Reports from the Mid-Cork Junior A & Junior C final, the vintage A final at Ballygurteen, the west Cork novice C semi-final along with many more from a weekend full of action
Aidan Desmond is Mid Cork junior A champion for 2021 after a two-bowl win over John Shorten in Saturday’s final at Jagoe’s Mills. The Blarney man’s impressive rise through junior ranks in recent years now sees him at the pinnacle and he showed his wares with a brilliant sequence in the middle third that effectively put his latest victory beyond doubt. Former senior, Shorten, still has plenty to offer at junior level and led this decider after four good opening shots. From this point, Desmond unleashed three magnificent efforts that covered an amount of road to the ‘old railway line’. It left a bowl and a half margin between them and, although Shorten staged a rally in the bowling to the ‘power station’ which reduced the odds to the even shot, Desmond lined another brace to ensure a first regional junior A title. His twelve beyond ‘Ballinvard cross’ represented excellent bowling for the road.
On a weekend of finals in Mid Cork, Trevor O’Sullivan won the junior C championship at Newcestown also on Saturday. Leading from the off against Alan Butler the Templemartin man took a while to shake off his Bandon rivals challenge and it took two sweeping efforts to ‘O’Brien’s cross’ to rise a bowl of odds. It stayed competitive to the end, but that one bowl cushion was enough to guarantee O’Sullivan his title. They played for a total of €2,200.
At Templemartin on Sunday, Kenneth Murphy edged a tight junior B semi-final shoot-out with Ger O’Driscoll. They exchanged the lead in the bowling to the ‘school-house cross’ before Murphy’s more consistent finish saw him through to a final meeting with Brendan O’Neill. Newcestown also staged Mid Cork’s novice C final on Sunday week last and Dylan Galvin and Sean Nyhan served up an exciting duel for a combined €4,340. The lead changed on numerous occasions as, crucial to the outcome, Galvin beat a massive effort of Nyhan’s at ‘Canty’s lane’. Ten metres separated them with three to go and again Galvin held his nerve beating huge second last and last shots from Nyhan to score a hard-earned win. The Mid novice D final is on this weekend at Dunderrow when Michael Hickey and Fionn Dwyer go head-to-head. In Mid junior ladies, Martina Foley won from Siobhan Kelleher.
The vintage A final at Ballygurteen on Saturday had all three contenders in with a shout within sight of the line. Jimmy Collins of Union Hall took the Denis Trunwit Cup with a stronger finishing surge denying Chris O’Donovan and John Nagle who also had their moments and contributed much to an engaging duel that carried a €4,400 total that involved only the junior graded pair, Collins and O’Donovan. From the novice A category, Ross man, Nagle was the underdog but took a surprise lead with well-executed second and third shots. The battle between Collins and O’Donovan was beginning to emerge when the Union Hall man fired a splendid fourth to gain significant law on both rivals. Nagle stayed ahead of O’Donovan but that all changed when the Ballineen man fired a huge cast from ‘Oakmount lodge’ and a big eleventh saw him regain the lead. It looked good for O’Donovan then when a big effort on the left ran to sight at ‘O’Donovan’s corner’, but Collins, from an inferior stand, lined the shot that would be vital to the outcome. A sweeping effort on the centre brought him back in front and, with Nagle closing a bowl of odds deficit, a tight finish was in prospect. It didn’t pan out in that fashion as Collins shot from ‘Burke’s’ put big leeway on both opponents and beating the line with his last was a formality. For the outright 2020 veterans championship the A winner must play the lower ranked B and C winners, yet to be decided, but Collins may well have won the hardest battle.
In vintage B at Ballinacarriga, Harry Russell defeated Bob O’Regan by two to advance to a quarterfinal meeting with Pat Joe Connolly. O’Regan started well but didn’t follow up and Russell was in control by half-way. In vintage C, for those in the novice D category, John Tringle had a notable win. In against Con O’Donovan, Newcestown, a man with a strong record in vintage championships, Tringle, from Lisbealad, bowled a fine score and will play either Tom O’Donovan or Jim Walsh in the next round. There was a surprise of sorts at Lyre where Jerry Connolly ended the hopes of P J Hegarty. Connolly now meets Teddy Murphy whose strong finish at Templemartin got him home against Association chair, Michael Brennan. In vintage C (1) at Bweeng, Denis Murphy, Ballinagree, defeated Pat Scanlon, and at Carrignavar Thade Murphy defeated Liam Barry.
It was another busy weekend at West Cork venues. The best of the West was scheduled for Durrus and Alan Brickley and Kevin Murphy certainly didn’t disappoint with a cracking novice C semi-final set-to that went for a €2,000 total. The bowling was top notch as Brickley rose a shot of odds with three big openers and increased his lead with another fine brace. Murphy rose to the challenge and knocked the odds to a throw out, but Brickley held out in a tight finish. Martin Murphy will be his opponent in the final after the Togher Cross youth ended the hopes of Schull’s John O’Regan at Drinagh. For a €1,400 total, Murphy had a bowl to spare at the end of this encounter.
Another contest to savour was the West U12 boy’s final at Bantry. Oisin Murray from Ardcahan and Conor Hourihane, Bantry had a wonderful battle which the Ardcahan boy shaded at the end. Also, at Drinagh in junior ladies, Maighread O’Leary won from Katelyn Sheehan. In U14 boys at Ballinacarriga, Brian O’Sullivan of Johnstown just got the better of Jack Gibbons, Bantry. The girls U14 semi-finals went ahead at The Clubhouse and here, Drinagh’s Emma Hurley won from Doireann Hurley and Kimi Bosna won from Eabha Kehily. At Ardcahan in U16 boys, Daniel O’Sullivan won from Finian Hurley.
In Gaeltacht scores, novice D at Baile Bhuirne, Shane Keane defeated D J O’Driscoll and in E, Christoir Desmond defeated Eamonn McSweeney. In junior ladies at Cill na Martra, Helen Browne won from Maree Lynch and in novice C, Liam Kearney won from Dara Lynch.
Congratulations are extended to Hannah Sexton who was named November West Cork Sports Star of the month. Bowling’s most decorated youths star made the transition to adult grades a winning at her first attempt when she captured the County intermediate crown. A narrow defeat in the All-Ireland series at Ballyvourney does not detract from a splendid season when she also claimed U18 county and All-Ireland honours. Hannah leads the way too at the international senior womens trials currently being hosted at Castletownkenneigh and, all going well, will be a hugely important part of Bol Chumann’s team at the European Championships scheduled for Garding next May. The last of the Road trials went ahead at Castletownkenneigh on Sunday morning last and again a big turnout augurs well for eventual team selections. Big tallies were recorded by Michael Bohane, David Murphy and Tom O’Donovan in senior men, by Meghan Collins, Claire O’Sullivan, senior ladies, Darragh Dempsey and Ellen Sexton, youths. Teams will be announced within a few weeks.
There was senior action at Whitechurch on Saturday. Martin Coppinger and Gary Daly have been lighting up the road at the international trials at Castletownkenneigh but their engagement at the City venue did not contain many highlights. For a €6,000 total, Coppinger led by a bowl at ‘bula’ only to lose it by ‘Downey’s line’ and it was Daly who led beyond the ‘devils bend’. As he can do when under the cosh, Coppinger found a way to regain control and emerged a big last shot winner at the end of a fraught encounter. Also, at Whitechurch on Saturday, Denis Connolly won from Anthony Crowley for €2,000 and Seamus Sexton defeated Eamonn Bowen for €1,200. On Sunday here, Trevor O’Meara got the better of county junior A champion, Andrew O’Callaghan, last shot, for €2,200 and Sean O’Leary defeated John Donnellan, last shot, for €800. Jagoe’s Mills had a selection of scores at the weekend. Back after the junior A final on Saturday, Jerry O’Brien defeated Declan O’Donovan (K) by a bowl for €1,800 and, on Sunday, Paul O’Donoghue defeated Bernard O’Callaghan, last shot, for €720 and Paul Kelleher defeated Tim Allen, one bowl, for €840. Shannonvale had a busy weekend recently with five scores on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21. Local man. Ger Connolly defeated Shane Shannon on the Saturday, one bowl, for €7,000, but the Durrus men were on the winning side in the return when Carbery’s novice B champion, Sidney Shannon defeated Shane Nugent, one bowl, for €3,000.
The big one on Sunday was the meeting of Denis Wilmot and Dec O’Donovan. Going for a combined €6,200 it was a surprisingly one-sided contest as Wilmot, thanks to a brilliant shot to ‘Desmond’s’ from ‘Buttimer’s pillars’ rose a two-bowl lead on the Carbery man. When he extended that further by ‘Kingston’s lane’, his lead was unassailable. Denis O’Sullivan kept the Carbery flag flying with a last win over Alan Butler for a €4,000 total Joe Tyner was in the winner’s enclosure too defeating Declan O’Donovan (Kinsale) last shot, for €1,000. At Bauravilla in the John Joe Murphy Cup, John Young produced a superb fourth shot to rise a bowl on Tony O’Sullivan and had big odds with it in eight to the ‘rock’. O’Sullivan staged a stirring revival and had it under the bowl at ‘O’Donoghue’s’, but Young’s big effort from the novice line ensured a place in the semi-final draw.