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Bowling Report - Week ending 23rd June




A GOOD START VITAL FOR COPPINGER

On a seismic weekend for the senior championship when heavy hitters fell by the wayside, the possibility of another upset occurring at Lyre when Martin Coppinger and Patrick Flood clashed in a third quarterfinal was well within the bounds of possibility. The question was could the youthful Fermoy exponent bring the devastating form that vanquished James O’Donovan at Beal na Morrive two weeks ago to the South West venue. The answer was only on intermittent occasions, and it was never going to be enough to derail a confident Coppinger who blitzed the opening third and had easily enough in reserve to hold off a creditable late charge by the young rival. Coppinger’s first, third and fifth, covered a huge amount of road. Flood couldn’t match and the odds mounted with great rapidity. Those monstrous fifth and sixth brought him close to sight at ‘Crowley’s bend’ in six, two bowls and big odds up. Flood kept it at two to ‘McCarthy’s bend’ where, from blind sight, he fired his best of the day all the way to the ‘rosebed’. Coppinger came well hind, and it was back to the even bowl when Flood lined a big one again past the junior line. Flood might have made more of a late chance at the ‘forge cross’ but it didn’t work out and the Bantry native won by the shot and will play Michael Bohane in the semi-final on Sunday next in Ballygurteen. The Lyre contest did not carry a stake.

WILMOT STUNS BOWLING WORLD TO DETHRONE MURPHY

On a weekend of turn-ups and surprises Brian Wilmot’s defeat of defending champion, David Murphy, in their senior championship quarterfinal at Newcestown on Saturday evening really sent the shock waves reverberating through the bowling world. That the Bandon man was up for it was evident in a blistering opening salvo that had him out ‘Mac’s cross’ in four excellent deliveries. Murphy gamely tried to follow but was unlucky with a fifth bowl and he now faced a shot deficit as they played to ‘Allen’s lane’. Wilmot made no errors and held his odds in the bowling to ‘Desmond’s’ and on to the rise at ‘the sheds’. Murphy was showing form of old when lining a super twelfth that knocked the shot of odds but his next to the ‘railings’ didn’t quite run, and Wilmot escaped with his bowl of odds intact in fourteen and fifteen to ‘O’Brien’s cross’. Murphy came again with a screamer to sight at the bottom of the hill and, when Wilmot missed it was in the melting pot. The Bandon man crucially got a great run to sight at the last corner, but Murphy was within thirty metres. Murphy’s shot to salvage his championship was left and Wilmot had the wherewithal to avail of a touch and beat the mark by four metres for a thrilling victory. There was a €340 total at issue. It’s a Brian Wilmot-Gary Daly semi-final in Ballinagree on July 6th.

DALY WINS WITH ONLY FEET TO SPARE.

The first of the weekend’s three senior quarterfinals was an all North-East meeting of Gary Daly and Arthur McDonagh played at Grenagh for a €10,000 total. A riveting encounter it proved to be with Daly’s newfound steeliness getting him over the line for the second time in three weeks. He did not make the best of starts an average second shot was capitalised on by McDonagh who immediately raced to a lead that bordered on a bowl of odds. The bowl was up and metres with it when Daly’s seventh went right and it looked an uphill task at that half-way point and moreso when McDonagh followed and beat a lengthy eighth to consolidate his advantage. One error can alter the trend and McDonagh’s downfall began with a poor shot off the cross. Daly lined a big one and took an unexpected first-time lead when a cracking drive was missed again by McDonagh. Daly missed the no-play line at the T junction when he might have driven home his advantage and McDonagh was back in front by metres in a desperately tight finish. Daly’s last would do it. A fine cast on the centre was missed by less than a meter by McDonagh and the semi-final spot against Brian Wilmot was Gary Daly’s reward.

In Ulster, Colm Rafferty levelled his best of five with Thomas Mackle defeating the All-Ireland champion by almost a bowl at Eglish.

POOR START PUT PARKES OUT OF INTERMEDIATE CHAMPIONSHIP.

It was a shock of sizable proportions when Wayne Callanan defeated Wayne Parkes in the second intermediate semi-final at Templemartin on Saturday. The overwhelming favourite, Parkes, was below his best whereas Callanan was consistent enough and determined enough to take full advantage and go through in some style to a county final meeting with Tommy O’Sullivan at Castletownkinneigh. Parkes missed a chance of ‘Slynne’s’ after a big third and was left to rue when Callanan fired a brilliant seventh that gave him a seventy-metre lead. Three poor shots by Parkes would cost him dearly. Callanan drove on and rose odds that crept towards two bowls. A glimmer came in the shots to the ‘stonefield bend’ when a Callanan effort broke unkindly but it wasn’t availed of and the City man easily held a big bowl lead past the ‘monument’. Parkes closed it a little in the shots past the ‘pub corner’ but there would be stopping Callanan on the day and he deservedly takes his place in a decider where reputation will not faze him again in the role of underdog.

AWESOME BOWLING IN UNDER 18 COUNTY FINAL.

The first of several county finals scheduled for All-Ireland venue, Castletownkinneigh, went ahead on Sunday evening. A packed road witnessed the U18 boys decider and it lived up to its billing in every respect as Shane Crowley, the Carbery champion and John O’Donoghue bowling out of East Cork fought out a thrilling battle that was decided by the Carbery man’s brilliance over the last third. They generated an atmosphere second to none right from the off and it was the 2023 U16 champion, O’Donoghue, who held early sway. Superb second and fourth shots swept him to a hundred metre lead as they played past ‘Kinneigh cross’. Crowley needed something and found it with immaculate shots on the rise to ‘O’Leary’s’ where he had whittled O’Donoghue’s margin to mere metres. The East Cork champion defiantly stayed in front though until Crowley pitched a beauty to the ‘black gate’ corner and, when tips were marked, he had forged in front. On a roll, he was inch perfect in two expertly delivered casts that had him sight at ‘Forsion’s cross’ a bowl ahead. A well-judged loft consolidated his bowl lead but O’Donoghue wasn’t finished. A ferocious third last might have cut odds significantly but Crowley wasn’t for turning when following and beating a formidable mark. Crowley could do no wrong and was crowned county U18 champion after a magnificent under-pressure performance.

One of Ulster finalists, Oisin Gribben or Neil Stevenson will provide the opposition at Castletownkenneigh on All-Ireland weekend in a fortnight’s time.

CLASSY GERALDINE IS CLOSING IN ON BACK-TOBACK SENIOR CROWNS.

The women’s senior championship is fast reaching its concluding stages. The group stages have been completed with all nine contenders contributing to a multi-score series that had plenty thrills and spills over recent months. The upshot in group A was a three-way play-off to determine runner-up to Geraldine Curtin and it paved the way for an exciting duel at Newcestown on Friday evening. Veronica O’Mahony, Meghan Collins and last years runner-up, Denise Murphy were the protagonists with a semi-final spot against Hannah Sexton on the line. The contest carried a €2,000 (O’Mahony/Collins) stake and it was this pair who fought it out at the front for most of the score’s duration. Denise stayed well in the hunt thanks to a big third, but Veronica’s opener was of the highest order, and it put her in the ascendancy. Meghan gave spirited chase as both rose a bowl on Denise. Veronica was defiant and beat huge shots to stay in front and, with confidence growing, she won at the end by the fore bowl.

CHAMP GERALDINE IS BACK IN COUNTY FINAL.

Bowling buddies but rivals too, defending champion, Geraldine Curtin from group A took on Triona Kidney, the former champion, from Carrigtwohill, and through from group B, in semi-final one at Newcestown. They attracted a big Tuesday evening gathering to the Mid Cork venue and played away from the village for a wholesome €3,600 total stake. It was a contest that didn’t disappoint with both giving it their all. Triona led after two good opening shots but her third did not match an excellent effort from Geraldine. The defending champion pulled almost a bowl clear after four but was quickly reeled in to thirty metres in the next exchanges. She needed all her composure to beat a huge eighth of Kidney’s to stay in front and, when she followed with an excellent ninth, she put a dent in the Carrigtwohill challenger’s hopes. Triona tried again with a big second last that cut odds to forty metres, but Geraldine had enough in hand for a last shot win and a place in the final.

Earlier in the week, score ten in group A was played out at Ballinacurra, Upton. Denise Murphy, who lost her opening two but was on the cusp of a great comeback made it to a play-off spot. Emma Fitzpatrick was the opposition on Monday and it was a good contest to ‘Perrot’s’. Denise’s two piledrivers from here ensured winning odds.

SEXTON KEPT BUSY IN TWO CHAMPIONSHIPS.

In intermediate, Ellen Sexton, involved too in U18, joined Emma Hickey at the head of group B after her win over Rachel Kingston at Caheragh on Monday. Rachel’s second defeat eliminates her from the championship. Ellen won her U18 semi-final at Drinagh on Thursday when defeating Carbery’s Abbey Caverley and it’s a final showdown now with Emma Hurley.

COONEY CONCEDES THROUGH INJURY

County rounds too are progressing in junior and novice veteran. In a junior quarterfinal at Whitechurch two likely contenders clashed when Jerry Murphy (Mid) and P J Cooney (East) took issue. It was an unfortunate evening for former senior Cooney who had built up a good lead only for injury to force him to concede. Jerry Murphy proceeds to the semi-finals.

Another quarterfinal at Baile Bhuirne on Saturday evening saw South West’s Kieran O’Driscoll come home a winner against City’s Martin Connolly. For a €1,740 total, this score hinged on two monstrous shots in the early stages by O’Driscoll. Connolly won the opening exchange before the South West man unleashed his brace. Covering a huge distance, they raised a bowl of odds that he held for the scores duration. He faces Jerry Murphy in the semi-final. Through to the county junior veteran final is North East’s Andrew O’Leary who rallied from a bowl down to a last shot win over Gaeltacht’s Denis Cooney in a desperately close semi-final contest played at Beal na Marbh on Sunday morning. They played for an €800 total.

In the novice veteran sector, a quarter final at Ballinagree between the Mid and Gaeltacht champions, John O’Mahony and Tony Healy turned into a thriller. For a €1,800 total, O’Mahony’s opener was short resulting in Healy rising big odds. The Mid Cork man reduced the margin, but Healy went on to rise a bowl of odds and, when he beat big tips to hold off O’Mahony’s charge it was looking good for the Gaeltacht man. Still O’Mahony persevered and got his reward spectacularly when a big last shot gave him his only fore bowl of the score. Out of novice veteran though is West Cork’s estimable champion, Connie Connolly. A hard-fought quarterfinal with East Cork’s Padraigh O’Brien ended with O’Brien edging the final exchanges. The stake at issue amounted to €1,600.

The calibre of champions emerging from the regions in the junior B championship suggest a lively series ahead of the county final. A quarterfinal at Whitechurch on Friday had two with realistic aspirations of going all the way but it turned out a more one-sided contest than anticipated. Willie O’Donnell the East Cork champion rose big odds on Mid’s Bryan O’Halloran on the downward stretch to ‘bula’ and it stood him in good stead when the Innishannon man found his best form over the final third. They played for a total of €1,300.

HUBBARD REELS IN O'DONNELL.

Two more likely contenders met at Templemichael on Saturday evening. David Hubbard, the North Cork champion has experience of higher-grade action, but North East’s Michael O’Donnell is a tremendous prospect who carries serious power in his bowling. They played away at the City venue for a €6,000 total and a tense, tough battle ensued. O’Donnell had early momentum throwing good odds after five, but Hubbard reeled him in, and it was a level score for the remainder. Down to the last shots, the North Cork man shading tips, O’Donnell hit a decent effort, but it was matched and beaten by Hubbard who progresses to a county semi-final against the winners of Carbery/West/Gaeltacht.

Again, regional action was at a premium as junior and novice and remaining under-age grades progress. In the second of the West Cork junior C semis at Drinagh on Saturday evening, Bantry’s Kieran Hourihane defeated Diarmuid Hurley, Togher Cross and will play Brian O’Driscoll in the upcoming decider. A big novice A shoot-out at Derrinasafa on Thursday saw Michael Carroll defeat Alan Brickley, last shot, for €1,540 and back here, Darragh McCarthy defeated Ray Jennings for €1,760. At Ardcahan in novice B, Seamus O’Regan defeated Peter Kelly, last shot, for €1,000. At Kealkil in C, Eoin Hurley (Kilronan) defeated Martin Murphy, one bowl, for €700. At Bantry on Friday in novice B, Kevin Murphy defeated Connie O’Leary and in D, Daniel Hayes (Kilronan) ended the good run of Fachtna Keane. In scores at Drimoleague, Jan Tessyman defeated Oisin Murphy-Hurley by a bowl for €600 and Pat Daly defeated Liam Young by two for €1,300. Also, in West Cork, Inch had novice E scores on Monday and here, Shane O’Donovan won from Padraigh Crowley and Noel O’Brien defeated John O’Donovan. At The Clubhouse in U14 Shauna O’Driscoll won from Kate Coakley.

In the South-West division, a junior C contest at Fisher’s Cross saw Vincent Cahalane and Dylan O’Driscoll contest for a €1,200 total. O’Driscoll rose a bowl of odds with a piledriver to ‘Galley cross’ but Cahalane staged a remarkable recovery, levelled it and won eventually with a massive last shot.

In a cracking Mid Cork novice A semi-final at Templemartin on Sunday morning, Joe Madden came with a big last shot to deny Paul Walsh by a few metres. They played for a €2,280 total. In Mid Cork novice C at Beal na mBlath, Stephen Moore beat a good last shot of Barry Coughlan’s to win for a €1,400 total. In junior ladies, Rosin Allen rebounded from her U18 defeat to progress in the adult grade with a narrow win over Martina Foley. Also in Mid Cork Lelia Foley, again, showing promise won the regional U16 final after a good contest with Sophie Murphy.

Eoghan Kelly is Gaeltacht U12 champion for 2024. Eoghan secured the title after a great duel with Cian Kelleher at Baile Bhuirne on Sunday morning. In a Gaeltacht novice C quarterfinal at Macroom Gearoid Lucey defeated Shane Buttimer and, on the way back, Jonathan McCarthy defeated Ron Lynch, last shot, for €1,640. Former county champion, Laura O’Callaghan won from Niamh O’Callaghan in junior ladies at Clondrohid. In Gaeltacht novice scores at Clondrohid on Friday, Paudie Murphy won from Cathal Vaughan and Patrick Moynahin and, in a big money novice B clash, Flor Crowley repelled Liam Kearney’s comeback change with a sweeping second last shot to win a contest that carried a €6,100 total.

In North Cork, Martin McSweeney defeated Paul Walsh in a novice D quarterfinal score at Berrings on Monday. Back here, Jack Oldham defeated Barry Murphy by a bowl for €800. In novice C quarterfinal at Berrings on Wednesday John MacSullivan defeated Tony Hickey. Martin McSweeney and Will Harrington played back for an €1,800 total with McSweeney taking the verdict here. In Ballinagree in novice D, Pat Fitzgibbon defeated Alan Sexton.

In the City girls U16 final, Dilly Barry-Twohig won from Emily Long. The pair played out an exciting final at Paddoes on Friday.

EDWARD O'DRISCOLL R.I.P.

There was sadness in bowling circles at the passing of Edward O’Driscoll, Bandon. His departure leaves memories of a man whose showed dedication and loyalty to Bol Chumann over the extended period of time he acted as it’s Legal Advisor. He was intimately involved in the affairs of the Association for five decades. It was at the behest of Flor Crowley, founding chairman, that Edward filled the role of recently departed District Justice Hedley McKay as Bol Chumann’s Honorary Legal Advisor. What started as a relatively ad-hoc arrangement turned into one of the most enduring and beneficial relationships for the sport. Edward brought the full force of his acute intellect and legal training to bear on the Association and it needed it and benefitted from it during difficult periods when serious challenges had to be surmounted.

Edward did not just have an impact on bowling in Ireland. He played an important role in the development of bowling at international level. He advised and assisted the international association through its early years and became a much loved and respected figure among bowling colleagues in Germany and Holland. Edward advised five different chairpersons and had the sad task of delivering the eulogy at the graveside of three of those chairpersons including Flor Crowley. He was inducted into Bol Chumann’s Hall of Fame in 2005. Edward was a renowned sporting all-rounder and horse breeder and played a key role in many organisations for the betterment of West Cork. He gave commitment to Carbery Hunt, Bandon Golf and Rugby, GAA clubs and Badminton as well as Road Bowling. In an extended interview in the ‘Southern Star’ on his retirement in 2013 he was effusive in his praise of those within Bol Chumann with whom he liaised. ‘I know of no other organisation with more committed sportspeople’ he commented and mentioned that along with Susan Greene and James O’Driscoll he had helped re-write to constitution of the Association. Bol Chumann extends its sincere sympathies to Kathleen, to Caroline, Pauline, Maeve, Mark and Jillian and extended families. Ar Dheis De go raibh a Anam Dilis.

SOUTHERN STAR REPORT

SENSATIONAL SHANE BOWLS HIS WAY TO COUNTY GLORY.

Shane Crowley is the toast of Carbery after his magnificent U18 campaign ended in county championship glory at Castletownkinneigh on Sunday evening last. Facing the formidable East Cork U16 All-Ireland winner, John O’Donoghue, who had defeated him last year, Shane showed the full range of his talents in a performance that had his big band of supporters buzzing from the off. O’Donoghue built a good early lead but was reeled in in the white-hot atmosphere that prevailed throughout the score. Showing nerves of steel, the Schull youth produced a finishing surge that would have seen off the very best. Shane will be part of the Castletownkinneigh All-Ireland programme in a fortnight’s time when he contests with Oisin Gribben or Neil Steveson for national honours. Remarkably, Shane Crowley is the first to win the county U18 championship under the Carbery banner. The grade, instituted in 1971 has been the springboard for success for a host of the game’s greats. It’s roll-call of winners include senior, intermediate and top junior county and All-Ireland winners. Bill Daly and Pat Bohane won out top honours in the grade in the seventies while affiliated to the West Cork division. Shane Shannon, Denis O’Sullivan, Liam O’Sullivan were county finalists down through the years.

Donie Harnedy is Carbery junior B champion for 2024 after a dramatic last shot victory over old nemesis, John Cahalane at Bauravilla on Friday. In a stakeless contest with Cahalane incurring an injury during practice, Harnedy took early command rising a shot of odds with good bowling to ‘Dekker’s’. Cahalane whittled away at the lead and had it to fifty metres by the ‘bridge’. He made further inroads and took a first-time lead of fifty metres at an important juncture when the longtime leader misplayed at ‘O’Donoghue’s’. Just when Harnedy’s chance seemed gone, he produced a whipping last shot along the centre and it proved the winner when Cahalane’s game reply stopped seven metres short. A county quarterfinal beckons against either West Cork’s Liam Hurley or Gaeltacht’s Conor Creedon.

HARRINGTON THREE TIME CHAMPION.

A rarity in Carbery, a three-time U12 champion. That is the record achieved by Brian Harrington, Droumoreen, after his third successive win in the grade at Bauravilla on Tuesday. Conor Deane provided sturdy opposition and reeled in Brian’s early lead to go in front himself with a great throw to ‘Dreeney house’. Brian upped his game again and had good odds as ‘the rock’. This time, Brian, who had a great run to the county final last year, held his advantage and won by almost two. Frank Hurley of Carbery Oils presented the winners cup to the new champion.

David O’Connor and Patrick Crowley have qualified for the novice B final. O’Connor put in a big finish to deny Mike Mennis in the first of the semi-finals at Ballydehob on Wednesday evening while Crowley saw off former winner, Sidney Shannon, in Sunday’s second semi.

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