CORK BOWLERS HOPE TO RAID THE ORCHARD IN ARMAGH.
Madden, within a few miles of Armagh City, is one of the games most decorated in terms of All-Irelands won by a club’s membership. It is of course the homeland of Kelly Mallon whose phenomenal achievements have contributed so much to putting her homeplace in the record books. But there have been so many more since Francie Kiernan won the first for Madden when defeating Cork’s John Desmond in the 1980 U16 final at Ballyshonin, with Rafferty’s, Hughes, Morgan’s, Kiernan’s and McGuire’s among a host of names from the club who are included in bowling’s roll of honour. Madden were capable hosts for the 2016/17 Ulster All-Ireland series and have been a strong and active force in the province since then.
Next weekend’s Bol Chumann Uladh Youth Development Fundraiser marks a return to the Farnaloy road for a seven-score series that includes many of the games leading lights north and south. A sizable Cork contingent will undoubtedly make their way northwards if only to witness the stand-out senior clash on Sunday afternoon. All-Ireland senior champion, Thomas Mackle, after his stellar year in 2023, will be hoping there is no slippage from those heights when he takes on the very much in form Aidan Murphy, whose performances through the latter months of last year, particularly at Castletownbere, have heralded a man back at the peak of his powers. Their clash is one to whet the appetite for the new season. There is an interesting opener at 9.30 on Saturday 3rd when All-Ireland junior C champion, Barry O’Reilly takes on Jim Coffey. This is followed by an intriguing contest between Gavin Twohig and Pete Carr. Twohig always commands good support and is playing on the road where he won the All-Ireland intermediate crown in 2016. John Grimley and Flor Crowley will engage in Saturday’s third score while senior standard-bearers Colm Rafferty (Armagh) and Gary Daly (Cork) renew acquaintance when closing out Saturday’s programme. Opening Sunday, an intermediate set-to between Bryan O’Reilly (Armagh) and Bantry’s Tim Young could be an opportunity for the Cork man to get back to winning ways. Some of the games leading ladies see action in Sunday’s second score. The sisters Hannah and Ellen Sexton have a tough task in taking on Dervla Toal-Mallon and rising star, Shannon McGuire but will, no doubt, relish the challenge.
The full programme for Madden on the February Bank Holiday weekend is as follows:
Saturday February 3rd, 9.30am, Armagh names first, Barry O’Reilly v Jim Coffey; 11.00am, Pete Carr v Gavin Twohig; 1.00pm, John Grimley v Flor Crowley; 2.30pm, Colm Rafferty v Gary Daly:
Sunday February 4th, 10.00am, Bryan O’Reilly v Tim Young; 12.00, Dervla Toal-Mallon/Shannon McGuire v Hannah/Ellen Sexton; 2.30pm, Thomas Mackle v Aidan Murphy.
MCDONAGH BEGINS DEFENCE IN STYLE
On a weekend packed with action the stand-out fixture was the opening round score in the new Dan O’Riordan Cup senior tournament at Bantry as it pitted cup holder Arthur McDonagh against Munster champion, David Murphy. McDonagh was on the receiving end of a big money loss to Aidan Murphy in the Christmas fund-raisers at Castletownbere but came with confidence to a road where he had delivered some excellent performances on the way to taking last year’s prize. That confidence wasn’t apparent early on as a poor opener left Murphy away to a big early lead, but it was a rare blip as he immediately recovered and cut Murphy’s odds to thirty metres after three shots. Murphy’s fourth and fifth went left and McDonagh’s went in front to the tune of forty metres after six. The Munster champion and the punter’s favourite in the €24,400 total stake, could not get traction either on his seventh and eighth shots and McDonagh went the bones of a bowl clear after ten. Murphy tried hard to stem the tide, but it was a day when little went right for him after the opening exchanges. McDonagh, assured now in all his deliveries, went a bowl clear approaching the last quarter and there was no denying his victory as his lead stretched to close on two bowls with three to go.
MURPHY TAKES THE HONOURS AT TEMPLEMARTIN
Two tournament finals were played at the weekend. Timmie Murphy, Mallow, took the winner’s prize from the Templemartin junior B play-off on Sunday thanks in the main to his ability to extricate himself from a few sticky situations and the failure too of his rivals, Johnny O’Driscoll, and Shane Shannon, to sustain a consistent challenge when the opportunities presented themselves. Murphy’s slack start saw him struggle to gain sight at ‘Slynne’s’ in five and it was O’Driscoll, with a superb fourth shot, who held handy law at this point. Shannon, who led for the first three, was in second place and not far off the pace at this juncture. O’Driscoll stretched out his lead to sixty metres before Murphy brought it back to level with a big ninth. Both O’Driscoll and Shannon erred on the rise to the school-house cross with the Clon man going from first to third after a misplayed twelfth. A bad misjudgement from Murphy with his eleventh had him on the hind foot, but he upped the gears with a cracking thirteenth down to the ‘stonefield bend’. Shannon misplayed his fifteenth into the right and with it went his chance of victory while Murphy, now in the ascendancy, followed up with a score winning fourteenth. O’Driscoll pipped Shannon for second place. The stake at issue amounted to a combined €3,750.
CROWLEY HOLDS OUT AT BALLINAGREE.
The Ballinagree novice 1 tournament, playing for the Dan MacSullivan Cup, was also a three-way shoot-out between Macroom’s David Crowley, Conor Lucey, Beal na Morrive, and John Connolly, Shannonvale. For a combined €3,300, it was a well-contested affair throughout with all three having time at the helm. Connolly made the better start reaching ‘Manning’s lane’ with two fine openers at which point he held commanding odds on both rivals. Unfortunately, for the Shannonvale man that good form wasn’t maintained, and a poor third left it practically level. Lucey showed well in the next exchanges and led after five, but it was Crowley’s super sixth to ‘McCarthy’s corner’ which then set a big marker. It pushed the Macroom man into a lead he wouldn’t relinquish. He still had plenty to do especially after Lucey’s big one to the ‘bridge’ brought it almost level, but he rose to the challenge and went well clear again with two to go. Lucey tried hard again with a big final effort, but Crowley would not be denied the winners prize and the MacSullivan Cup. Back the road, junior B’s Alex O’Donovan and David Hubbard engaged for a €4,000 total. O’Donovan came from a long way back to win this one in the last shot. The Clon man’s last seven were exceptional.
PARKES A STEP CLOSER TO FINAL.
In the intermediate tournament at Shannonvale on Saturday, Wayne Parkes advanced to the last four with a big last shot win over Eamonn Bowen. For a €2,000 total, Parkes rose a bowl lead in the shots down past ‘Hayes’ and it gave him cushion enough for a semi-final joust with Donal O’Riordan. On the other side of the draw, the winner of Tim Young/Brian Wilmot will play Paul Buckley.
Still in North Cork, Firmount had a novice D, quarterfinal on Saturday forenoon with James Collins, Millstreet, taking on Jack Oldham, Coachford. After a competitive joust played for an €800 total, Collins finished strong and will be in the last four shake-up.
In North-East at Ballyhooley, Thomas McDonagh defeated Michael John O’Brien, last shot, for €2,000 and Jamie McDonagh defeated Jamie O’Brien, last shot, also for €2,000. Also, in North-East, at Carrignavar, Denis and Elaine Connolly defeated Steven and Donal Cahill, last shot, for €300 and Eamonn Connolly/Micheal Sheehan defeated Tom O’Donovan/Micheal Murphy, one bowl for €500.
In the new Tigh O’Laoire Cup tournament at Beal na Morrive, Mattie McDonagh defeated Mark Courtney, by a bowl, for €1,100 and back here, Paul Twomey of Newcestown defeated Joe Walsh, last shot, for €1,000.
At Ballincurrig, Andrew O’Leary defeated Mick Wall by a bowl for €500 and, in a return double here, Sean O’Leary and Ted Lyons got the better of John O’Leary and Seamus O’Tuama, last shot.
At Ballinacurra, Upton, on Saturday, Grenagh’s Liam Walsh hit top-form in a one bowl win over Jim Coffey for a €7,540 total. Walsh’s opening five were top notch and yielded a bowl lead but Coffey had that wiped out by ‘Innishannon cross’. Walsh came again with a brilliant eleventh and this time held his lead to the finish. Back the road, Coffey combined with Deccie O’Mahony to defeat Willie O’Donnell and Tom Reaney for a €4,600 total with O’Donnell missing a last shot, he might on another day have beaten with ease. In other scores at Ballinacurra, Damien Healy defeated Derrick Murphy, last shot, for €1,200; Stephen Murphy defeated Shane Desmond by three for €1,600 and Brian Galvin defeated Cian Healy for €300.
CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON GETTING INTO FULL SWING IN ALL REGIONS.
Still only January but the 2024 championship season is in full spate in divisions across the county. Following a raft of cancellations on the previous Sunday, West Cork had nine on their schedule over the past weekend. At Durrus on Saturday, in novice C, David Hourihane of Bantry won a competitive battle with Jason Daly, Kilronan, in the last shot, for a €700 total while in D, Dunmanway’s Ray Jennings performed excellently in a one bowl win over Paul O’Leary for €500 and Barry O’Donovan advanced with a last shot win over Morgan Hickey for €800. On to Kealkil on Sunday where a novice C championship score had Luke Cato and Derrick Jagoe in opposition. Cato won by a bowl for €440. At Drinagh, Michael O’Mahony came from a bowl down to defeat Sean Sheehan by a bowl for €600 in the D championship while, on a busy day at Togher Cross four championship scores were played. In the first of these, at novice C, Con O’Sullivan won from Brendan Burke and in the same category, Darren Cronin won from Colin Arundle. In the D championship which in West Cork has fifty-eight starters a cracking score unfolded at Togher Cross between Daniel Hayes, Kilronan, and Finian Hurley, Ballineen. Hayes took the verdict by a bowl for a €700 total. Still in D, Martin Dullea was in good form too in a last shot win over Kieran Collins.
Mid Cork’s novice veteran championship is underway. At Ballinacurra, Upton, on Saturday, Kinsale’s Paul Kelleher eliminated the redoubtable Deccie O’Mahony, one bowl, for €200 and at Beal na mBlath on Sunday, Tim Allen won from Clement Deane, one bowl, for €320. In the City division too novice veteran in up and running. Two at The Bog Road venue saw Derry Crowley defeat Ray O’Keefe and Bernard O’Donovan advance at the expense of Pat Cuningham. Two more at Curraheen, saw Paul Walsh defeat Jeremy Downey, last shot, for €1,000 and Michael Twohig win from Tom Fulham by two bowls. North Cork got their championship going with two novice D scores at Kilcorney. Here, Colin McCarthy defeated Kieran Buckley for €1,000 and Barry Twomey defeated Matty Martin for €300.
Emma Hurley was among a galaxy of sports stars feted at The Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery, on Saturday night last. Emma was named overall Youths Sports Star Award winner for 2023 and received the Paudie Palmer trophy from special guest, Donal Linehan.
RACHEL CLINCHES THE FINAL EURO SPOT.
The Gaeltacht division has received an early season boost with a fourth from the division gaining inclusion on Bol Chumann’s playing panel for the forthcoming European Championships in Germany in May. Rachel Desmond of the famed Cill na Martra sporting family, has come through a play-off with Denise Murphy and will take her place on the senior women’s line-up alongside Geraldine Curtin, Kelly Mallon, Dervla Toal-Mallon, Hannah Sexton, Ciara Buckley, Hannah Cronin, Veronica O’Mahony and Emma Hickey on the senior ladies’ team. Gaeltacht have Liam Murphy, Cathal Creedon, and Darcey O’Brien on youths teams.
SHANNON SETS UP TIM WHITE CUP FINAL AGAINST DARRAGH DEMPSEY
David Shannon produced the performance of the day at Rosscarbery when blitzing the road to the no-play lines in ten excellent shots. Gavin Twohig could not stay with the Skibb man in such devasting form and lost out in this Tim White Cup semi-final by a margin of three bowls. Starting at the bridge, Shannon exploded into action with four sensational efforts to the foot of ‘Barry’s hill’. Twohig tried manfully to stay in touch but another three-shot salvo to ‘DeBarra Lodge’ made it an impossible task for the Rossmore man. It is now an all Carbery battle for the Tim White Cup as Shannon takes on Darragh Dempsey in the decider. In the morning at Ross, Drinagh’s John Young won the opening score in the new Michelle Hayes junior B fund-raiser tournament when edging out Adrian Buttimer by a big fore bowl. Young took early command rising a bowl of odds after five but a couple of misplays on the way to Cahermore cross left it level at this juncture. A mistake on the re-start by Buttimer left Young away again but, again he lost his lead only to come good in the exciting closing exchanges where he beat a good last tip of Buttimer’s to take the spoils.
MIKIE HOURIHANE CUP GET UNDER WAY AT BAURAVILLA
A busy end of January weekend saw the opening qualifier in the new Mikie Hourihane Cup take place at Bauravilla. Cup holder, Colm Crowley is back in the decider after overcoming Brian Coughlan and David Horgan in a score of mixed bowling. Shane McCarthy turned in a fine performance on his home Marsh road on Sunday morning where he defeated Castledonovan’s Seamus O’Regan in the semi-final of the novice B tournament. Two big last shots from the Skibb man sets up a final assignment against Sidney Shannon. Shane Shannon had no joy in the Templemartin junior B decider on Sunday. In contention most of the way, the Durrus man’s hopes of victory went when Mallow’s Timmie Murphy put in a big finish that also put paid to the aspirations of third contender Johnny O’Driscoll.
MARSH ROAD TAKE 1ST TEAM EVENT IN CARBERY
A big entry of eight teams took part in the first of Carbery’s team bowling mornings. Schull were hosts and a very close shoot-out ended with the Marsh road trio of Denis Murphy, Jerry O’Sullivan and Michael O’Leary edging out Rosscarbery, Michael and James Cussen and Sean O’Neill by less than a metre.
Rosscarbery: Tim White Cup semi-final, David Shannon defeated Gavin Twohig, three bowls, for €2,400; Michelle Hayes Cup, junior B, John Young defeated Adrian Buttimer, last shot, for €1,600.
Marsh Road: Novice B tournament semi-final, Shane McCarthy defeated Seamus O’Regan, last shot, for €1,700.
Bauravilla: Mikie Hourihane Cup qualifier: Colin Crowley defeated Brian Coughlan by a bowl and David Horgan by a bowl, for €1,500; return, Brian Horgan defeated Gavin Crowley, one bowl, for €2,700.
Schull: Carbery team bowling; 1. Marsh road (Denis Murphy, Jerry O’Sullivan, Michael O’Leary); 2. Rosscarbery (Michael Cussen, James Cussen, Sean O’Neill); 3. Leap (Kieran O’Sullivan, Cian Minihane).
Lyre: Cathal Creedon defeated Simon O’Connell, by two bowls, for €1,100; David Hegarty defeated Cathal Creedon by two bowls for €1,000.
Shannonvale: Intermediate tournament, Wayne Parkes defeated Eamonn Bowen, almost a bowl, for €2,000.
Bantry: Dan O’Riordan Cup senior tournament, Arthur McDonagh defeated David Murphy, almost two bowls, for €24,400; return, Michael Gould defeated Flor Crowley, one bowl, for €25,000.
Phale Road, Ballineen, Ted Hegarty tournaments;
Boys U16, Ben Cooney won from Sean Cuinnea and Tom McCarthy; Boys U14, Kevin Courtney won from Ross O’Brien and Conor Lennon; Culann Bourke won from Dylan O’Shea;
Boys U12, Dylan Baker won from Tadg O’Farrell and Matthew O’Neill; Tadg Hickey won from Luke Barry and Darragh Ahern;
Boys U10, Jack Fitzgerald won from Sean Hickey;
Boys U8, Tommy Coppinger won from Colin Ronan; Timmy McDonagh won from Darragh Ronan; Colm Bohane won from Bobby O’Brien and Bobby Cooney;
U18/Junior ladies, Ailbhe O’Shea won from Ellen Sexton and Lauren O’Brien;
Girls U16, Sophie Murphy won from Niamh O’Sullivan; Laura Sexton won from Niamh O’Connell; Dilly Barry-Twohig won from Ciara Lennon;
Girls U14, Meabh Cuinnea won from Sinead Hickey; Bella Barry-Twohig won from Anna O’Sullivan;
Girls U10, Lauren O’Rourke won from Shiela Bradley; Elsie Flynn won from Ava Healy; Cara Harrington won from Caoimhe Lennon; Cait Young won from Lola Barry-Twohig