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Bowling Report - Week ending 27th February

The Champy Deasy Cup tournament is the preserve of Grange bowling Club. It commemorates the memory of the late Timoleague man who was a bowling colossus in the sixties and seventies throwing memorable scores that still live in the memory of many. The then thriving bowling community in London played their scores at Launders lane and it was there Champy was often seen at his best. The current competition for the cup that bears his name had an interesting joust on Sunday last involving two men who need no introduction to bowling followers. Christy Mullins and Gavin Twohig have garnered their share of the headlines over the past half century but may now be in the twilight years in terms of their bowling capabilities. Nonetheless, their pulling power remains undiminished as the fine crowd who witnessed their first-round set-to on Sunday last testified. Both are just re-graded to junior ranks after lengthy sojourns at the top level and they delivered an engaging contest that hinged on a spark of the old magic from Mullins whose explosive thirteenth catapulted him from a seventy metres deficit to a victory by almost a bowl of odds. €8,300 was the total stake as they played off from Lislevane and it went level for the first five to ‘Holland’s wall’. A few chances came and went before Twohig looked to have made a decisive move with a smashing twelfth to ‘Noelie’s bungalow’. It was a shot that yielded a seventy-metre advantage. It was here Christy Mullins pulled one from the locker that a few may have thought was running bare. An astonishing thirteenth cast held the centre track for an age and won back the lead in thrilling style. His next on for ‘Barry’s wall’ gave him an unassailable advantage and Twohig’s brave challenge was finally broken as the Bantry man drove to a bowl of odds victory.

It was mid-way through the Mullins-Twohig battle that news filtered through of Liam Daly’s passing. Tributes flowed immediately. Liam, from Shannonvale, holds a cherished place in the annals of the game. His personality infused his every involvement. Competitive in his playing days, he was a champion on the road in the seventies, a pioneer when bowling broached an international era and was effective as an administrator in the South West division and as Bol Chumann’s registrar for a twelve-year period. Liam was at all times gentlemanly, helpful and respectful to all comers. In those heady days of the late sixties and early seventies, turbulent times when the All-Ireland series was in jeopardy, Liam was immersed in everything bowling. The sport has been fortunate in that so many worthy individuals have documented its greatest scores and great personalities, notably, Flor Crowley in the Southern Star, Brian Toal, Charlie Madden, Gretta Cormican and most recently, Noel Magnier, have all recorded for posterity the outstanding feats that have enriched the game’s history. Liam Daly features in every contribution. He won the All-Ireland intermediate championship of 1973 which was played at Grenagh in March 1974, a deferral necessitated by the Troubles in Northern Ireland. In his first year in senior ranks, he made it through to the county final but suffered defeat in the decider at Ballincollig to Mick Barry then at the peak of his powers. Liam’s commitment to Bol Chumann’s international integration with German, Dutch and Italian federations is probably his most significant contribution in a lifetime of positive involvement. He was there among the elite during that ground-breaking era when Mick Barry was at his best and when the European Championships were in their formative years. We see Liam in that iconic photograph with his erstwhile comrades as they were about to depart for Amsterdam in May 1969 for those inaugural championships and he was an ever present on virtually every trip abroad for the next three decades. He had of course the pleasure of seeing his daughter Louise become the very first girls U18 European road bowling champion on a great occasion in Meldorf 2000. Liam’s contribution to bowling was recognised in 2016 when he was presented with the Association’s Hall of Fame award by Susan Greene at a special function in Dunmore House. Liam forged a life-long friendship with former fixtures secretary, Harry Jennings. Together they formed an effective partnership in the administration of Susan Greene. A devoted family man, Liam of course throughout his lifetime had the support of wife Margaret whose devotion to the bowling game and support for its institutions has also been resolute and steadfast. His son, Brian, is also on bowling’s roll of honour having won the 2004 All-Ireland novice 2 championship at Wompatuck State Park in Massachusetts. Liam’s funeral services were attended by huge numbers from the bowling fraternity and his coffin bore the Bol Chumann emblem as he made his final journey to St. Mary’s Cemetery on Tuesday last. May he Rest in Peace.

The Aaron ‘mission to walk’ fund-raisers on the Knappagh road produced some lively action on Saturday and Sunday last. The feature on Saturday had Thomas Mackle and Aidan Murphy in opposition for a 14,000 total (Euro/Sterling). After a few morning reverses, the Armagh men made the winners enclosure in this one as Mackle came from arrears to win by almost a bowl. Murphy had the better of it over the first phase leading by almost a bowl after four but undid his good work with a poor brace that left him just thirty ahead after six. Mackle then hit a streak of form reminiscent of his best days lining four of the highest order in a sequence that transformed the score. From hind bowl he now led by a shot and thirty and it was an uphill battle for the Cork man thereafter. He battled bravely and knocked the odds to under the bowl and even had a small chance of levelling coming up to ‘Condy corner’ but Mackle had too much in hand and was an impressive winner. In the forenoon at Knappagh, Wayne Parkes got the sizable Cork contingent away to a winning start when he defeated Aaron Hughes by two bowls 9,400. There was Cork success on Sunday for the Fermoy doubles partnership of Gary Daly and Patrick Flood defeated Bryan and Paul O’Reilly in the last shot for a 6,300 combined total.

All is set for the U12/U14 team finals at Newcastle, Dublin this Saturday. Last Sunday’s U14 trials had some worthy contenders vying for the three remaining places in the boy’s section. Skibb’s Tom McCarthy, already in the line-up from the previous Saturday is joined by the phenomenal talent that is Ben Cooney from Dungourney. The 2020 All-Ireland U12 champion carded 1,154 for his ten shots and Dunmanway’s Dan O’Sullivan and Rosscarbery’s Sean Cuinnea complete the selection. Unlucky on Sunday morning last was Ian Coleman of Grenagh who finished just a metre short of selection. The complete Cork line-up for Dublin on Saturday is Girls U12, Chloe Hubbard, Abbie McDonnell, Lily Twomey, Anna Deane; Girls U14, Laura Sexton, Niamh O’Sullivan, Darcy O’Brien, Sophie Murphy; Boy’s U12, Tadg Hickey, Ross O’Brien, Myles Connors, Jack Allen; Boy’s U14, Ben Cooney, Tom McCarthy, Dan O’Sullivan, Sean Cuinnea. The selections are widely representative with young bowl-players from eight of the Associations nine regions making the cut.

Mid Cork’s 2021 novice E final was played out at Castletownkennneigh on Saturday last. The competition, dedicated to bowling beginners, engendered plenty of interest as it progressed, and the decider was in keeping with its competitive nature. Youthful finalists, Cian Collins of Bandon and local, Eoin O’Callaghan who had battled through four rounds of scores were the last two standing and were locked together for the first five to ‘Kenneigh cross’. Collins made a decisive move with two fine efforts down to ‘the island’ where he held vital leeway on O’Callaghan. This transferred to a bowl of odds on the straight and the Bandonian held his ground over the last third defying a game O’Callaghan who lost no caste in defeat. They played for a total of €2,700.

The Caroline Smith Cup, presented to the region by Bol Chumann’s Child Welfare and Safe Guarding Officer, was on offer and was presented to the winner by Bol Chumann chair, Michael Brennan. In 2022 Mid Cork novice D championship scores, Teddy Murphy defeated Ger O’Leary at Beal na mBlath; Mick O’Callaghan defeated Stephen Murphy, last shot at Newcestown. West Cork 2022 championship season is moving up the gears. Runner-up in the grade in 2021, David O’Brien got his novice B campaign off to a winning start with a first-round victory over the Drinagh man J J Hurley for a €1,080.

In tournament action, Martin Murphy brought another prize to the trophy laden Togher Cross household with victory in the Lyre novice C tournament on Saturday last. With a quite devastating display, Murphy, runner-up in the 2021 West Cork final a few weeks back, gave Diarmuid Murphy no chance to make an impact as he came home a winner by a wide margin. Going for an €1,800 total, Diarmuid Murphy from, Caherbeg, held his own in the early exchanges but crucially did not make sight at the first bend in three. Martin, out and around, hit two big shots to ‘Kingston’s pillars’ to rise a bowl of odds and then unleashed a monstrous sixth that almost ran to the ‘school cross’. That magnificent effort doubled his odds and he put paid to Diarmuid’s challenge with three more of the finest that brought them to ‘Harte’s’ with a big two-bowl difference. Martin, whose sisters, Aileen and Catriona dominated under-age, junior and intermediate championships a decade or so ago, received the winner prize from Gretta Cormican of the host club.

Bantry were away too on Saturday with a competitive junior A tournament score after which there was local success. Muirish Buttimer of the home club and Carbery’s Dec O’Donovan engaged for a €2,500 total and the lead was hotly contested to ‘Sweeney’s farm’ where tips were practically level. Buttimer’s sixth and seventh were score changing as excellent deliveries had him a bowl up at ‘Casey’s cross’. It went shot for shot from there with Buttimer’s consistency earning a one bowl win.


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