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Bowling Report - Week ending 14th April




MACKLE MAKES A STAND AGAINST THE GAMBLERS AT LYRE

The Mother Hegarty Cup senior tournament at Lyre was the big crowd puller on Sunday but there was general disappointment as the much-anticipated joust between Arthur McDonagh and Thomas Mackle failed to ignite. Stakeless at Mackle’s behest, the Armagh man using a Cork overarm swing, was quickly on the back foot falling a bowl of odds behind after three. McDonagh was playing well and deserved his lead but a brief Mackle rally when he lined a big sixth looked like making inroads. That was quickly scuppered when his lofted attempt at ‘Crowley’s corner’ did not get the road and the lethargy that beset him from the off set in again as McDonagh powered on. A big one from the Fermoy man to ‘McCarthy’s wall’ effectively ended the contest. There was real excitement back the road as Cathal Creedon and Alan Brickley went head-to-head in a novice tournament contest that carried an €18,000 total stake. Brickley led early but it was Creedon who was the master from ‘Crowley’s’ onward. A brilliant last shot from the Germany bound Ballyvourney youth set him up for a bowl of odds win. In club action at Lyre on Friday had Beal na Morrive’s Conor Lucey and Castletown’s Jack O’Callaghan renewing acquaintance. They have shared victories in a few hard-fought jousts since the beginning of the year and this one produced another fraught finish with Lucey, who trailed for much of the way, availing of a late error by the Mid Cork man to snatch a dramatic win. Going for a €7,400 total, Lucey faded after a bright start and O’Callaghan, with an excellent brace at ‘the tunnel’ raced to a bowl lead by ‘Crowley’s bend’. The Castletown man still held that advantage when both hit ‘McCarthy’s wall’ but did not drive on from there and Lucey gradually closed the gap. The North Cork man took an unexpected lead for the last shots and then won that vital exchange to take the spoils from an eventful contest. There was compensation for the Castletown camp in the return when Mick O’Callaghan came up trumps beating a massive last shot of Will Harrington’s. An exciting contest carried a €2,000 total stake.

O'FARRELL BACK IN THE GAME WITH VICTORY OVER SEXTON.

The Lowney’s Jewellers sponsored women’s senior championship resumed with group A and B scores at The Clubhouse and Dunderrow. Defending champion, Geraldine Daly consolidated her place at the top of group A with a second win, this time over Meghan Collins. The contest carried a €1,900 total stake and it was Meghan who made the brighter start lining four fine casts that brought her to within an easy throw of the ‘chips corner’. Geraldine trailed here and had a lot to do to stave off a bowl of odds deficit but did so in style with a splendid fifth to sight. It was the catalyst for a good sequence from the defending champion and two big efforts to ‘Dineen’s lane’ had her ahead. Meghan unluckily got no purchase on her throw through ‘Clon cross’ and Geraldine went a bowl clear. Everything went her way from there and a two-bowl difference separated them at the end. When the groups were announced the inclusion of Catriona Kidney created a stir. An All-Ireland senior champion as far back as 2001 and again in 2012 and, in the year that’s in it, a European champion also, Catriona possessed an athleticism and will to win that made her a leading exponent for almost two decades. That she retains these characteristics was evident in her opening group B contest when she took on 2022 Munster senior champion, Hannah Sexton, at Mid Cork venue, Dunderrow on Sunday last. A consistent display saw Catriona ahead by forty metres after eight and held off a strong Sexton challenge to win by a bowl. Both have scores against Ciara Buckley and Maria Nagle in the round-robin series.

HUGE TALENT COMING THROUGH AS SEEN IN TED HEGARTYS FINALS AT THE PHALE ROAD.

Ted Hegarty’s under-age tournaments have long been a mainstay for Bol Chumann’s youths sector. The latest series spanning 2023/24 began in October and, over two hundred and fifty scores later, was brought to a conclusion on Saturday and Sunday last. Eight finals were down for decision, and all again showcased the best young talent emerging from the regions.

First off was the U10 final on Saturday and in opposition here were Jayden Crowley, a rising star bowling out of the North Cork division and Carbery’s Dylan O’Callaghan. Jayden who won this category last year fired a huge second shot and it gave him momentum for the remainder of the contest. Dylan, who had excelled in reaching the final, fired a beauty around the ‘double bend’ but it was not enough to prevent Jayden from making it two in a row.

In the U16 final played later on Saturday, Eoin Hurley (Kilronan) got the better of Daniel Wilmot. Hurley who has been making waves in the West Cork U18 championship having ousted likely contenders, Brian Horgan and Daniel O’Sullivan, rose big odds with a fine cast from ‘Maybury’s’. It got very close at the end as Germany bound Daniel brought it to a last shot but could not overhaul his Dunmanway rival.

Sunday’s six-score programme had plenty thrills and spills starting with a wonderful girls U12 decider. Chloe Hubbard the current county champion in the grade has shone in championship and team events but has hardly been given a sterner test than that provided by Saoirse O’Neill from the Carbery division. Saoirse took a big early lead, but Chloe quickly reeled her in, and the lead changed on numerous occasions in a cracking contest. That vital element of luck was on Chloe’s side as she got away with a tight play at the ‘double bends’ and it gave her valuable leeway for the last shots. Saoirse’s game final effort did not trouble the Rylane girl. A feature of Sunday’s finals was the excellent form shown by two leading exponents on Bol Chumann’s girl’s team heading for Germany shortly. First away was Gaeltacht’s Darcy O’Brien who’s opening two in the girls U16 final against Sophie Murphy, were of the highest order. Another super effort to ‘Maybury’s’ had her two shots up, but it was soon back in the melting pot when Sophie showed her talents with a cracking drive to the ‘tringle’. The greater consistency though lay with Darcy and she withstood Sophie’s best to take a bowl of odds win.

There was a splendid win for the City division when Bella Barry-Twohig won the U14 decider from Lelia Foley. Again, Bella’s start was decisive as an excellent opening brace yielded a bowl of odds lead. Lelia made a great effort to reduce odds over the last third only to make very little headway against an error-free Bella.

A big clash on the day was the girls U18/ladies junior play-off involving as it did the 2023 champions in the respective categories. Ellen Sexton and Ailbhe O’Shea provided fireworks aplenty with Macroom girl Ailbhe firing and excellent opener. Showing power and determination, Ellen’s response was top drawer as she spun a second shot around the double bends with excellent expertise. It gave her a lead she didn’t relinquish but she needed all her power-play to keep her Gaeltacht rival at bay. Ailbhe played too tight at the ‘triangle’ but still kept pressing. Such was the level of performance Ellen was producing, the winner’s prize was always going to Timoleague. A repeat of this showing in Germany will be a huge boost for Bol Chumann’s ambitions in the under-age sector. Tommy Coppinger has started his bowling career with a rare tournament double. The nine-year old son of senior standard-bearer, Martin, has confidence and ability to burn for one so young and, following his Togher Cross U10 tournament win earlier in the morning, he duly annexed Ted Hegarty’s prize with a storming finish. Timmie McDonagh of Fermoy, also has bowling pedigree and commands a fine fluid style of delivery not dissimilar to his father Arthur who later in the day won his Mother Hegarty Cup contest with Thomas Mackle at Lyre. On the downward stretch, Tommy found his groove firing three exceptional shots from just back of ‘Maybury’s’ and these were enough for a bowl of odds win. The last of the day on The Phale Road was another humdinger as three of the best in the girls U10 category vied for the winner’s prize. Cait Young, Bantry, Elsie Flynn, Mid Cork, and Chloe Farrell, Dunmanway had a great battle all the way. Chloe’s second and third did not run leaving Cait and Elsie to fight it out at the front in a magnificent shot for shot duel. Cait was in front at the half-way point, and determinedly held the ascendancy beating big shots by Elsie through the latter half of the score. It came to the final exchanges and Cait took the spoils in an exciting finish. Still to be played are the boys U12 final, Tadg Hickey v Eoin Kelly and U14 Ross O’Brien v Culann Bourke.

At the prizegiving, Ted Hegarty was effusive in his praise for all who make his tournaments possible, mentioning sponsors, Gaeltacht, Mid, Carbery, West, North and South-West regions, The Village Inn and Patrick Courtney. He thanked in particular, parents who year after year, bring their children to participate in the various competitions and who play a big role in ensuring all events are run off efficiently.

Similar to Ted Hegarty but obviously on a smaller scale, John Murphy, Jerry Hurley and the team at Togher Cross bowling club run an annual boys U10 tournament. This too was completed on Sunday with Tommy Coppinger showing his wares to good effect when winning the first of his double for the day. Tommy was given a good test in this decider by Kevin Hickey, Durrus, and needed to pull out all the stops to take the victory. Also in the awards, were semi-finalists, Cillian Murray and Ciaran Farrell.

O'DRISCOLL PROGRESSES TO JUNIOR FINAL.

On a busy week of championship action in the South-West division both junior A and B championships progressed. A big semi-final shoot-out as Shannonvale on Saturday evening had Gavin Twohig and Johnny O’Driscoll vying for place in the final of the junior A championship. On a road where O’Driscoll has been posting big figures in the recent past, he was away again to a bowl of odds lead after four shots. Twohig struggled to find momentum and fell two adrift in the shots to ‘Desmond’s cross’. The Rossmore man challenged on the downward stretch, but O’Driscoll held his ground and was a comfortable winner at the end. The stake money amounted to €10,000. On the other side, Jordan O’Sullivan plays Jimmy O’Driscoll. Meanwhile in Junior B, John O’Driscoll and Ger Connolly went head-to-head at Ballygurteen on Friday. In a stakeless joust, Connolly started with a piledriver and held close to a bowl of odds after four. O’Driscoll recovered well from a shaky start and fired two of the finest on the straight from the ‘women’s lane’ to ‘oakmount avenue’. These had the effect of wiping out Connolly’s lead and turning the score in the Clon man’s favour. O’Driscoll won by close to a bowl and will play David Hegarty in the competition semi-final. Alex O’Donovan and John Joe Crean will contest the second South-West junior B semi and Ballygurteen will be hosts for all scores. Earlier in the week, the novice veteran grade progressed with scores at Lyre. On Monday here, Toss Ahern came from a bowl down to advance at the expense of Niall Crowley and David Nixon came through against Donal O’Sullivan. On Tuesday, also in novice veteran, Seamus White played a fine score to deny form man, Michael Harrington. At Grange in novice D, Kevin O’Reilly defeated Pat O’Mahony for €800 and Felim O’Neill defeated Donal McSweeney. In the novice A championship at Fisher’s Cross, Gary Lombard defeated Stephen O’Connell, in the last shot. In South-West novice C at The Pike P J O’Driscoll defeated Ger Sheehy.

The West Cork junior A semi-final at Durrus had last year’s county B winner, Noel O’Regan in against Bantry’s Muiris Buttimer. Going for a €1,920 total, O’Regan took control with big third and fourth shots from ‘Glanlough cross’. These pushed him a bowl of odds clear of his Bantry rival and, hard as Buttimer tried, he could not make inroads. O’Regan’s Togher Cross clubmate and defending champion, Peter Murray plays Denis O'Driscoll in the second West Cork junior A semi at Kealkill. In the West Cork novice veteran championship at Drimoleague, Jan Tessyman defeated Barry O’Donovan and on the Inch road, in novice D Paul Walsh defeated Darragh Kehilly. Here too in U18 Niamh O’Connell won from Clara O’Driscoll. In U14 at Bantry, Brian Murphy won from Timmie Gibbons.

MURPHY REVERSES PREVIOUS WEEKS RESULT.

The first of the Mid Cork junior A semi-finals went ahead at Ballinacurra, Upton on Sunday and it produced a riveting contest between two protagonists who had duelled in the host club’s tournament final just the previous weekend. It gave Kieran Murphy the opportunity to turn the tables on tournament winner, Noel O’Donovan, and he duly did after a heard-fought duel that carried a €2,900 total. Murphy held sway early on before O’Donovan took the lead by ‘Foley’s’. The lead changed over the next sequence before Murphy made a big break with a super eleventh. It pushed him a bowl clear and, although the margin came back to thirty metres as the line neared, the Templemartin man had enough in reserve for a last shot win. In Mid Cork novice D at Ballinacurra, Upton, Ronan Hoey defeated John Madden and, in a return double here, Chris Hayes teamed up with Tim Maloney to defeat Birol Kat and Colm O’Regan, last shot, for €1,600. In novice D at Castletownkenneigh Damien Healy defeated Bernard O’Callaghan and in the same grade at Newcestown, Eoin O’Callaghan defeated Darragh Looney, two bowls, for €1,000.

In City junior A at Templemichael, Trevor O’Meara defeated Paddy Stokes by a bowl for €3,350 and in a return here, Michael O’Donnell defeated Rico O’Brien, last shot, for €2,100. In City junior veteran at Curraheen, Dave Mackey defeated Christy O’Donnell by two bowls. At Paddoes in novice veteran, Pascal Bowen defeated Birol Kat and Michael Twohig defeated Dave Sugrue. In a scores at The Bog Road, doubles, Maurice Connolly and Stephen Bowen combined to defeat Declan O’Leary and Mark Long one bowl for €1,200 and in a singles joust back the road, Denis Connolly defeated Stephen Cahill, last shot, for the same stake.

In the Gaeltacht championships at Clondrohid two novice veteran scores saw wins for Noel Murphy and Tony Healy. Murphy defeated Tim Kelleher, last shot, for €800 and Healy got the better of Niell Murphy. In novice D scores at Baile Mhuirne, Aidan Barry defeated Brendan O’Donoghue and Donal O’Shea defeated Brian O’Riordan. O a busy weekend at Clondrohid, Patrick O’Connor defeated Gerald Kelleher in novice D; Conor Creedon won from Eoin O’Riordan by two bowls, for €500; Shane Buttimer defeat Tim O’Riordan in novice C and Kieran Doherty defeat Cian O’Callaghan in novice D.

In the North Cork novice C championship at Ballinagree, Shane Dennehy defeated Daniel O’Sullivan and, in a return here, Aidan O’Sullivan defeated Jim Martin. In North Cork scores at Berrings, Paul Twomey had a double over Liam McCarthy, both last shot, for stakes of €2,600 and €2,200. At Bweeng, Patrick Sexton won from Conor Roche for €440 and Jim Martin got the better of Mickey McAuliffe for €500. At Firmount in the North Cork U14 championship Culann Bourke won from Thomas O’Donoghue. In Kilcorney in novice C Billy Healy defeated Clifford O’Flynn by a bowl and back here, James Collins won from Luke Philpott.

MURPHY TOPPLES MCDONAGH IN JUNIOR A CHAMPIONSHIP.

In the North East junior A championship at Carrignavar, Timmie Murphy defeated Timmie McDonagh. In North East novice D at Doneraile, James Carrol won from Jake Bowen.

At Ballincurrig mid-week Michael Wall defeated Michael O’Donnell by almost two bowls, for €1,600.

Bol Chumann’s senior men’s Road team of ten will carry a big burden in terms of bringing home a medal haul from the forthcoming European Championships. Individual gold and top team placings in our own game are the barometers for success and while the Irish have some tangible advantages in that it is the discipline they are most familiar with, the continentals bring awesome athleticism and a fierce will to challenge our best. This was evident two years ago at Meldorf when it took superhuman performances from Seamus Sexton and James O’Donovan to thwart a determined FKV team. Likewise, at Ootmarsum in 2016, David and Aidan Murphy were put to the pin of their collar to relegate Holger Wilken to third place in the individual ranking and in Pesaro 2012 it was David Murphy again who led the way along with silver medallist, Raymond Ryan in heading a very strong NKB team lead by Aarian Hasink. Our own staging on the Bandon road in 2008 was the of course the harbinger of Irish dominance when David Murphy began his Gold Medal winning odyssey leading home a team that took nine of the top ten placings. Mick Young and Michael Toal were second and third in a ground-breaking performance. It was a timely breakthrough after the FKV had whitewashed our best at Westerstede in 2004 and, with the championship returning for the first since then to the powerful German Association’s home patch, the Irish can expect a hot reception. To this end it is heartening to see a very committed turn-out at the continuing Road trials and last Friday at Castletownkenneigh bore testimony to a good team spirit. Absent of course but presumably engaging in preparations under their own tutelage were team starters Thomas Mackle and Colm Rafferty of the Armagh contingent. Leading lights in the offensive against the Germans, Dutch and Italians will be Seamus Sexton, Martin Coppinger, James O’Donovan, Gary Daly and Michael Bohane while David Murphy although present has not fully recovered enough to participate. The three-time Gold Medal winner is hopeful to be ready in three week’s time. This week’s trials centre on the Moors and German Loft while one more Road session is pencilled in for next week. In a correction to last week’s European Championship report, Emma Hickey and Rosin Allen were inadvertently omitted from the panel line-ups. The full compliment comprises of 33 players, men and women, boys and girls

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