SHANNONVALE was the venue for the return, after a three-year hiatus, of Ból Chumann’s post-primary schools’ competitions.
Hosted on a blissfully fine spring Tuesday morning (March 14th), the event brought 140 students from across West Cork, some more experienced than others in the skills of the game, but all determined to give of their best.
Coláiste Ghobnatan, Ballyvourney, were the leading overall school, winning both senior girls and junior boys’ classifications and taking second place in senior boys after their high-powered trio of Liam Murphy, Cillian Kelleher and Liam Twomey were pipped by 26 metres by Clonakilty Community Collage’s finely-tuned Cillian Twohig, Eoin O’Sullivan and Peter O’Sullivan.
For coach and mentor, Micheál O’Sullivan it was a continuation of a great run of successes for his school as his team then consisting of David Hegarty, Kieran O’Sullivan and Eoghan Barrett were also winners at the competitions last hosting, October 2019.
The Ballygurteen O’Sullivans were to the fore again and with 2020 All-Ireland U14 winner Twohig showing excellent form they reeled in long-time leaders, SColáiste Ghobnatan, to score a winning target of 1,794 metres. Maria Immaculata Community College, on paper, looked the ones to beat but a few of the wayward variety cost them and Brian Horgan, Eoin McCarthy and Mark Deane finished 20 further back on 1,707. That was still a creditable performance in a grade that had 16 teams starting.
Coláiste Ghobnatan senior girls, Darcy and Lauren O’Brien and the very capable Abby Lynch, were in splendid form winning their category by 79 metres. There was a real battle for second place with Sacred Heart Secondary School, Clonakilty (Margaret Sexton, Ellen Sexton and Niamh O’Sullivan) coming in with just two metres to spare on Coachford Community College (Ailbhe O’Shea, Rachel Lucey and Rosin O’Riordan) 1,210 to 1,208. Six teams competed.
Bowling of a very high standard featured in the junior cycles. Complete masters in the boys were Coláiste Ghobnatan who had All-Ireland winners Ross O’Brien and Cathal Creedon in their ranks. Both were outstanding as indeed was Jack O’Sullivan who contributed hugely to their winning tally of 1,740 metres, almost 250 ahead of Rosscarbery’s Mount St Michael’s trio of David O’Sullivan, Sean Cuinnea and Adam Baker. MICC, Dunmanway (Daniel O’Sullivan, Brian O’Sullivan and Eoin Hurley) were third on 1,396. Thirteen teams competed in this category.
These annual competitions are rarely completed without MICC Dunmanway achieving top spot in at least one of the categories and it was their junior girls who held the fort on this occasion. Drinagh’s Emma Hurley, current county U14 champion, was a big performer and with Kimi Bosna and Niamh O’Connell also in excellent form, a winning total of 1,105 metres was achieved. St Brogan’s College, Bandon (Sophie Murphy, Sinead Hickey, Leila Foley) was just 30 metres back in second place. Sacred Heart Secondary School, Clonakilty (Laura Sexton, Sinead Walsh, Lucy Kirby) were a credible third from 11 competing teams.