A preview of the All Ireland Series 2, a report on the Junior B final at Togher Cross, Denise Murphy is crowned intermediate champion after her victory in Bweeng along with reports from the rest of the weeks action
Back in its time-honoured slot, bowling’s All-Ireland’s series 2 takes place under the auspices of Bol Chumann Ard Mhacha on this August Bank Holiday weekend. Newtownhamilton are hosts and seven finals are down for decision on the Cullyhanna road with the big headliner, the senior men’s shoot-out on Sunday afternoon involving Cork’s new champion, Michael Bohane and Armagh’s leading light, Thomas Mackle, who is contesting his fifth senior decider. It has the makings of a classic. The Cork champion’s confidence has to be sky high following his seismic victory at Lyre, but he will again be massively the underdog as Mackle, on home territory, will relish an opportunity to claim an overdue second All-Ireland crown. Another to look forward to is the Saturday junior B shoot-out between two of bowling best upcoming talents. Cork’s Denis O’Sullivan and Armagh’s Aaron Hughes are both strong contenders and sparks could fly. Denise Murphy has experience on her side in the intermediate final when she comes up against Shannon McGuire. The Ulster champion though has been a two-time All-Ireland winner at U16 level. Tim Kelleher and Brian Kinchen contest in the veterans final. Kinchen won the junior C All-Ireland in Westport in 1999. The boys and girls U16 and boys U12 finals will all be keenly contested.
The full All-Ireland programme for Newtownhamilton is
Saturday July 30, 11.00am, Start at Chandler’s, Boy’s U12 final, Sean Lappin (Ulster) v Ross O’Brien (Munster).
12.30pm, Start at Mackins, Veteran’s final, Brian Kinchen (Ulster) v Tim Kelleher (Munster).
2.00pm Start at The Quarry, Girls U16 final, Lily O’Rourke (Ulster) v Laura Sexton/Darcy O’Brien (Munster).
3.30pm Start at Mackins’ Junior B final Aaron Hughes (Ulster) v Denis O’Sullivan (Munster).
Sunday July 31, 11.00 Start at Mackins, Women’s intermediate final, Shannon McGuire (Ulster) v Denise Murphy (Munster).
12.30 Start at Chandler’s Boy’s U16 final, Darragh Gribben (Ulster) v Liam Murphy/Brian Horgan (Munster).
3.30 Start at Mackin’s Senior Men’s final, Thomas Mackle (Ulster) v Michael Bohane (Munster).
The junior B final at Togher Cross on Saturday was a highly charged encounter between two young exponents for whom the experience was a testing one. Denis O’Sullivan and Darragh Dempsey also had very wet conditions to contend with as they played away for a €10,000 total stake with the Carbery man the punter’s favourite. The rain did not affect the opening salvoes from both players and the quality of the bowling over the opening four shots was of the highest order as Dempsey shaded tips. They were unlucky both for sight with their fifth but when Dempsey overheld his sixth it looked advantage fair to O’Sullivan. It was short-lived as Dempsey produced a miracle shot up to the ‘bridge’ to regain the lead, but a crucial miss for ‘Hurley’s’ was another instance of inconsistency creeping into his bowling. He still held sway though and thoughts of chances lost were banished with a magnificent eleventh past ‘Cronin’s garage’ which rose a bowl of odds. South-West champion O’Sullivan had impressed in earlier rounds with his speed, and it was a factor as he reeled in the deficit in the shots past ‘Derrinacarragh school’. That inconsistency returned as Dempsey lost ground with each successive shot, but O’Sullivan seemed to have shot his bolt when he misplayed his second last to the right. To the consternation of the Carbery camp Dempsey missed his mark and with it went his junior B ambitions. O’Sullivan fired a beauty past the finish line to claim the Noel Moxley county cup and he will enjoin in a much-anticipated All-Ireland shoot-out with Ulster’s champion, Aaron Hughes, at Newtownhamilton this weekend.
Denise Murphy is women’s intermediate champion after her victory over Juliette Murphy in the all North Cork decider at Bweeng on Sunday morning. Again, rain bedevilled, it was, nonetheless, a cracking encounter that ebbed and flowed throughout. Denise rose a bowl of odds after five big opening shots, but Juliette levelled and led with a superb sequence of her won. Denise escaped with a very tight thirteenth which restored her earlier advantage, and it was enough of a cushion to take a last shot victory. The stake at issue was €1,200.
The junior veteran final at Newcestown on Wednesday evening attracted a crowd comparable to Lyre of the previous Sunday and again they weren’t disappointed as a terrific duel unfolded between North Cork’s Mark Burke and City’s Noel Gould. The stake was of sizable proportions too with a €22,600 total testimony to the backing both men commanded. Gould led early before Burke came ahead on the rise form ‘Mac’s cross’. They were getting into their stride as Burke beat a monster effort of Gould’s to ‘Allen’s lane’, but it was the City man who made the first break going close on a bowl up at ‘Desmond’s’. That ascendancy was short lived as Burke roared back with a super tenth to regain the lead. The North Cork campaigner from Berrings then rose almost a bowl of odds only for Gould to level again by ‘O’Brien’s. Three to go now the score was decided by a ferocious drive by Burke from the cross. It was a shot Gould could only just pass in two with the result that the county junior veteran cup goes to North Cork for the first time since the late Seamus Sexton (Senior) won it at Newcestown also in 2009. In the novice veteran title-race Deice native, Tony Murphy from Clashmore, carried the East Cork/West Waterford regional banner with pride in a magnificent campaign through the county rounds. Unfortunately for him it ended it defeat in the final at Ballinacurra, Upton on Wednesday when the strong Gaeltacht champion, Tim Kelleher, edged a hard-fought decider. For a €1,000 total it was a shot for shot battle with Kelleher just winning by the fore bowl. The Gaeltacht man’s power enabling him to get vital touches particularly at the novice line. On Monday evening, Murphy engaged with Carbery’s John O’Brien of Ballydehob at Beal na mBlath. O’Brien missed a chance to rise big odds with his fifth and was left to rue as Murphy fired a massive sixth to take a lead he wouldn’t relinquish. It stayed a tight score as Murphy took it in the last shot. They played for a total of €500. Unfortunately, there was an anti-climax to the junior/novice veteran play-off at Castletownkenneigh on Sunday evening when injury prevented Mark Burke from playing leaving Tim Kelleher as the Cork representative in the All-Ireland decider against Brian Kinchen.
Three under-age All-Ireland’s will be decided in Armagh this weekend. Cork championships are, in some instances, running late but one can say with a degree of certainty that the eventual winners will have been tested to the limit given the quality of so many of the inter-regional round scores. Darcy O’Brien (Gaeltacht) and Laura Sexton (South West) contest this week for the U16 girls title. In the second semi-finals at Ballinacarriga on Friday, Darcy won from Mid Cork’s Ciara Allen. This was a big performance from the Gaeltacht champion whose three huge shots from ‘McSweeney’s’ gave her a commanding lead. The boy’s U16 decider is also on this week and promises a riveting shoot-out. Liam Murphy was in scintillating form in his semi-final win at The Clubhouse.
Playing Mid Cork’s Daniel Wilmot, a hugely promising exponent also, Murphy’s opening three came close to ‘sight’ at ‘O’Brien’s’ and he was two bowls clear in seven ferocious shots to ‘Clon cross’. There was little Wilmot could do against this onslaught and it was Murphy who progressed. Brian Horgan had to battle hard to overcome South-West’s Cillian Twohig in his semi-final at Caheragh. U14 champion form 2020, Rossmore boy Twohig had early ascendancy but once Horgan fired two of the finest from Reenrua cross, the West Cork champion was through. Ross O’Brien from Clondrohid, the Gaeltacht champion, is the U12 county winner for 2022. In the decider, hosted by Castletownkenneigh club on the Enniskeane road down from the ‘triangle’, Ross put a hesitant start behind him to line some thundering drives along the centre. North East’s Mickey McDonagh was a worthy finalist and led in the early stages, but when Ross fired a huge fifth to the ‘hollies’ the tide turned in the Gaeltacht boy’s favour. Ross followed with another of the highest order showing admirable accuracy and style in his deliveries and was presented with the Finbarr Murphy Cup by Bol Chumann chair, Michael Brennan.
In the semi-finals, Mickey McDonagh came with a late surge to deny West Cork’s Oisin Murray at Jagoe’s Mills. Oisin had a good advantage with three to go but the North East champion’s strong finish got him ahead at the vital stage. Ross O’Brien came through a tough semi-final with Mid Cork’s Jack Allen at Ballinacarriga. Ross made the perfect start rising two bowls of odds with his opening four and he needed that cushion as Jack reeled in odds with some excellent bowling past the mid-way point. Ross had enough in hand for a bowl of odds win.
The Leinster region had a veteran championship for 2022 and it resulted in a good play-off on the Newcastle road on Saturday last. Former South-West champion, Pat Callanan shows he has still got it with a bowl of odds victory over Louth’s Peter Clinton.
Kevin Cotter is West Cork junior C champion for 2022. He defeated his Togher Cross clubmate Noel O’Regan in the decider at Togher Cross on Sunday morning. It was a last shot win for Cotter. The novice A final at Togher Cross on Sunday evening was a superb contest. Paul Kingston and David Horgan took issue for a combined €2,140 and it was Kingston who made the better start going close to a bowl up with six terrific opening shots. Horgan rallied but Kingston was following his best and still held a seventy-metre advantage with one to go. Horgan let fly a magnificent effort in an effort to salvage it and nearly did, but Kingston kept his composure and beat a big tip to claim the title. Both men were over the line in thirteen record equalling shots. Con Collins of Kealkil upset the odds in the West Cork novice C final at The Clubhouse on Saturday evening. For a €1,240 total, the Kealkil man took advantage of a misplay by his Togher Cross namesake, Johnny Collins, to take the winner’s prize and a place in the county rounds. In West Cork women’s junior at Drinagh, Eireann O’Donovan won from Emer O’Connell and Maighreid O’Leary won from Sinead O’Connell.
In the Gaeltacht division, Jim Coffey won the junior C final at Macroom on Monday. A tight contest with Jerry O’Riordan ended with a last shot win for Coffey. They played for a stake of €2,600. In the novice D semi-final at Clondrohid, Conor Kelleher defeated Adam O’Connell. At Terelton on Saturday, Shane O’Driscoll defeated Alan O’Shea in the novice C semi-final. He will meet U18 champion, Cillian Kelleher in the decider. Cillian won his semi-final from Adam McCarthy at Macroom on Sunday morning. Also in the Gaeltacht, Matty McDonagh is in the D final after his semi-final win over Henry Browne at Ballyvourney. In the Mid Cork novice D semi-final at Jagoe’s Mills, Derrick Murphy defeated Fionn Dwyer, last shot, for €5,000.
As championship begin to wind down, tournament action and fund-raisers have filled the void in many regions. Bantry on Sunday morning hosted a senior clash between Martin Coppinger and James O’Donovan, two of Michael Bohane’s conquests on his road to county championship glory. For a €4,400 total, O’Donovan turned the tables on Coppinger in this one, a local family fund-raiser, winning in the last shot.
At The Pike on Monday, the Fearghal Beamish Cup tournament resumed. Battling it out here were Darren Santry, Castleventry and John Young, Drinagh. It was an interesting set-to that carried a €2,600 total stake and it Santry who made a break with a smashing fifth shot that enabled him rise a bowl lead by the ‘lines’ at ‘White’s cross’. Young fought it well with a couple of sweeping efforts from back of ‘Draper’s’ but Santry’s big one at the novice line maintained a handy cushion. The Castleventry man won by a big fore bowl. At Templemartin on Saturday evening, Wayne Parkes defeated Donal O’Riordan by a bowl in the Tim Foley Cup.