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Bowling Report - Week ending 25th February




MURPHY EXCITED TO LEAD BÓL CHUMANN.

Donoughmore native, Willie Murphy, was elected chair Ból Chumann for 2024 at last Wednesday’s AGM, held at The Munster Arms Hotel, Bandon. Having acted as interim chair since Michael Brennan’s departure last September, Willie, proposed by Mid, North and West Cork divisions was the unanimous choice of delegates and becomes the seventh to hold the position as the Association heads for the seventieth anniversary of its founding. He is also the first from his home division where he currently fills the roles of treasurer and PRO. Indeed, Willie’s involvement in North Cork as a player and in all administrative roles spans almost five decades. Willie hails from a close-knit family steeped in the traditions and history of bowling. For generations the Murphy name has been at the forefront of North Cork bowling whether garnering honours on the road or involved in administrative roles. Willie’s brother, Mick, won the junior A All-Ireland championship of 1984 and was part of Bol Chumann teams at international events in the seventies and eighties, his niece, Cork football great Juliette, won the All-Ireland intermediate crown in 2007, brother Tade, veteran (1996 and 2004) and vintage championship (2010) and nephew Oliver the novice 2 title in 2019. He has the good wishes of all as he leads the Association through a busy twelve months that will include a European Championship visit to Germany in May. Willie expressed his thanks to all who endorsed his nomination and looked forward to liaising with his counterparts in Bol Chumann Uladh and those within the International Bowlplaying Association who organise events in Europe. He expressed his hope that all those selected to compete in Germany in May will train hard and utilise the facilities put at their disposal. He expects a return on a par with what was achieved in Meldorf 2022.


Willie Murphy’s elevation left the position of Association vice-chair open and here too there was unanimous support for the nomination of Mick Hurley, Conna and East Cork who had regions South-West, West and East as his proposers. Mick is another with a long history of involvement both as a player, administrator and organiser of the highest calibre. A native of Togher Cross in West Cork, he is currently chair of the East Cork division Bol Chumann, where his organisational skills have been to the fore at All-Ireland hosting’s (2022/2023) and annually at the King and Queen of the Roads festivals. In 2022 he received Bol Chumann’s Personality of the Year Award in acknowledgement of the effort he contributes to the smooth running of these events. On the road, Mick famously won a thrilling All-Ireland junior B championship at The Marsh Road in 2008 when coming from two bowls of odds down to defeat a formidable Ulster champion, Cormac Garvey, with an explosive finish.


Liam O’Keefe’s much mourned passing in April of last year left the honorary position of Association President vacant and there was satisfaction within all ranks when Susan Green’s nomination was accepted without reservation. Niece of the late Liam, Susan needs no introduction to the bowling community having led the Association with diligence and distinction over a nineteen-year period (2001-2019). Her continued involvement both with the ladies committee and now as Bol Chumann president is welcomed by all.


Last Wednesday’s AGM was a well-attended gathering that had regional and club representation from across the county. It was a busy night for Honorary Secretary, Micheal O’Ceallacháin who read the minutes of the 2022 AGM and reflected on a busy twelve months just past that included a superb championship season as well as countless tournament and fund-raising events but also, upheaval in the form of the sudden resignation of chair Michael Brennan and sadness too at the passing of many prominent players and officials among them the aforementioned Liam O’Keefe, Con O’Callaghan, Billy McAuliffe, Joe Bowen, James Nagle and Teddy O’Driscoll. In his own address, Micheal welcomed the fact that membership of the Association increased particularly he said, ‘the influx of so many from the younger generation was most welcome’. He said the Association must move with the times and urged the game’s youth to ‘grasp that nettle’ and take administrative roles as many have done to great effect. Michéal thanked his fellow officers for their support throughout the year. Treasurer James O’Driscoll presented an expansive report on the Association’s finances. Ahead of a year when heavy expense will be incurred in relation to preparation and participation in the European Championships, his report, prepared and audited by Christy Naughton & Co. Ltd, showed the Association in good standing financially. James was particularly thankful to Sport Ireland for their grant aided support without which the Association would not be in good stead. He praised clubs and regions for their diligence in returning championship levies and he thanked Kilumney, Castletownbere and Curraheen bowling clubs for magnanimous contributions to the Association. He thanked Bandon Town Hall for the use of their rooms for meetings and Michael Brennan for the use of his facilities previously.


Caroline Smith said in her presentation as chair of the ladies committee that it was important ladies participate at every level, and she said that those that did helped break down barriers. She urged all to complete Garda Vetting and Child Welfare courses. PRO, Pat McCarthy thanked the various media outlets for publishing reports and all those within regions who suppled information on scores via Whats App and Facebook forums. He said all who choose to be members were valued within the Association but, with it came a responsibility to accept its rules and constitution and promote the sport in a positive manner. Officers elected to serve Bol Chumann for 2024 were, President, Susan Greene; Chairman, Willie Murphy, Vice Chair, Mick Hurley, Honorary Secretary, Michéal O’Ceallacháin; Treasurer, James O’Driscoll; Registrar, Billy McAuliffe; Fixtures Secretary, Richie Fitzgerald; Youths Officer, David Murphy; Child Protection Officer, Caroline Smith; P.R.O. Pat McCarthy; Safety Officer, Michael Brennan; Legal Advisor, Dominic Creedon & Co; Auditors, Christy Naughton & Co. Ltd.


DALY BACK ON THE WINNING TRACK.

Gary Daly got back on the winning trail with an emphatic victory over Seamus Sexton in the Willie Whelton Cup at Grange on Sunday. Their most recent clash in the pre-Christmas Eamonn Bowen Memorial at Bottlehill resulted in a Sexton victory thanks in the main to a brilliant start and the North Cork man was the favourite in the €8,600 total stake last Sunday’s contest went for. He did not hit the ground running in the same manner this time and it was Daly with a well-delivered fourth who took a handy lead around ‘Holland’s wall’. Sexton got no purchase on his sixth and it would prove critical to the outcome. Without producing anything spectacular, Daly rose a bowl of odds and held it as they both lofted well in eight and nine to ‘Hegarty’s’. Sexton showed his best form with super tenth and eleventh shots that cut into Daly’s lead, but he pulled his shot for ‘Hodnett’s’ to the right allowing Daly to regain his bowl advantage. Having survived a late scare when Sexton rallied again, Daly’s sixteenth to the ‘carpark’ gave him cushion enough for a good last shot win.


THREE-WAY CRACKER AT LYRE.

There was a cracker at Lyre on Saturday when a three-way shoot-out between Gaeltacht’s Conor Creedon, Carbery’s Donie Harnedy and Mid Cork’s John A Murphy went head-to-head for a combined €2,700. Murphy, despite a fine effort on the straight, went a bowl adrift leaving Creedon and Harnedy to fight it out at the front. The Skibb man, making a welcome return after a serious injury, fired a splendid tenth across the ‘chicane’ and followed with another piledriver to ‘McCarthy’s bend’ only for Creedon who had led by a bowl after a bright start, to follow both and maintain a slender lead. Harnedy came again with a great closing flourish, but Creedon steadfastly stayed in front and won by the fore bowl.


TEAM EFFORT PAYS OFF FOR WEST CORK BOYS AND GAELTEACHT GIRLS.

As they did in 2023, West Cork boys took top billing at the Denis Kelleher Shield inter-regional youths team play-offs at The Phale Road, Ballineen, on Sunday morning last. Gaeltacht girls joined them in the winner’s enclosure winning their section with a commanding performance. Composed of an entirely new trio all from the western end of the division, West Cork’s Kieran Courtney, Bantry, Eoghan Hickey, Durrus, and Tommy Coppinger, Bantry, made light of the inclement conditions and blitzed the road in the early stages of their eighteen-shot segment. Three in succession from blind sight at the second bend by the brow of the hill to within a shot of the ‘triangle’ showed each in their best light and it was Courtney again who steadied the ship after a few had gone awry with a powerful drive from the point known as ‘O’Driscoll’s gate’. When Tommy Coppinger, a son indeed of four-time All-Ireland senior champion Martin, fired their last, they had measured 1,466.4 metres for their accumulated total. Mid Cork were a creditable second with Tadg Hickey, Eoin Murphy and supremely talented eight-year-old left-hander, Kieran Hickey, adding hugely to their 1,353.7 metres. There was a big gap to third and here, Carbery (Tom McCarthy, Brian Harrington, Ed McCarthy) edged out South-West and North, to get on the podium with 1,163 metres. The strength of under-age bowling in the Gaeltacht division was evident again in a towering performance from the U16/U14/U12 trio of Kayla Healy, Cliodhna O’Brien and Lilly Scannell who amassed a splendid 1,272.3 for the eighteen shots. All three contributed handsomely and their total was eighty better than that compiled by a strong Carbery trio of Emma O’Leary, Meabh Cuinnea and Lauren McCarthy. Mid Cork were in the medals here too with fine performances by Sophie Murphy, Lelia Foley and Elsie Flynn bringing them to third place on 1,044.6. At the presentation afterwards, John Kelleher representing his late brother, handed over the 2024 winner’s prizes. Bol Chumann’s James O’Driscoll and youths’ officer, David Murphy, thanked all who ensured a successful hosting of one of bowling’s most popular pre-championship competitions. The turnout, just ten from a possible eighteen teams, was disappointing but perhaps understandable given the overnight rain and continuing poor conditions under which the competitions were played.

In further tournament action, Tim McDonagh stalled Noel O’Donovan’s good run with victory over the Crossbarry man in their tournament clash at Ballinacurra, Upton. For a €13,000 total, rising a bowl lead at ‘the church’ was important in the Fermoy’s man win. Back here, there was a double for Tom Reaney who won two from two with Ronan Hoey, both for €1,000 stakes. In the Tigh O’Laoire Cup at Beal na Morrive, City’s Jack O’Leary defeated Macroom’s Stephen Spillane by two for €1,800. Back the road, Jack Oldham defeated Paul Walsh, one bowl, for €1,100. In the Firmount novice D semi-final, James Collins defeated Pat Joe Murphy by a bowl, for €800. Collins plays Jerry Hubbard in the decider. Back here, Kieran Buckley defeated Cathal O’Hanlon, last shot, for €800. There was an unfortunate ending to the intermediate contest at Whitechurch when Andrew O’Callaghan, who is selected on Bol Chumann’s senior men’s panel for the European Championships in Germany in May, was forced to withdraw injured from his engagement with Eamonn Bowen. For a €5,200 total stake, Bowen had the better of to half-way the bones of a bowl of odds ahead when O’Callaghan, following a ligament injury, conceded. Also here, Tommy O’Sullivan defeated Paddy Stokes, last shot, for €4,000 and Michael John O’Brien defeated Jimmy Quilligan, last shot for €4,200.


Championship action abounded at the weekend. In West Cork, a fiercely contested U14 clash at Drinagh saw Dunmanway’s Jack McCarthy just edge out local boy, Jack Coakley. In U18 at Bantry, Drinagh’s Eoin Hurley won from Kieran O’Sullivan and at The Clubhouse, Germany bound, Jonathan Deane, won from Kieran Crowley. Also, in U18 at Togher Cross, Shane Hurley won a good contest from Finian Hurley. In the novice D championship at Durrus, Ian Crowley just got the verdict from Luke McCarthy. In novice C at Inch, Dunmanway, Vincent Roche defeated Daniel O’Sullivan by a bowl of odds for €600. South West’s championship season is up and running. At The Pike, Eric Harrington got the better of Denis Whooley by a bowl of odds for €800 in the novice C grade. In Mid Cork novice D at Beal na mBlath, Chris Hayes defeated Michael O’Driscoll, last shot, for €500. In the Gaeltacht novice D championship, Mickey O’Callaghan won from Shane Hodnam at Clondrohid and in the same championship at Baile Bhuirne, Andrew Kelleher defeated Brian Twomey, last shot, for €940. In the City division a junior A championship contest at Templemichael saw Paddy Stokes defeat Cian Boyle by a bowl for €2,800 and in a return, Patrick stokes won from Jamie O’Brien, one bowl, for €2,300. At The Bog Road in novice veteran, Derry Crowley was forced out by injury in his contest with Birol Kat and in junior veteran at Curraheen, Martin Connolly defeated Maurice Connolly. In North Cork novice D at Ballinagree on Sunday, Mickey McAuliffe got the better of Jim Martin by a bowl of odds for €500. There was a minor turn-up in the North-East novice veteran at Carrignavar when Eugene Hanley, who won the grade last year, defeated former junior A, Michael Gould, by a bowl, for €500.


NEWCASTLE UNDER-AGE TEAMS FINALISED FOR ALL-IRELANDS.

Teams have been finalised for this Saturday’s inter-provincial U12 and U14 play-offs at Newcastle, Co. Dublin. Munster (Cork) Girls U14 team is Caoilinn Callanan, Jena Healy, Chloe Hubbard and Anna Deane while the U12 line up is Aimee McCarthy, Aoibhe Deane, Cait Young and Lily Scannell. The boys teams are U14, Ross O’Brien, Conor Hourihane, Luke Barry, Dylan O’Shea; U12, Jayden Crowley, Eoin Kelly, James Murphy and Kieran Hickey.

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