Patrick Flood gave a hint that he could be the one to beat in the 2022 intermediate title race as he scored a comprehensive two-bowl victory over former senior champion, Edmund Sexton, in their opening round clash at Ballincurrig on Sunday. The youthful Fermoy exponent, in the cradle surely when Sexton was in his pomp in 2003, made it a winning debut in the grade by dominating from the off and, such was the quality of his bowling as the score progressed, that there was very little the Nadd man could do to stem the tide. A short opener was not what the North Cork player needed, but when that first shot broke right at the ‘school’, Flood was immediately away to a lead of over a hundred metres. To his credit Sexton rebounded well from that setback and fired a splendid second that reduced the odds considerably, but his momentum stalled again when his third whipped left and Flood, with a ‘screamer’ to the green, rose a big bowl of odds. The grades newcomer was relentless in the next sequence firing a massive eighth shot past ‘O’Riordan’s’ to rise a second bowl of odds and ‘making’ sight in eleven shots at the ‘big turn’ by which point the score was effectively over. Flood’s next challenge will come in the form of Brian Wilmot in a quarterfinal clash at Templemartin. The stake at Ballincurrig amounted to €3,600.
In mid-week women’s intermediate action at Drinagh, former senior campaigner, Louise Collins got her campaign back on track with a one bowl over Lisa Hegarty. This was a competitive joust, but the greater accuracy lay with Louise, and it was an important factor in her gaining a vital Group D point. Lisa is still in the mix with a score with fellow South-West contender, Louise Daly, in the offing at Timoleague. Also, in women’s intermediate, Juliette Murphy notched up her second group A win when she got the better on another likely challenger, Chloe O’Halloran, at Castletownkenneigh. In what looks a fiercely competitive group A, Drinagh’s Julianne Hayes is very much in the frame after a hard-earned win over Emma Hickey at The Clubhouse on Sunday. Julianne took a bowl lead to the ‘chips’ and held off a strong challenge from her Durrus opponent to win by that margin.
Junior and novice championships dominated in the regions.
In West Cork junior A at Kealkil, Denis O’Driscoll took a big step to another West Cork championship when he scored a one bowl win over Muiris Buttimer for a €1,400 total. The Clubhouse was a busy venue on Sunday with five scores played over the course of the day. Here the Cato brothers had mixed fortunes after two thrilling scores both, in the novice championship. In the D grade, Luke took on Daniel Hayes, Kilronan, and a good start saw him rise a bowl of odds and win by that margin for a stake of €1,340. In novice C, John O’Sullivan, Ahakista, and Joseph Cato played a humdinger for a €520 total. Cato wiped out O’Sullivan’s early bowl lead and was in front for the last shots. The western man lined one of the longest seen at The Clubhouse and it won the day but only just after the unlucky Cato came within metres of defying all odds.
Equally close was another novice C encounter between John Murphy, Togher Cross and Corneilus O’Mahony, Schull. For a €3,200 total, Murphy raced to a lead that looked unassailable only for O’Mahony to bring it to a last shot score. Murphy held on for the win. In U18 at The Clubhouse Drinagh’s Eoin Hurley came from a bowl down to deny Adam Daly. The Schull men had better luck at Durrus where Joseph O’Mahony defeated Paudie Crowley by a bowl of odds for €240. Back to Kealkil where Castledonovan’s Seamus O’Regan ousted last years novice B runner-up David O’Brien and here too, in novice C, Jason Daly won from Dunmanway Town’s Johnny Kelly. Up at Togher Cross, Alan Brickley, last year’s C winner, made a move in 2022 novice B with a win from Aidan O’Sullivan and here too, in the D championship, Jan Tessyman of Bantry won from Peter Hickey, Durrus. Ballinacarriga had a big novice B match-up with the clash of Michael A Cronin and Killian Sheehan. Cronin shaded this one after a mighty battle. At Ballinacarriga too, in novice C, Johnny Collins won from Brian Murray and in the D championship, Andy O’Sullivan won from Connie O’Driscoll. At Bantry in novice D, Alan Crowley won from Darragh Kehily and at Drimoleague in U18 boys, Brian Horgan won from Aran Mannix. There was success too for the Horgan brothers at Dunmanway/Inch when Danny progressed in U18 at the expense of Kieran O’Driscoll. Mid-week in West Cork, there was a turn-up at Ardcahan where Drinagh’s Derrick Jagoe defeated last year’s semi-finalist, John O’Regan, Schull. For a €740 total the Drinagh man won by a bowl.
In novice B here, James Hurley defeated newcomer to the grade, Ronan O’Mahony, last shot for €1,400. In novice D at Ardcahan, Martin Dullea is on a roll and won for the second time defeating Stephen O’Donovan after a great score. From the previous week in West Cork, in the junior C grade at Kealkil, Drinagh’s Humphrey O’Leary came from a bowl down to defeat Diarmuid Hurley, Togher Cross. O’Leary lined two terrific shots on the straight to turn this one around. In the same grade at Durrus, Chris Murray, a county junior C winner in 2012, overcame Kieran Hourihane in the last shot for a €2,300 total.
In the U18 championship on the Inch road, Dunmanway, Con O’Sullivan won from Oisin Murphy and Brian O’Driscoll won from Brian O’Sullivan. In the novice C championship at Drinagh, Schull’s Joseph O’Mahony defeated Martin Murphy, Togher Cross and in the same grade at Ballinacarriga, David Hourihane defeated Conor O’Connell. In the novice B championship at Durrus, Vincent Healy defeated Alan Keane in the last shot for €1,900. Paul Kingston won a cracking score with James O’Driscoll, Ahakeera, in the novice A championship at Drimoleague. For a €500 total it went to the last shot. Also, at Drimoleague in novice C, Paudie Crowley won from Conor O’Donovan. A couple of high-profile novice A scores at The Clubhouse and Derrinasafa resulted in wins for Sean O’Riordan and Ciaran Nyhan. O’Riordan, on his home road, fell a bowl down to Chris Cronin’s monstrous fourth to sight at the ‘chips’, but closed the gap before snatching victory with a magnificent last shot. Ciaran Nyhan’s win at Derrinasafa came after a mighty battle with Michael Carroll. This one went to the wire as well, Nyhan taking it in the final throw for an €1,100 stake. In other results from Derrinasafa, Eoin Murray defeated Morgan Hickey and Con Collins (jun) defeated Trevor Jagoe, both in Novice C, and Barry O’Donovan, Derrylahan, defeated David Deane in the novice D championship.
That most popular of campaigners Deckie O’Mahony is out of the Mid Cork novice C championship having gone down to Brian Collins by a bowl of odds margin for a €1,500 total stake at Castletownkenneigh. At the other end of the age bracket, young Joshua Murphy, son of senior operator, David, won his novice C joust with Ryan Hayes at Newcestown. Also, in Mid Cork in novice D at Beal na mBlath, William Allen just edged Sean Galvin in the last shot for €700. At Jagoe’s Mills mid-week the 2021 U16 was played out and victory went to Conor O’Donovan who had two bowls to spare on a plucky Ronan O’Donovan, whose opening shot had him in early trouble. In a novice D tournament score at Jagoe’s Tim Allen bowled well in a one bowl victory over John Paul O’Driscoll. The contested for a €600 stake.
Lyre host the South-West junior B round-robin series and here on Saturday Denis O’Sullivan overcame Ger Connolly by a bowl of odds. In the South-West novice veteran championship at The Pike, Ger Hegarty got the better of Mickey Harrington winning by a bowl for an €940 total. Shane Nugent hit good form at Shannonvale mid-week when he accounted for the formidable Michael Crean in the South-West novice B championship by a two-bowl margin. Scenic Fisher’s Cross hosted a South-West novice A clash on Thursday evening, and it was Clon’s John O’Driscoll who took a last shot victory from Shannonvale’s John Connolly. For a €2,800, O’Driscoll with junior speed, forged into a bowl lead, but a splendid rally by Connolly brought it to the last shot. O’Driscoll won that vital exchange by twenty metres.
In regions further afield another leading challenger has departed the junior A title-race. Last year’s county runner-up, Davy Fitzgerald lost out in his North-East semi-final contest with Timmie McDonagh (Jun) at Grenagh. In the same division, Paddy O’Donoghue, long time intermediate campaigner and champion too in 2010, is now in junior ranks and won his opening round set-to with Michael Murphy also at Grenagh. In East Cork, P J Cooney is gone having lost out to his brother James in the semi-final.
In club action, the two-grade disparity between Andrew O’Callaghan and John Young did not reflect on a wonderful tournament tussle between the two at Ballinacurra, Upton on Saturday. For a €2,000 total, Young held sway for much of the contest but was denied by a stunning last shot from intermediate quarterfinalist O’Callaghan. There was victory for junior over intermediate at Ballincurrig where City’s Trevor O’Meara defeated Billy McAuliffe in the Moss Twomey Shield for a 3,300 total. At Dublin venue, Newcastle, Ross man Peter Nagle engaged with Ardfield native, and long-time veteran campaigner, Pat Callanan. Nagle won in the last shot for €340.