defeated Noel O’Regan and David Hegarty, both last shot, for €9,150; Willie Whelton Cup: Martin Coppinger defeated David Murphy, one bowl, for €6,000.
Jagoe’s Mills: Colm O’Regan defeated Pascal Bowen, last shot, for €700.