A look back on the West Cork Junior A Final, the Novice Team Finals at Casltetownkenneigh, the Junior A/B combined decider at Macroom along with much more action
Tim Young is West Cork junior A champion for 2021 after a one-bowl victory over Denis O’Driscoll at The Clubhouse on Sunday last. Young, who joins intermediate ranks for 2022, gave glimpses of the form that will make him a serious contender at the higher level especially in a sweeping sequence to and from ‘Clon cross’ that pushed him over a bowl clear of his Drimoleague rival. O’Driscoll did well to come within metres of a splendid opener by Young and kept it level with a fine fourth to ‘O’Brien’s corner’. The Bantry man, son of many times former champion, Mick, opened a big gap with a super effort towards ‘Dineen’s lane’, and built on his lead with that brace to ‘Murray’s’. Another monstrous effort from the brow past the ’double gates’ made it an impossible task for O’Driscoll and it is the Bantry man who leaves the grade on a high after a very impressive showing. They played for a total of €14,000.
The West Cork U18 final at Ardcahan on Saturday went the way of Drimoleague’s Brian O’Driscoll. A fiercely competitive joust with Ballinacarriga’s Padraigh O’Sullivan ended with O’Driscoll in the ascendancy to the tune of a bowl of odds. There was a tally of €2,000 between them and O’Driscoll had early momentum going a bowl after three before O’Sullivan, with a superb sequence levelled and led then after seven. O’Sullivan go a poor tenth and O’Driscoll took full advantage rising winning odds in the subsequent exchanges. In the West Cork junior lady’s semi-final on the Inch road, Dunmanway, U18 champion and Germany bound Rachel Kingston just edged out Maighread O’Leary and will play Eirinn O’Donovan in the decider at a venue to be decided.
A last shot piledriver from Liam Kearney won the Sliabh Ban trophy for his Gaeltacht, Clondrohid side as the 2020 inter-regional team finals were concluded at Castletownkenneigh on Sunday morning last. Darragh Lynch, Michael Murphy and Matthew McDonagh were able teammates as Clondrohid emerged tops from sixteen teams with a tally of nine shots plus 113 metres. 60 metres back were a strong Ballygurteen selection representing the South-West division. James Hayes, Eoin Connolly, and the father and son combination of Timmie and Liam O’Brien claimed the runner-up prize. In third place were a very capable Schull quartet representing Carbery. Luka Bowen, Cian Bowen, Jack Murphy and Luke Nolan made a blistering start that ensured third place. The 2022 team bowling qualifiers will commence at regional level in the coming weeks.
In the Gaeltacht division, two 2021 championship finals were completed at Macroom. The junior A/B combined decider involved Frank Kiely and Eoin O’Riordan. Going for a €4,000 total, Kiely who led for the first time after six, was very much on the backfoot at the ‘new overpass’ where O’Riordan looked to rise a bowl of odds. A mistake then by the leader left the contest level and it was Kiely who pushed on with a ferocious sixteenth to rise a bowl of odds. Kiely it was who took the winner’s prize. In the novice veteran final, Tim Kelleher defeated Paudie Murphy, last shot, for €1,900. In another score here, Darren Kelly won from Conor Lucey, for a €1,200 total.
A stylish, competent performance won Tom O’Donovan the Ballinacurra, Upton prize as the nine-man Christmas junior A tournament concluded on Saturday last. The Belgooly youth, another in a sizable corps of top-class talent emerging from under-age grades, was a trap-to-line winner eclipsing worthy challengers, Denis Wilmot and Kenneth Murphy in comprehensive style. O’Donovan marked his selection on Bol Chumann’s senior panel for Germany in May with a series of shots at different junctures that were from the top drawer. His splendidly executed pitch at ‘Foley’s’ fully deserved its run and the follow-up to ‘Perrot’s’ was the shot of the score. Kinsale man Murphy did not make the best of starts and it was Wilmot who fired an excellent second who challenged early.
O’Donovan’s response was electric as a powerful drive almost to the ‘main road’ yielded valuable early leeway. His third cracked off, but then came his score winning brace and he was the bones of two bowls ahead as they played past the ‘GAA pitch’. The contest for second place, maintained interest as Murphy huge cast from ‘Cronin’s avenue’ threatened Wilmot who had come ahead of the Kinsale man. Wilmot responded in kind and took the runner-up spot. The stake at Ballinacurra amounted to €6,750 three-way total. Back the road, Gaeltacht’s Darren Kelly won from James O’Brien, last shot, for €5,000. On Sunday at Ballinacurra, West Cork’s Mikie Hourihane Cup winner, Noel O’Regan won from local junior B, Noel O’Donovan for a €1,900 total and the Coffey’s Jim, senior and junior, had a doubles victory over City’s Thomas Boyle and Stephen Bowen, a bowl of odds for €2,100.
Gary Daly rebounded in style from his Ballygurteen O’Connell/Dullea defeat to record a notable victory over Martin Coppinger at Shannonvale on Sunday. The pair, who will be international teammates in Germany in May, engaged in a fund-raiser for the expedition at the South-West venue and didn’t set the road on fire in a series of average exchanges to ‘Desmond’s’ where they were more or less level. Coppinger, in virtually unbeatable form in recent months, missed chances to ‘Campbell’s’ and was left to rue when, from here, Daly hit two exceptional efforts that brought him close to the finish line. The Fermoy man had done enough and took the victory and €5,000 total stake. In the morning time at Shannonvale, two top South-West junior A’s engaged again and it was Alex O’Donovan who triumphed over man-in-form Wayne Parkes, last shot for a €2,600 total. At Grange in the Champy Deasy Cup, John Shorten defeated Carbery’s Dec O’Donovan for a €2,400 total while at Beal na mBlath, a new nine-man novice 1 competition had Mid Cork 2021 winner in the grade, John A Murphy, eclipse Carbery’s Finbarr Coughlan and North East’s Pat O’Donovan. In club action at Whitchurch, Eamonn Bowen came good against O’Connell/Dullea cup winner Michael Bohane. Going for a €3,500 total, it was an incredible fourth shot from the Carrignavar man that was the catalyst for this victory. Bohane, who led after three, could not counter and Bowen’s consistency won through. At Firmount, Donoughmore, Carbery blossoming tyro, Darragh Dempsey made it a worthwhile trip to North Cork with a hard-earned win over City youth James O’Sullivan. For a €1,400 total, O’Sullivan led for the first four before Dempsey hit one of his specials and took a lead that he didn’t relinquish.
Ból Chumann’s panels for the forthcoming International series in Meldorf north Germany have been announced. Following a rigorous selection process involving six trial sessions, (Road, Dutch Moors and German Loft), the teams to contest the 16th European Bowling Championships are, with a few exceptions, similar to those selected in December 2019 for the cancelled 2020 games. From a Cork standpoint the senior men’s team is once again virtually the cream of the crop. Martin Coppinger will be making a bow in senior men at these games but given his spectacular showing at the fiftieth anniversary commemorative event in May 2019, fireworks can be expected when he returns. Three-time Gold Medal winner David Murphy is going for an unprecedented four in a row and is joined by his brother Aidan also a previous Gold Medal winner in Moors bowling. James O’Donovan, Moors silver medallist in Ootmarsum, Gary Daly always close to the top and Eamonn Bowen bring huge experience. Michael Bohane holds his place from Ootmarsum as does Brian Wilmot. Seamus Sexton is a valuable addition as is Tom O’Donovan from junior ranks who posted high figures in the trials. Ulster’s Thomas Mackle, another who shone at the anniversary games, has committed and brings talent in abundance to an already strong team. Cathal Toal, also of Armagh, is also on the panel and another senior standard-bearer with plenty to offer.
Seven from Cork make the cut from the senior lady’s trials. It too is a strong line-up bolstered by newcomer to adult ranks, Hannah Sexton, who topped the ratings at the trials. Maria Nagle youths champion at Ootmarsum in 2016, Meghan Collins, youths champion in Pesaro 2012 and Claire O’Sullivan a senior silver medallist at the 2016 games are experienced contenders again. Hannah Cronin is supremely competitive, and Ciara Buckley has been on winning youth’s teams in previous championships. Kelly Mallon of Armagh is the one vital component, and it is a major plus that Bol Chumann Ard Mhacha has confirmed her involvement. Ulster senior runner-up, Siobhan Mackle, is also in the frame and has experience aplenty.
The hunt for places on the boy’s team was intense. Darragh Dempsey was in sublime form at the trials and heads a strong youth’s team. He is accompanied by a versatile North Cork duo, Conor Lucey and Jamie Kelleher. U16 All-Ireland winner, Tommy O’Sullivan is a real medal hope too. The trials for Ulster representatives in this sector are ongoing. It is no surprise that the Sexton sisters are the leading lights in girls’ team with Ellen and Margaret taking two of the three places. Rachel Kingston from Dunmanway has made great strides in recent months and takes the third spot and the Cork trio will be joined by Ulster champion, U16 All-Ireland winner, Caoimhe Rafferty.
The line-up for Meldorf at the moment is, Senior men: Martin Coppinger, David Murphy, Aidan Murphy, James O’Donovan, Gary Daly, Eamonn Bowen, Michael Bohane, Brian Wilmot, Seamus Sexton, Tom O’Donovan, Thomas Mackle, Cathal Toal. Senior women: Claire O’Sullivan, Maria Nagle, Hannah Sexton, Hannah Cronin, Meghan Collins, Ciara Buckley, Emma Fitzpatrick, Kelly Mallon, Siobhan Mackle. U18 boys, Darragh Dempsey, Conor Lucey, Jamie Kelleher, Tommy O’Sullivan. U18 girls; Ellen Sexton, Margaret Sexton, Rachel Kingston, Caoimhe Rafferty.