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Bowling Report - Week ending 19th May


Bandon and Ballyvourney communities came out in numbers to celebrate their Gold Medal winning European champions on their return from Germany. James O’Donovan whose individual achievement was the highlight from an Irish perspective and Daniel Wilmot who was part of the youth’s gold medal winning team were feted at Allen Square on Wednesday evening. M.C and chief organiser Corney O’Leary introduced a range of speakers, Bol Chumann chair, Willie Murphy, Caroline Smith, Ladies chair, Seamus O’Tuama, James O’Driscoll, Fr. Finbarr Crowley all of whom extolled James’ passion for sport and the all-round versatility which has seen him star with Bandon’s hurling and football winning county teams as well as bowling. Also receiving copious mention was his background in the game, his father and grandfather both leading players of their generations while James O’Driscoll emphasised the value of winning on the European stage. James’ hoped that Irish senior men would quickly regain their place at the pinnacle when the championships will be hosted in Ireland in 2028.

It was a similar story at Ballyvourney on Friday when Gaeltacht’s successful foursome were introduced to a big gathering. Liam Murphy, Cathal Creedon, Darcey O’Brien and Rachel Desmond all played their part in Germany but it was the superb Murphy who stole the show with his power-packed gold medal winning performance on the road for Ireland’s youths team.


Bowling’s 2024 intermediate championship is underway but with three of the eight first round scores not taking place for one reason, or another the competition will not gain any momentum until the quarterfinal round. One particular first round fixture that commanded quite a bit of interest was the meeting of All-Ireland veteran champion and former senior, Philip O’Donovan and the 2023 junior A champion, Denis O’Sullivan and they went head-to-head at Grenagh on Saturday last. Despite being underdog, O’Sullivan was the master here. O’Donovan’s misplayed second cost him early leeway and, when O’Sullivan lined a superb sixth a bowl of odds came between them. O’Donovan did rally around the half-way mark and threatened to level but could not maintain his momentum. Another piledriver from O’Sullivan to ‘bula’ doubled his lead and there was no way back for O’Donovan after that. In the quarterfinal, Denis O’Sullivan plays Tommy O’Sullivan who came through his first rounder with Eamonn Bowen at Newcestown. Ballinagree is the venue for this quarterfinal shoot-out.


On the previous weekend at Bottlehill Patrick Stokes ended John O’Rourke’s interest in the championship. In a stakeless contest, Stokes took control from the third shot onwards and had a bowl of odds after six. By the ‘Lady’s well’ he had extended his margin to almost two and there was no way back for the 2020 champion after that. In the quarter final, Stokes plays the winner of Billy McAuiffe/Paul Buckley whose first rounder at Firmount was delayed due to the European Championships. For the same reason, Andrew O’Callaghan v Wayne Parkes is still to go at Baile Bhuirne. The winner here plays Donal O’Riordan who received a w.o. from Raymond Ryan. The remaining last eight fixture has Tim Young and Wayne Callanan in opposition at Newcestown both having come through without having to contest against Tom O’Donovan and John Creedon.


The two preliminary round scores in the county junior A championship went ahead. At Grenagh again, on Sunday morning, London’s Patrick O’Driscoll staked his claim with a commanding performance in eclipsing City worthy representative, Cian Boyle. A former intermediate standard-bearer, O’Driscoll set his stall out with a big sixth and turned on the head further with the proverbial ‘miler’ at ‘Murphy’s farm’ by which point he was a bowl and fifty metres clear. Boyle kept it competitive in the ensuing exchanges, but O’Driscoll countered his best and won by the bowl. They played for a €2,400 total and O’Driscoll now has a quarterfinal joust with South-West’s Johnny O’Driscoll at Ballyvourney..

Post-match on Sunday evening at Castletownkinneigh, the second preliminary went ahead between, West Cork’s Noel O’Regan and Gaeltacht’s Eoin O’Riordan. Again €2,400 was the total stake and it was the West Cork man who started best rising commanding odds with his first four that would stand him in good stead to the finish. O’Riordan fought it well in the subsequent shots but could not close the gap and that shot of odds still separated them around the bends to the no-play line. O’Regan was assured over the closing quarter and won by well over the bowl. A quarterfinal assignment against Carbery’s champion, Darragh Dempsey, is next up for O’Regan. Earlier in the day at Castletownkinneigh a junior veteran preliminary round had Gaeltacht’s Denis Cooney in against former All-Ireland winner in the grade, West Cork’s Chris O’Donovan. Cooney emerged the winner here for a €1,000 total. Cooney is now through to the county junior veteran semi-final by virtue of Carbery not having a representative.

A catch-up following the European Championships sees regional championships having made significant progress. In West Cork the U18 final went ahead at Drinagh on Sunday and here, international panellist in Germany, Jonathan Deane, gave a polished display in a two-bowl win over Sean Cronin. It was their second championship meeting this year having already had a close-quarter battle in novice C at Ballinacarriga in April. Deane narrowly won that day but his win on Sunday was far more clearcut thanks in the main to a super start that had him at the ‘church bend’ in four and sight a the ‘blacksticks’ in four more. He got away with a few, but his deliveries were smooth and powerful for the most part leaving Cronin who bowled a solid, competent score, well adrift. In what promises to be a competitive county series, the Dunmanway youth will be a contender should he maintain this form. The stake money at Drinagh amounted to €600. Cronin defeated Shane Hurley in the semi-final at Togher Cross.

Down the age-group a cracking U14 regional final went ahead at Bantry and here, Conor Hourihane of the home club just got the verdict from a gallant Brian Hurley. Still on finals in West Cork the section 2 novice veteran decider was on at Ballinacarriga and here, a man with local connections making a welcome comeback, Patrick O’Sullivan just edged out Donal O’Mahony.

On May Bank Holiday Monday at Drimoleague two long-time campaigners met in the West Cork novice veteran grade. Michael Carroll, Gloun, and Finbarr Lynch, Ballinacarriga, are no strangers and again delivered a good contest. Carroll won in the last shot for a €900 total. On the same day, Alan Keane defeated David Cotter in novice B, last shot, for €2,000 and, in D, Timmie Roberts defeated Connie O’Connell. Fachtna Keane’s roller-coaster run continues in novice D after surviving a tough third round battle with Martin Dullea at Durrus and, here, too in C, Garoid Cronin defeated John O’Sullivan, last shot for €600 and Daniel Hayes (Drinagh) defeated Johnny Collins, last shot, for €500. In a clash of two likely novice C contenders at Ardcahan, Danny O’Donovan prevailed against Sam Kingston. In the U16 championship at Ardcahan, Kieran Crowley won from Oisin Wiseman and Jack McCarthy got the better of Conor Linehan. In C at Togher Cross, John O’Regan defeated Con O’Sullivan, last shot, for €1,400. In a score in the novice veteran grade at The Clubhouse, Damien Hurley overcame Con McCarthy and, in the same competition at Inch, Jim Cronin defeated Seamus O’Sullivan for €400. In the novice B championship at Drinagh, Seamus O’Regan defeated Brian Hurley. At Togher Cross in novice C Kevin O’Sullivan defeated Shane Hurley and, at Drimoleague, also in C Darren Cronin defeated Joseph Cato and in D, Oisin Murphy-Hurley defeated Alan Crowley by two bowls, for €500. In novice B at Derrinasafa, Peter Kelly defeated Michael A Cronin and in C at The Clubhouse, John O’Regan defeated John O’Brien. At Kealkil in D, Kieran O’Driscoll won from Patrick O’Sullivan while in U16 at Ballinacarriga, Ethan Hurley won from Oisin Murray and Aaron Hurley won from David Russell. In the last of a hectic schedule in West Cork, Whiddy’s Connie O’Leary defeated James O’Driscoll in the last shot of a second-round novice veteran score at Kealkil. They played for a total of €500.


David Hubbard is North Cork junior B champion after a tough battle with upgraded Shane Collins at Kilcorney. Going for a €2,800 total, Hubbard rose a bowl of odds at ‘Coleman’s bridge’ and it stood him in good stead in tight exchanges to the finish. Hubbard plays the North East regional winner in the county quarterfinal round. Meanwhile in Junior A North Cork, Dean Sexton and Mark Bourke will contest the final after concessions by Edmund Sexton and Vincent Kiely. In the Gaeltacht girls U18 final at Clondrohid, Lauren O’Brien won a good contest from Orla Murphy. Also in the Gaeltacht, there was a turn-up in the novice veterans final at Clondrohid on Friday when Tony Healy from Macroom defeated competition favourite Noel Murphy by a bowl of odds. For a €1,200 total, a tight score was suddenly turned on its head when Healy hit a screamer to the ‘Bell Inn’. The upshot was a bowl lead for he Macroom man at ‘Kelly’s’ and another in similar vein to ‘Geoff’s lane’ sealed his win.

Tournament action continues in tandem with the multitude of championship scores and one completed on European championships weekend was the Joan O’Donovan Memorial junior B competition at Ballinacurra, Upton. Kenneth Murphy and Adrian Buttimer were in opposition here and it was Buttimer who made the better start taking a handy lead to ‘Brinny cross’. Murphy’s two big ones to the ‘gas line’ put him in front and, when Buttimer’s seventh caught the right, a bowl of odds separated them in Murphy’s favour. It was a big turning point as Murphy took the winner’s prize by a shot of odds.


At Lyre in a big money shoot-out David Hegarty showed his mettle in inflicting a rare defeat on north Cork’s Shane Collins. The county junior C champions of 2022 and ’23 went head-to-head for a €16,000 total and the decisive exchanges came in the shots to ‘Crowley’s corner’. Hegarty was the master here rising a bowl of odds with his seventh and eighth and he withstood a strong Collins challenge over the second half of the score to take a merited win. At Jagoe’s Mills in the junior tournament, Brendan O’Neill got back on the winning trail with a last shot win over Peter Murray for a €1,600 total and back the road here, Kevin Walsh defeated Tom Reaney also last shot for €1,200.

In Mid Cork the junior A final is on this week at Ballinacurra, Upton, between Kieran and Sean Murphy. On the previous weekend at Beal na mBlath Bryan O’Halloran won the junior B final after a thrilling contest with John A Murphy. For a combined €1,700, it went shot for shot in six each to ‘Bradfield’s cross’ and stayed in that vein to the three-quarter point. Two big bowls to ‘Dan Joe’s lane’ brought O’Halloran from hind to a forty metre lead and he held the front despite big pressure from Murphy. O’Halloran will play the East Cork winner in the county rounds quarterfinal. In the novice B championship, Conor O’Donovan defeated 2023 county C champion, David Desmond at Ballinacurra for a €1,800 total and in the same grade at Beal na mBlath, Kevin Coughlan defeated Newcestown’s James Kelleher, one bowl, for €1,000. In A, Chris Murphy defeated Jack O’Callaghan. In the B grade at Templemartin, Ronan O’Donovan defeated John Hickey in the last shot for €2,200. In the South-West division, David Hegarty is through to the junior B final following a comprehensive over John O’Driscoll at Ballygurteen. Hegarty plays Alex O’Donovan in that decider. In South West novice B at Fisher’s Cross, Stephen O’Connell defeated Eoin McCarthy.


The death has occurred of John Aldworth, Ovens, widely known and respected among his community and among the bowl-playing fraternity throughout the county. His passing after a long and well-lived lifetime leaves a void among the elder generation who follow the sport diligently week after week. John’s involvement in and connection to bowl-playing spanned over eight decades. It was an interest that never faded. Right up to his departure, the ongoing championships, the make-up of teams competing in Europe and the various goings on at tournament level were topics discussed at his bedside. It was a very different world when John began attending scores in his locality. The lengthy contests of the forties and fifties played on the road between Kilumney and Aherla when the bicycle was the main mode of transport, were John’s early introduction to bowling. He revelled in the big score atmosphere and was soon involved with the Kilumney club along with Vincent Spillet, John Twomey and John Fogarty. John refereed countless under-age scores on the road, always encouraging and offering helpful advice. John was a close confidante of one of the greats of Mid Cork bowling, Dan Joe Holland enjoying his many successes but was left devasted then at Dan Joe’s sudden death on The Pike bowling road while in the midst of throwing a score. John’s resilience shone through, and, with the encouragement of his son Finbarr, he continued to be part of the bowling scene, a popular attendee and engaging conversationalist at all the major events. Bol Chumann extends it sincere sympathies to Finbarr, to Geraldine, Paul, Joe, Francis and Annie. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam Dilis.


Mourned too is Corney O’Mahony of O’Mahony’s Bar Newcestown, a man with a great passion for and dedication to bowling in all its forms. Corney welcomed bowlers from far and wide to the countless scores played outside his door and his spacious premises was a haven for many an after score gathering. He was an informative, witty raconteur when describing the vagaries of the game and wasn’t slow in pointing out the faults and failings in a performance. His genial presence will be missed. The bowling community extend their sympathies to the O’Mahony family. Rest in Peace.


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