COPPINGER AND MURPHY REACH LAST FOUR. Martin Coppinger and Aidan Murphy are through to the semi-final round of the senior championship after wins at Templemartin and Baile Bhuirne. Four-time champion, Coppinger, won in emphatic fashion at the Mid Cork venue on Saturday evening defeating championship debutant, Patrick Flood, by a three-bowl margin and in doing so showed much of the power and ability that has marked a stellar career at this level. Their previous head-to heads since Flood’s elevation to senior ranks had indicated a closer contest and the Fermoy youth did remarkably well to fire a splendid fourth to sight at ‘Slynne’s corner’ that staved off what looked a certain bowl deficit following Coppinger’s barnstorming start. The reprieve was brief and a poor fifth gave the Bantry native an opening he didn’t spurn. Lining shots of ferocity, Coppinger turned a thirty-metre lead into a two-bowl plus advantage in the bowling up the rising road to the ‘schoolhouse cross’. Flood tried but to no avail and another big brace from Coppinger to the ‘stonefield bend’, a point he reached in ten, had him in an unassailable position. He was the punters favourite in the €1,800 total stake.
Baile Bhuirne, on Sunday, hosted the quarterfinal clash of cousins Aidan Murphy and John O’Rourke. Murphy, an All-Ireland winner as recent as 2019, suffered a downturn in form following that triumph, but is now back to his best following a spate of recent wins that included the Mother Hegarty Cup at Lyre. He showed early against O’Rourke who carried confidence following his dramatic first round win over Killian Kingston, rising a fifty-metre lead with a brilliant second shot. Murphy held that odds through the first half as a competitive battle unfolded. O’Rourke threatened another shock win with a massive drive at the novice line. This brought the Rylane man in front for the first time, but Murphy responded in the best way possible firing two efforts onto and past the junior line. These not only regained the lead but put daylight between them to the tune of almost a bowl of odds. Little changed in the remaining segment as Murphy held his odds and won by almost a bowl. Their contest did not carry a stake.
Brian Wilmot confirmed his dominance over Tommy O’Sullivan when they met in an intermediate championship first round score at Caheragh on Sunday. For a whopping €15,000, Wilmot was away to a forty-metre lead after two big shots to the ‘church’ and rose a bowl of odds when O’Sullivan got a short fifth. Making his championship debut at this level, O’Sullivan, made a brave effort to reduce the odds with a super sixth and did succeed in keeping the margin under the bowl to the three-quarter stage. Wilmot’s massive tenth put paid to any comeback hopes and the Bandon man looks a strong contender as he heads for a quarterfinal meeting with Eamonn Bowen at Castletownkenneigh.
Tom O’Donovan’s withdrawal through injury deprives the championship of a potential blockbuster with Tim Young at Rosscarbery. The Bantry man goes through to a quarterfinal clash with his clubmate, Donal O’Riordan, at Bantry.
The county rounds in junior B promise a series of lively confrontations in coming weeks if the preliminary round score at Beal na Morrive on Sunday last is an indicator. City’s Noel Gould and Gaeltacht’s Terry Mallon were in opposition here for a stake of €5,000 and it was the City man, a county junior A winner in 2002, who exploded into action rising commanding odds after Mallon’s opener unluckily caught the lefthand grass margin. This transferred to a bowl lead after three before Mallon got in the groove with big fifth and sixth shots to knock the odds to sixty metres. Gould’s tenth extended his advantage and he rose the bowl again with two to go. It was enough to set up a mouth-watering quarterfinal joust with Carbery’s in-form champion, Shane Shannon.
Regional finals pave the way for the remaining last four matchups. Johnny O’Driscoll brought all his experience to bear on a big win in the South-West final at Shannonvale on Friday. Facing David Hegarty and Ger Connolly, the former junior A All-Ireland winner, was in scintillating form reaching ‘Desmond’s cross’ in seven quality shots. Hegarty and Connolly gave chase and were a shade unlucky not to make it out in equal figures. Close on a bowl up here, O’Driscoll extended his lead with four of the finest from this juncture. His two-bowl margin at ‘Campbell’s’ was unassailable. He will need to bring his best again to Curraheen for his county quarterfinal clash with East Cork’s Michael Wall. The stakemoney at Shannonvale amounted to €1,500 x3 plus €8,700 (Hegarty-O’Driscoll).
The Mid Cork junior B final was also decided on Friday. Ballinacurra, Upton, was the venue for the meeting of Noel O’Donovan and Bryan O’Halloran. Going for a €2,200 total O’Halloran shaded the tips in four each through Brinny cross before O’Donovan took a commanding seventy metre lead with a perfect sixth to the ‘gas line’. It was a turning point as O’Donovan went on to rise a bowl at ‘Perriot’s’ and, while O’Halloran fought it well in the bowling past ‘Innishannon cross’, his Valley Rovers rival would not be caught as he drove on to win by almost two.
Dean Sexton the North Cork champion will provide another big test in the county quarterfinal at Inchigeelagh.
Kealkil was the venue for the West Cork junior B final on Saturday evening. Noel O’Regan and Adrian Buttimer fought this one out in rip-roaring style with both men holding the ascendancy at different points. It was the favourite in the €1,800 total stake, O’Regan, who had early momentum before Buttimer fired a beauty around ‘Carriganass bridge’ to move into pole position. Gloun man, Buttimer went on to rise a bowl lead by the old ‘Garda house’ and repelled O’Regan’s best efforts to knock it as they played on to the home straight. Here, O’Regan fired a sensational cast that wiped out Buttimer’s lead with three to go. Buttimer regained the fore bowl with a fine second last but O’Regan had the final say winning that last dramatic exchange by a mere four metres. O’Regan will play either Timmie Murphy or Tom O’Callaghan who contest the North East final, in the county quarterfinal at Castletownkenneigh.
The county rounds have begun too in girls U16. Mid Cork’s Rosin Allen is through to the county semi-final after her quarterfinal round win from a determined Julie O’Sullivan, the East Cork winner.
A lady’s intermediate quarterfinal at Beal na mBlath on Tuesday saw Chloe O’Halloran deliver another big performance in securing a last four show-down with Juliette Murphy or Lisa Hegarty. The Innishannon lady has been showing some of her best form in the group stage scores and followed up in the same vein at the Mid Cork venue against another who has been playing well, former champion, Louise Collins. Chloe fired three big openers to set her on her way at Beal na mBlath. Louise tried but five of the best to ‘Bradfield’s cross’ from O’Halloran put her out of sight.
O'SULLIVAN MASTERCLASS WINS WEST CORK U-16 HONOURS Brian O’Sullivan, Johnstown, is West Cork U16 champion for 2023. A superb performance at Togher Cross mid-week saw him overcome Daniel O’Sullivan, Ardcahan, last year’s outstanding county U14 winner. A well-contested championship that had sixteen starters ended with Brian giving a masterclass from the second shot onwards. He will face North Cork’s Shane Dennehy, in the county quarterfinal at Clondrohid. Also in West Cork under-age, at Bantry in U12, Eoghan Hickey of Durrus, ended the good run of Tommy Coppinger at the semi-final stage. Tommy, son of senior contender, Martin, has a few more years in the grade and gave his all, but Eoghan, who has been impressive since qualification for the team bowling play-offs at Newcastle earlier in the year, had that bit more in terms of experience. The Durrus boy play’s Tadhg O’Farrell in the upcoming final. Tadhg is through after an unlucky Jamie Wiseman had to withdraw through injury. In U12 girls, Cait Young won from Caoimhe Hurley and will play either Grace O’Sullivan or Ayesha Daly in the final. At Kealkil in U18, Con O’Sullivan, brother of U16 champion, Brian, won his duel with Cian Young. In the same grade at Derrinasafa, Mark Dean remains on course in his defence after a hard-earned win over Eoin Hurley (Kilronan). Meanwhile, John Murphy reports Togher Cross have completed their well-supported U10 boy’s tournament. Brian Murphy form Moreigh emerged the winner after a great contest with from a gallant Charlie O’Leary, Derrinasafa. At the other end of the age scale, Connie Connolly had to pull out the stops to defeat Patsy O’Sullivan in the novice veteran section A play-off at Drimoleague on Monday. Kealkil man, O’Sullivan dug in with a big last shot, but Connolly stayed composed and beat a handy tip. Damien Hurley in the overall decider is Connie’s next assignment. In novice A at Bantry, Ciaran Nyhan bowled well in his win over Liam Young. A bowl of odds separated them at the end for an €800 stake. In the same grade at The Clubhouse, Michael Carroll defeated Sean O’Riordan, last shot, for €1,200. Progressing in novice B is Brian Hurley after a hard-earned win at Derrinasafa from David Cotter. The stake in this one amounted to €1,040. It was a good week for the O’Leary, Whiddy brothers in the novice B championship. Sean accounted for Aidan O’Sullivan at Kealkil while Connie won from Vincent Healy at Drimoleague for a €1,700 total. In novice C at The Clubhouse Brian Murray defeated Kevin O’Sullivan in the last shot. In novice D at Durrus, Johnny Kelly defeated Cian Young.
Ger Fitzpatrick will represent the South-West division in the county novice veteran championship after his defeat of Danny O’Brien at Fisher’s Cross on Thursday. Going for a €2,000 total, this battle of the section A and B winners hinged on a blistering start by Fitzpatrick who ‘Footmans’ in four to rise commanding odds. He repelled O’Brien’s best in the remaining segment and will play the North-East winner, Eugene Hanley, in a preliminary county round score at Templemartin.
Ailbhe O’Shea is Gaeltacht U18 champion after a thrilling contest with Kayla Healy on a damp Saturday evening at Baile Bhuirne. A shot for shot duel ended with the Macroom girl a winner by just twenty metres. Elsewhere in the Gaeltacht, Jack O’Sullivan won from Aodh Lynch in the U16 semi-final and will play Cathal Creedon who won his penultimate round score from Eoin Moynahin at Baile Bhuirne. In U12 here, Keelan Creedon won from Darragh Murphy. Kilmartyra hosted the novice D clash of Joseph Lynch and Gerard Kelleher. A good contest was won by Kilbarry man, Lynch. In novice D at Clondrohid, Brendan O’Callaghan defeated Richard Browne and in C, here, Anthony Lunch won from Evan Kelleher. A couple of novice D scores at Macroom on Friday resulted in progress for Darren O’Leary won got he better of Aidan Barry and for Brian Crowley who won from Anthony O’Donoghue.
John Shorten won the Mid Cork junior veteran final at Ballinacurra, Upton on Sunday evening. The former senior was in cracking form against Jerry Murphy in this €1,400 total decider. Having blazed through the ‘main road’ in three, Shorten hit an unreal fourth all the way to the ‘waterworks’ to rise a big bowl of odds. He doubled his lead shortly afterwards and will contest the county rounds against the North Cork champion, Mark Burke, in the coming weeks at Inchigeelagh. At the same venue on Monday, Murphy won a hard- fought semi-final battle with Dan O’Halloran. For an €800 total, Murphy rose handy odds with his fifth and held on. Rhys Murphy from Belgooly is Mid Cork’s U16 champion. Rhys edged out Daniel Wilmot in a cracking decider at Ballinacurra, Upton, on Wednesday and will play the East Cork winner at Whitechurch in the county rounds. In the novice D grade at Castletownkenneigh, John Madden defeated Adrian Wilmot, last shot and at Ballinacurra also in D, Ger O’Leary won from Derrick Murphy.
A bulletin from Jerome Casey reports an evenly matched struggle for London junior A representation in the county junior A championship. Patrick O’Driscoll, formerly of The Glen, Cork, won the opening best of three with Dunmanway native, Colin O’Donovan, by two-bowls for a £1,000 total stake. O’Donovan then produced a stunning performance in the second set-to at the Launder’s Lane venue defeating O’Driscoll by three bowls to level the series. The pair go head-to-head in the decider shortly with the winner travelling to Grenagh on June 11th to play the East Cork regional champion, in a county preliminary round score. Patrick O’Driscoll (Jun) is the London U16 champion and will also contest the Cork County championships. A significant contribution to London bowling was marked recently when regional chairman, Padraigh Nugent, made a special presentation to Drimoleague native, Dan Joe McCarthy. Serving as fixtures secretary and fulfilling various other administrative roles, Dan Joe has been an ever-present within London bowling’s set-up for forty-five years. Still involved, Dan Joe was wished many more years of health and happiness by his bowling colleagues.
Bowling continues too at its newest regional addition. The Lyon’s Road, Newcastle, hosted the novice veteran clash of Leinster’s Timmy Cooney and Connaught’s David Hughes. After a close contest, Cooney emerged the winner in the last shot. Back here, in novice E, Damien Gill defeated Sean McBride by two bowls.
In the City division, Noel Gould is on a roll. He captured his second divisional title when taking the junior veteran crown defeating Maurice Connolly at The Bog Road in the last shot of a thrilling score that carried a €1,320 total stake. Already contesting in junior B, Gould will face Jim Coffey (Gaeltacht) in the junior veteran county rounds. There was a big novice A clash at Curraheen. Here Kieran Corrigan defeated Pat O’Donovan in the last shot for €1,400. Also, at Curraheen, Ryan Buckley defeated John Donnellan by two bowls for €640 but was on the receiving end when going down to Denis Connolly, last shot, for €200. Here too, Keith Kidney defeated Ronan Redmund, one bowl, for €1,100. At Whitechurch in novice A, Denis Connolly defeated Thomas O’Donovan by a bowl for €1,300. In novice veteran at Paddoes, Bernard O’Donovan defeated Michael Twohig. In a big stake score back the road after the junior veteran final, Evan Buckley defeated Sean O’Leary, Fermoy, last shot, for €5,800. In a doubles contest at The Bog Road, Declan O’Leary and Bernard O’Donovan combined to defeat Paul Butler and Pat Gould for a €1,000 total.
In a big junior A tournament clash at Lyre on Sunday, Carbery’s Darragh Dempsey halted Gavin Twohig’s winning run with a one bowl win over the Rossmore man. For an €11,100, Dempsey rose his winning odds with a big fourteenth up from the ‘rosebed’ by ‘McCarthy’s wall’. Back the road two of bowling’s great warriors went head-to-head. Pat Joe Connolly and Ger O’Leary battled out a shot for shot score that O'Leary won in the final exchange. They played for a €900 total.
In tournament action at The Pike, the Fearghal Beamish cup progressed with a contest involving Brendan O’Neill and Ger O’Driscoll. For a €3,100 stake O’Neill went a bowl clear by ‘White’s cross’ and withstood a rally by O’Driscoll at the three-quarter stage in forging the win. At Grange on Saturday, Paul Buckley and Tim Young engaged for a €2,900 total. Buckley rose a bowl of odds in eight and nine to the ‘school cross’ and held on for victory.
At Ballinacurra, Upton, also on Saturday, Tim McDonagh defeated Denis Wilmot by a bowl, for €4,800 and back here, Declan O’Donovan defeated Sean Paul McDonagh, last shot, for €3,800. At Kilcorney, Edmund Sexton kept a winning run going with a win from Michael Murphy, last shot, for €2,600. Under-age competitions and championship action provided plenty of highlights in the North Cork division. Jayden Crowley, who starred in Ted Hegarty’s Phale Road tournaments brought his good form to the championship and will represent the region in the U12 county rounds after a thrilling win at Bweeng in the divisional final from Sean Paul O’Donoghue. Jayden will play the West Cork winner, Eoghan Hickey or Tadg O’Farrell in the quarterfinal round at Clondrohid. On the same evening a girls U10 2022 competition final resulted in victory for Mia O’Donoghue. Alana Ruby and Lauren O’Rourke were runners-up in a splendid contest. The boys U16 final was played out at Kilcorney on Tuesday. Shane Dennehy and Ronan Murphy were in opposition here. Grenagh boy, Shane, who has been showing plenty of promise in recent years, won this duel. He has West Cork’s Brian O’Sullivan in his sights in the county quarterfinal. In the junior A championship semi-final paly-off at Beal na Morrive on Friday, Mark Burke defeated David Hubbard by two bowls for €4,600 and will play Edmund Sexton in the regional decider. Back the road here, Gerry Hubbard defeated Jack Oldham by a bowl for €3,000. In novice D at Ballinagree on Saturday, Paul Walsh defeated Mikey O’Regan, last shot, for €600. In novice C scores at Beal na Morrive on Wednesday, Daniel O’Sullivan, Ballinagree defeated Dan O’Regan in the last shot of a competitive score that carried an €1,100 total stake and Patrick Sexton won from Aaron Mackey. There was a thrilling set-to as well at Ballinagree on Thursday where Adrian O’Connor won a see-saw struggle with Mickey McAuliffe, last shot, for €780. On the way back, Kevin Manning defeated Shane Collins, last shot, for €380. At Ballinagree in D, Paul Walsh won from Mikey O’Regan. In novice D at Ballinagree Denis Murphy won from Alan Sexton, last shot and, here too in the same grade, Paul Walsh defeated Colin McCarthy by a wide margin.
Timmie Murphy will play Tom O’Callaghan in the North East junior B final. Murphy defeated Liam Walsh in the semi-final at Grenagh on Sunday. Eugene Hanley is North East novice veteran winner after his victory over Michael Gould also at Grenagh. Andrew O’Leary is junior veteran champion after his defeat of Timmie McDonagh at Glenabo.
DEMPSEY AND SHANNON SET FOR INTERESTING RE-MATCH. This Friday evening’s junior A final at The Marsh Road is a re-match of the thrilling opening-score fixture that had Darragh Dempsey and David Shannon in opposition. Dempsey won that battle but it was close enough to suggest that not a lot separates them in terms of bowling ability. The final contest in the round-robin series on Thursday last saw Shannon make a blistering start in his elimination clash with Dec O’Donovan. Following five lengthy openers, his ten to ‘the steps’ catapulted him into a commanding lead. O’Donovan clawed it back to two-bowls in the subsequent exchanges but not enough to affect the result. Darragh Dempsey got a boost with a big junior A tournament win over strong South-West contender, Gavin Twohig, at Lyre on Sunday last.
Shane Crowley won the battle of the brothers when he got the better of Eoin as Carbery’s U16 championship would down at The Marsh Road on Sunday. Shane’s good start was decisive in this final and he will carry the regional banner to the county rounds in the coming weeks.
The junior veteran championship is down to the wire after J C Desmond levelled his best of three with Jimmy Collins when scoring a one bowl win over the Union Hall man at Schull on Tuesday. Joe O’Brien advanced to the last four in junior C with a win over Denis O’Sullivan at Schull and Edwin Collins had a narrow win over Shane Fitzpatrick in novice C at Caheragh. The novice D championship progressed with scores at The Marsh Road and Caheragh. Henry O’Donovan, Hugh McNulty, Kieran Shannon, Oisin Daly and Stephen McSweeney are all through to the third round.
Results: County Championships:
Caheragh: Intermediate championship: Brian Wilmot defeated Tommy O’Sullivan, two bowls, for €15,000. Baile Bhuirne;- Senior Aidan Murphy defeated John O'Rourke one bowl no stake. Beal Na Morrive;- Noel Gould defeated Terry Mallon one bowl for €5,000. Templemartin;- Senior championship Martin Coppinger degeated Patrick Flood 3bls, for €800.
Carbery Championships: Marsh Road: Junior A, David Shannon defeated Dec O’Donovan, two bowls; Novice D, Henry O’Donovan defeated Christopher O’Donovan, one bowl, for €600; Hugh McNulty defeated Dermot Hegarty. Schull: Junior veteran, J C Desmond defeated Jimmy Collins, one bowl, for €1,200; Junior C, Joe O’Brien defeated Denis O’Sullivan, last shot, for €1,200. Caheragh: Novice D, Oisin Daly defeated Paddy McCarthy, two bowls, for €200; Stephen McSweeney defeated Darren McSweeney, two bowls, for €600; Kieran Shannon defeated James O’Neill; Novice C, Edwin Collins defeated Shane Fitzpatrick, last shot, for €500. Marsh Road: Under-age, U16 final, Shane Crowley won from Eoin Crowley.
Club: Marsh Road: Sidney Shannon defeated Donal Harnedy, last shot, for €1,200. Caheragh: Brian O’Driscoll defeated Finbarr Coomey (Jun), last shot, for €7,600. Lyre: Jun A tour, Darragh Dempsey defeated Gavin Twohig, almost a bowl, for €11,100; Nov D, Ger O'Leary defeated Pat Joe Connolly, last shot, for €900. Shannonvale: John O’Driscoll (Clon) defeated Richard O’Brien, last shot, for €8,000. Ballinacurra, Upton, Donnacha O’Driscoll defeated Donnacha O’Donovan,, last shot, for €1,800. The Pike: Fearghal Beamish Cup: Brendan O’Neill defeated Ger O’Driscoll, one bowl, for €3,300; return, Ger Shanahan defeated Jack O’Driscoll, last shot, for €1,300. Derrinasafa: Paul Kingston defeated John A Murphy, last shot, for €700; return double, Paul Kingston/Osin Murphy/Hurley defeated John A Murphy/Barry Murphy, last shot, for €900.