COPPINGER AND CRONIN STRONG FINISH SWINGS FEATURE SCORE
International fund-raisers, organised by Bol Chumann ladies committee, had a four-score clar at Castletownkenneigh on Saturday. Mixed doubles were the order of the day in the feature scores with the majority of those participating already selected on teams bound for Germany. First away was the clash of Martin Coppinger who combined with Hannah Cronin against Gary Daly and Ciara Buckley of North and North-East regions respectively. With a total of €2,160 at issue and with the new start line at the ‘bridge’ in operation, it was Daly/Buckley who had the early lead forging thirty ahead after two. That early dominance wasn’t maintained and three in succession of the poor variety had them on the hind foot to the tune of seventy metres. While Coppinger was instrumental in getting his side in front, he missed a chance to consolidate when his effort past he ’old pub’ went right. Player of the Year, Ciara Buckley hit a good cast to the ‘double gates’ and the north-north/east duo led briefly again on the way to ‘forsion’s cross. Hannah Cronin, who was consistent all through, fired a great effort to regain the lead for her partnership. Martin Coppinger, with his sixteenth, hit a good loft and it rose a bowl of odds when Ciara’s effort went right. The upshot was a bowl of odds victory for the West Cork duo. A return double saw Jim Coffey and Tom Reaney combine to defeat Kevin Coughlan and Ronan Hoey by almost three bowls for €2,800. Tommy O’Sullivan and Veronica O’Mahony took on Tim Young and Geraldine Curtin in the second of the mixed doubles shoot-outs at Castletownkenneigh and it was very even for the opening third. The lead exchanged several times with Young/Curtin holding a five-metre advantage at the novice line. The score changed dramatically in the shots away from the bend at ‘O’Leary’s’ and it was O’Sullivan’s power-play which was instrumental in turning it in his side favour. From a more or less even contest, O’Sullivan’s bullet-like cast to the double bends rose a bowl of odds and with Veronica O’Mahony in fine form also, a second shot of odds soon came between them. There was no way back for Young/Curtin after that explosive sequence. They played for a total of €2,900.
TWO BIG DRIVES SECURE VICTORY FOR BOURKE
There was junior action at Beal na Morrive on Saturday. North Cork’s Mark Burke and Gaeltacht’s Eoin O’Riordan were the protagonists here and delivered a good score in trying conditions. Burke was in control early but was on the back foot when O’Riordan lined a fine effort coming on to the ‘straight’ that brought a first-time lead for the Macroom man. It was short lived however as Burke regained the initiative with two cracking drives that covered the entire straight. These brought the Berrings man from hind bowl to a commanding shot of odds lead and he repelled O’Riordan’s best over the final third to take the spoils. They played for a total of €1,500.
CHAMPIONSHIPS FALL FOULD TO STORM ISHA
An extensive Sunday programme of championship and tournament scores was almost entirely wiped out by storm Isha. One that did survive was a tournament score at City venue, Curraheen, where Eoin McCarthy, Ballineen, and Kieran Corrigan, Robert’s Cove, braved the elements. McCarthy made the better start firing three good openers to the first bend at which point he had the bones of a bowl of odds with Corrigan taking four. The Ballineen man then missed down to the next junction but got away with his misplay when his opponent also missed. Subsequently, Corrigan made good efforts to level it, but McCarthy was defiant and held a full bowl of odds at ‘the bridge’. Nothing changed over the last segment and the spoils from a testing encounter went to the Ballineen man. They played for a total of €1,000.
West Cork’s championships had a big early season clash when Eoin Hurley (Drinagh) brother of Paudie Palmer Youth’s Award winner, Emma, took on strong contender, Eoin Murray, Togher Cross in the C grade at Drimoleague on Saturday. The weather conditions may have been far from benign, but this was a score filled with an abundance of unexpected twists and turns, creating a rollercoaster of excitement and unpredictability. Playing in, to the village, Murray, a contender in novice B up to recently, started in a blaze with two exceptional opening shots and, with Hurley struggling at that early stage, the margin in favour of the Togher cross man was over two bowls of odds. It looked an enviable task for the Drinagh man, but he was aided when a collapse in form from Murray in the next exchanges saw the gap close. With the margin halved, Hurley upped his game with a fine cast towards to no-play lines and, incredibly, found himself level as Murray’s travails continued. Both were at their best in good bowling away from the lines before Murray took a stranglehold again with a splendid cast around the bridge. More errors and another rally from Hurley had them level once more with three to go. The Drinagh man had the better of those fraught closing exchanges and eventually took the spoils and a place in the second round by a good fore bowl. They played for a €2,100 total. Sunday’s scores at Drimoleague were cancelled as were championship scores at Drinagh, Durrus and Togher Cross. All scores will be re-fixed and will slot in alongside already scheduled fixtures on an extensive January/February programme issued by regional secretary, Paudie Hurley. On the list for next weekend is the meeting of Daniel Hayes (Kilronan) and Finian Hurley, Ballineen, at Togher Cross and Kieran O’Sullivan, Bantry and Alan Crowley, Dunmanway, at Ballinacarriga, both in the novice D championship. Coming up too this weekend is the clash of Derrick Jagoe, Drinagh, and Luke Cato, Dunmanway in novice C at Kealkil while Togher Cross have a first rounder in the same category when Con O’Sullivan, Kilmichael, and Brendan Burke, Bantry take issue. A big first round novice C clash on the February Bank Holiday weekend takes place at Ballinacarriga when Germany bound, Jonathan Deane, takes on the ever-improving Bantry contender, Sean Cronin.
BOWEN TAKES FIRST BLOOD IN CITY CHAMPIONSHIP
There was championship action in the City division at the weekend when the novice veteran grade got the 2024 season going at The Bog Road. Stephen Bowen of Whitechurch and Darren Moynahin, Ballyvolane had a good tussle for a €600 total. A strong finish by Bowen ensured a two-bowl victory here.
BOL CHUMANN OUTLINES A BUSY 1ST QUARTER OF 2024
Bol Chumann’s first executive meeting of the New Year included an outline of what will be a busy opening quarter with dates underlined for events up to the end of March. Changes too to the team bowling format were revealed as well as the decision to give the competition All-Ireland status from 2025 onwards. Commencing in the regions shortly, team bowling play-offs will consist of teams of three instead of the previous four. Competing teams must be aligned to one club and be comprised of one from novice C and two from the D grade. A substitute may be nominated from the D grade. Covering the longest distance over ten shots will determine the winners. Regions have been advised that they may have two teams representing at the overall county team finals which have been pencilled in for Sunday, March 24th at their usual venue Castletownkenneigh. In addition, the top three from the overall finals will compete in a special competition at the junior C/novice All-Ireland weekend on September 7th/8th.
COURTMACSHERRY TO BE RESURECTED FOR NOVICE & JUNIOR C ALL-IRELANDS IN SEPTEMBER
It has been confirmed that the London region will host the 2024 All-Ireland junior C/novice finals but under the South-West umbrella at a famed old bowling road adjacent to Courtmacsherry. This is the forerunner to 2025 when all regions including overseas will submit teams to contest for All-Ireland honours in a team championship which will replace junior C. The junior C grade will then move to one of the regular north/south All-Ireland slots in July/August. Sunday February 25th is the date for the 2024 inter-regional youths team play-offs. Regional trials are ongoing to determine the top three in boys U14/U12/U10 and girls U12/U14/U16. The Denis Kelleher Shield will be up for grabs when they all come together at The Phale Road, Ballineen on February 25th. A date has yet to be confirmed for the inter-provincial under-age team finals at Newcastle, Co. Dublin. These will also take place in the coming weeks. Castletownkenneigh bowling club has a club All-Ireland fund-raising programme at their venue on February 17th/18th while Bol Chumann has a further three-day series aimed at international fund-raising scheduled for St. Patrick’s weekend. This will stay with the tried and trusted format of three-regions coming together to organise a programme of scores.
Still on the European Championships, James O’Driscoll confirmed that the schedule of events for the 17th games at Newharlingerseil, Germany, in May is as follows. Opening and parade of competing nations on Thursday May 9th, Dutch Moors finals Friday May 10th, Road Bowling Saturday May 11th, German Loft, Sunday May 12th, Depart Monday May 13th.
Bol Chumann Uladh has the first north-south confrontations of 2024 when they host an eight-score Youth Development find-raiser at Madden, Co. Armagh on February 3rd / 4th. The Marsh Road clubs ‘Dowtcha Boy’ festival of bowling on a date to announced is also on the itinerary for February/March. Bol Chumann ladies have planned for their first ladies/girls’ morning of 2024 and have pencilled in Bottlehill in the North-East division as the venue. Saturday February 10th at 10.30am is date and time for all lady bowlers’ adult and under-age to assemble with particular emphasis on those from North Cork, North-East, City and East divisions. All are welcome.
CARBERY RETAIN JOHNNY O'DRISCOLL MEMORIAL TITLE.
The Johnny O’Driscoll memorial survived the elements with seventeen bowlers from Carbery, Gaeltacht and West Cork divisions contributing handsomely to a five-score programme that often produced passages of top-class bowling at The Marsh Road on Saturday last. Carbery, with West Cork’s Alan Brickley amongst their line-up, were convincing four-one winners, thus avenging a defeat of similar proportions by the Gaeltacht at last year’s event in Clondrohid.
Colm Crowley, partnered by Brickley, were quickly into their stride against Gaeltacht’s youthful duo, Germany bound, Liam Murphy who combined with Cill na Martra’s Cillian Kelleher, in the days feature which carried a €6,800 stake. Crowley’s opener from the start line at Ballyhilty was a screamer and a two-bowl margin separated them at ‘Jim Hurley’s corner’ as the Gaeltacht men’s accuracy left them down. Brickley’s piledriver from ‘Bohane’s cross’ ensured a comfortable win.
Schull’s Cian Bowen played a huge role in getting Carbery off to a winning start using his under-arm style to line outstanding shots past the ‘concrete’ and again away from the ‘bridge’. Patrick Crowley gave excellent support in a one bowl win over Gaeltacht’s veteran campaigner, Paudie Murphy who was partnered by Diarmuid Lucey. Murphy returned to the fray and was instrumental in levelling the series when, accompanied by Lauren O’Brien, a hard-fought doubles win was secured against Sidney Shannon and Triona Murphy. After being put in a good stand by Lauren, Murphy’s thundering drive with three to go won it for the Gaeltacht. The rest of the day belonged to Carbery. Following Crowley and Brickley’s success, the Leap/Rosscarbery duo of Kieran O’Sullivan and Sean O’Neill gave the home side an unassailable lead with a last shot win over Niall Murphy and Jamie McCarthy. O’Sullivan’s big effort to the avenue gate on the inward route was important but O’Neill’s accuracy overall was the deciding factor. James McNulty was another to relish the rain. In the final score of the day, a singles duel with Gaeltacht’s very strong, Mattie McDonagh, the Union Hall man, was inch-perfect in his deliveries and won by almost two. The organisers express their gratitude to all who contributed on the road and in providing sustenance during the interval. The Johnny O’Driscoll Memorial was presented to Carbery’s captain, Richie Fitzgerald, by Adrian O’Driscoll. West Cork Rapid Response were the beneficiaries of a four-figure sum from the day’s bowling.
Rosscarbery’s Sunday score, the first in the new Michelle Hayes junior B tournament, David Hegarty v Brendan O’Neill, was deferred due to weather. Schull’s Mick Flor Cup tournament score also fell victim to storm Isha.
The first of two Carbery team bowling play-offs will take place at Schull on Sunday morning next. The rule change in operation this year sees teams of three competing with the regulation also requiring all team members to be representatives of one club. Teams will consist of one from novice C ranking and two from the D grade. The winning trio will be one of two selections representing Carbery in the overall team finals at Castletownkenneigh on March 24th. Competing teams are advised to bring their club bowls. Throw-off at Schull on Sunday 28th is 10.00am.