Christy Mullins claimed the Denis Trunwit Cup with a one bowl victory over Jerry Murphy in the vintage section A final at Shannonvale on Sunday. It was a deserved victory for Bantry’s great campaigner who showed flashes of old form in an engaging contest that held interest right to the line. Templemartin man, Murphy, without a score in the lead up, contributed much after looking like being overwhelmed when Mullins went two bowls clear by the half-way point. In a stakeless duel, it was Murphy, indeed, who had early leeway particularly after his speedy third touched perfectly off a gate side kerb to give him a seventy-metre lead. Things went awry for him in the bowling around the ‘quarry bend’ firstly missing Mullins tip when throwing odds with his fifth and then getting no purchase on his next two. Mullins, on the other hand, spun a superb sixth at this juncture and a good follow-up ensured a bowl of odds lead. Nine to ‘Desmond’s’ had him two up as Murphy’s travails continued. The Templemartin man reduced the margin with a massive thirteenth and then, on the downward slope to ‘Tobin’s’, fired another fine cast that brought the odds under the shot. Mullins soon restored his bowl lead but Murphy’s touch past ‘Campbell’s’ offered another challenge. Mullins responded with a beautifully directed sixteenth that kept his lead intact. They fought it out for the bowl of odds with Mullins winning the bets on that too beating a big last tip of Murphy’s. He will be the favourite to claim the overall title when he comes up against B winner, David Walsh and C champion, Jack Cahalane.
It can be guaranteed that Wilton based Walsh will be no pushover when the three-way play off goes ahead after another polished display won the section B decider from Micheál O’Ceallacháin at Castletownkenneigh on Sunday. From the early rounds the former Clodagh man has been delivering powerhouse performances in eliminating worthy contenders such as Mick Murphy, Connie Connolly and Donal Harnedy and was on song again against an opponent who has won the grade outright in 2020 and is regularly at the business end in veteran and vintage competitions. For a €1,540 total, Walsh opened with an average effort that O’Céallachain beat but the margin between them was not as big as it might have been. Walsh then delivered two piledrivers that immediately opened a big gap. Gaeltacht man, O’Céallacháin, followed good shots to the ‘hollies’ to keep it under the bowl but the shot of odds came between them after five. Walsh was irrepressible and in the next segment rose a second bowl of odds. O’Ceallachain battled hard but did not enjoy that vital element of luck with a few well-played bowls. David Walsh came home a convincing winner of the 2023 vintage section B championship and was presented with the Bol Chumann Cup by Association vice-chair, Willie Murphy.
Jack Cahalane brought big Carbery support to Castletownkenneigh for his vintage section C final clash with City’s Con O’Donovan. The grades most populous section had sixty-seven entrants in groupings east and west and both Cahalane and O’Donovan had been through the grinder winning multiple scores on their way to the final. It was the Carbery man who started with a flourish. Playing away on the downward stretch from the village, Cahalane hit the first bend in three to his opponents four and he held his bowl of odds lead to the ‘triangle’. The Carbery camp were in their element when Cahalane fired a ferocious ninth away from the ‘triangle’ that doubled his lead. Two shots later O’Donovan showed his mettle in a stirring response. A super brace to the ‘hollies’ made big inroads into Cahalane’s lead but the line came too soon for the game City challenger and the Fachtna Hayes Cup, which commemorates the late and fondly remembered Rosscarbery man, was headed west for a night of celebration in Skibbereen. They played for a total of €1,700. Cahalane will be trying might and main to upset the applecart in the three-way play-off with Christy Mullins and David Walsh.
Inter-regional and club fund-raisers dominated the Bank Holiday weekend action. The big one in Carbery-South/West was the eagerly awaited clash of Michael Bohane and Brian Wilmot at Rosscarbery on Sunday. It lived up to its billing with a terrific last shot exchange delivering a ten-metre victory for Bohane. Wilmot showed his senior capabilities but will rue a missed chance to gain big leeway with three to go. Going for a €5,100 total, they stayed locked together in thirteen each to the no-play lines at Cahermore cross. Bohane fired an excellent cast from here to take a thirty-metre lead, but Wilmot countered with a massive drive from ‘Froe cross’ that put him back in front. Bohane’s next was average, but he wasn’t punished as Wilmot did not get the required traction to take what might have been a winning lead. Bohane was back in front as the tense closing stages unfolded but faced a big task when his Bandon rival put down a superb last shot to the bend beyond ‘Harte’s’. The Carbery man held his nerve, splitting the sop, with an equally good reply that passed Wilmot’s formidable mark by the slimmest of margins.
Conna bowling club held a very successful two-day club fund-raiser at their East Cork base and feature here was the senior match-up of Aidan Murphy and Gary Daly. Murphy has had the better of their most recent encounters and prevailed again by a bowl of odds thanks to a very consistent overall display. For a €12,000 total, Daly beat a big opening shot of Murphy’s, but it would be his only lead. Murphy shaded the next exchanges and then fired a massive effort around ‘Coleman’s corner’ that rose a bowl of odds. Daly upped his challenge with a big throw away from the ‘bridge’ and another good one knocked the odds to forty metres. Unfortunately, for the Fermoy man, he did not maintain his charge and a wayward attempt at ‘Mullins’ gate’ derailed his comeback and, when he missed a chance at the ‘gasline’, Murphy was in the clear again. Daly was still in with a chance sixty metres behind with three to go, but Murphy’s searing second-last up to the finish line sealed the win for the Mid Cork camp. Earlier on Saturday at Conna, Willie O’Donnell scored a double. First out he defeated Patrick Coffey by two for €6,200. A big cast to ‘Coleman’s’ set him on his way in this one as it rose a full shot of odds. Back the road, O’Donnell took on Jim Coffey for a €4,400 stake and was in the winner’s enclosure again scoring a big last shot victory. On Sunday at Conna, four scores went ahead. Principal of these, was the clash of local clubman, Mick Hurley and the in-form Andrew O’Leary. A tight battle to the last quarter was won by Hurley who stirring finish got him a bowl of odds victory. The stake at issue amounted to €1,400. Also, at Conna on Sunday, there were doubles wins for Timmy McDonagh and Evan Buckley who got the better of Mick Hurley and Patrick Butler, last shot, for €1,400 and for the O’Leary’s Michael and Sean who defeated Ryan and Evan Buckley by two bowls for €2,400. In the last of the day here, Benny Hoare and Alan Corcoran defeated Sean O’Leary and Denis O’Sullivan, by a bowl, for €2,000.
The third and final International Road Trials at Castletownkenneigh on Sunday week last brought further competition for places. In the absence of many of the leading exponents who have completed their trials, Billy McAuliffe and Tim Young posted big figures and put themselves in the frame for selection. It’s back to Castletownkenneigh on Sunday morning next to the Auto Track where the final trials for German Loft and Dutch Moors disciplines will take place. Scores achieved here will, along with those on the road, determine the line-up to take on the Germans, Dutch and Italians in Germany next May.
It was back to Castletownkenneigh on Bank Holiday Monday for a sizable contingent of bowling followers. The Mid Cork novice E final for the John Hennessy Cup was up for grabs with local clubman, John O’Callaghan and Dylan Murphy, Bandon vying for the spoils. The contest went for a sizable €4,300 total and, making the best of starts, O’Callaghan rose a bowl of odds with his opening two. It remained competitive with Murphy threatening to level on numerous occasions only for the local man to keep a stranglehold beating big tips in the process. O’Callaghan was resolute in the closing stages and a massive last shot sealed a popular win. Back Castletown on Monday an old unfinished senior tournament for the Chris Teegan Cup was completed when the brothers Aidan and David Murphy duelled. Aidan prevailed in this one winning by a bowl of odds.
Regional AGM’s were held at Carrignavar and Mogeely where divisions North East and East respectively reviewed what was for the most part a largely successful twelve months. At Carrignavar Association Honorary Secretary, Michéal O’Ceallachain, heard an expansive report delivered by his North East counterpart, Patrick Flynn in which he highlighted his disagreement with aspects of the Association’s constitution. There were championship successes for the region with John O’Donoghue winning the U16 All-Ireland and Tommy O’Donoghue winning U14. Ciara Buckley won the county intermediate and Michael Ahern reached the novice A county final. Officers elected for 2024 were Chairman, Ted O’Donovan; Vice chair, Darren Bowen; Hon Secretary, Patrick Flynn; Assistant secretary, Alan O’Donovan; Treasurer, Billy O’Sullivan; Assistant treasurer, Billy McAuliffe; Fixtures secretary, Darren Bowen, Tom O’Donovan; Register, Billy McAuliffe. Patrick Flynn subsequently resigned his position as Hon Sec and is replaced by Alan O’Donovan. Mr Flynn was thanked for his work with the region.
East Cork’s AGM in Mogeely returned sitting officers Chair, Mick Hurley, Secretary, Pat Lee, and Treasurer Aidan Sexton. All delivered substantive reports on what was a busy twelve months from an organisational standpoint. The region completed its two-year term as All-Ireland hosts and, while resources were tested to the limit in ensuring everything complied with regulations, the successful running of the event in mid-July was a source of satisfaction. The Waterford branch of the East Cork region were the recipients of many plaudits for their sterling organisational efforts that made the junior C/Novice All-Irelands at Killea such an enjoyable event in early September. The King and Queen of the Roads festival involved many of the same personnel and once again, despite a very wet Sunday, exceeded all expectations. Philip O’Donovan brought All-Ireland honours to the region when winning the veteran (over 50’s) grade while Paul Butler won the novice veteran county. Bol Chumann’s James O’Driscoll attended and thanked the region for their exceptional contribution.