Timoleague’s Hannah Sexton triumphs in girls’ U18 All-Ireland final
THE sting came late at the end of two days of frenzied action on the Cuil Aodha road as Cork’s champions, heading for a clean sweep, found Peadar Toal lying in wait and ready to deliver a stunning display that thwarted Michael Bohane’s game bid for All-Ireland intermediate glory.
Without an Ulster title to his name since his previous intermediate win in 2008, the brother of senior finalist Cathal was something of an unknown quantity for Cork’s bowling followers. Soon they became acquainted with his power and playing ability, as he blitzed the opening quarter to such an extent that Cork’s highly-rated champion, also bowling to a high level, was bowl of odds down after five explosive shots.
Peadar Toal’s opening two to ‘Falla Seanie’ were awesome in their speed and delivery and set the trend for the entire contest. Bohane was matching his county final performance but could not prevent his northern rival from increasing his odds and, when the Ulster champion hit an astonishing eighth past the ‘council gates’, two bowls came between them.
Bohane threatened briefly with a splendid eleventh that reduced the margin to under two but, Peadar Toal’s brilliance on the day ensured a handsome victory and a welcome one from a northern standpoint. The contest carried a 24,000 stake, made up of euro and sterling.
Billy McAuliffe’s junior A triumph on Saturday came at the end of a enthralling battle with Shaun Donnelly. The pair delivered a final for the ages, one that will rank with the very best in the long 54 year history of this championship.
The Glanworth man was favourite in the 9,200 total stake and conceded only two fore bowls to his Ulster rival but this was anything but one-sided. Donnelly was chasing down McAuliffe’s early dominance and took the lead with a superb fifth to ‘Scannell’s’ but was rocked back again when the Cork champion whipped a massive sixth that regained a 50-metre advantage. That increased to 90 metres after eight but Donnelly’s ninth was one of the shots of the weekend and it regained a narrow lead when McAuliffe missed.
The lead changed again when Donnelly missed a super tenth of McAuliffe’s’ with that exchange being the precursor to a gripping finale. Donnelly fought it to a standstill lining huge shots only for his Cork rival to match and beat everyone. It came to the final shots, Donnelly 70 metres behind and here he fired a magnificent cast that on another day might have snatched a sensational victory.
McAuliffe stood up to the biggest threat he has faced on a bowling road, showing composure and determination to whip an accurate response that beat a formidable mark with aplomb.
A strong finishing surge has been the hallmark of several Carmel Carey victories in the championship thus far and it was evident again on Sunday morning as she overcame Dervla Toal-Mallon to capture the senior women’s crown for the fourth time in her illustrious career.
Toal-Mallon, also a previous four-time champion, held big odds after her first but lost ground with a poor second. She was ahead again at ‘Scannell’s’ after seven and it was beginning to look ominous for the Cork champion when she fell almost a bowl down after eleven.
Carey set about reducing the odds with a massive twelfth shot to the hollow past the council gates, a shot that was to prove a major turning point. A misplay by Toal-Mallon cost her the lead and she would not regain it as Carey took control with a well-played fifteenth. There was no catching the Carrigtwohill woman in the remaining segment as she built a bowl lead that would be her eventual winning margin.
Hannah Sexton made it five in a row for Cork as she turned the tables on Shannon McGuire in the girls’ U18 final played down on Sunday morning. It was another tough battle between the international team-mates. Hannah looked to be well on her way a bowl up after two but a quick turnaround saw Shannon, thanks to sweeping fourth and fifth shots, take an unexpected 40-metre lead. It took a superb eleventh from the Timoleague girl to regain the fore bowl and she determinedly held her odds this time to forge a bowl of odds win.
Setting the ball rolling on Saturday, Wayne Parkes was superb in claiming the U18 title from a game Eugene McVeigh. It was a struggle for supremacy in the early stages and the Clon youth faced stiff opposition in matching some excellent shot-making by McVeigh.
Parkes eventually rose a bowl of odds with his eleventh and his powerful, open bowling for the remainder ensured there would be no way back for the game Tyrone youth who is also involved in U16. South-West had a second champion from the opening morning’s bowling at Ballyvourney when Tommy O’Sullivan scored a two-bowl win from Cathal McGuire in the U14 final.
Tommy’s power and pace were big factors in him rising a bowl lead after five and, when he doubled his margin after seven, the outcome was inevitable. McGuire battled gamely and kept Tommy’s winning margin to two bowls.
It was a supremely successful hosting for Reagiun na Gaeltachta and Baile Mhuirne bowling. Michael O’Callaghan stressed the community effort involved and it was reflected in an informal launch prior to the opening score on Saturday. Their efforts paid off with a wonderful weekend’s bowling in a splendid setting.
The championships were given an official blessing by Fr. Donal O’Brien, P. P. Baile Mhuirne, and attending too were TD’s Michael Creed and Aindreas Moynahin who extended their good wishes to all for the weekend.
Piper, Domhnall O’Ceilliher, made a substantial contribution, playing the finalists back to the presentation rostrum on Saturday and Sunday evening. The championships return to the Cuil Aodha road, Baile Mhuirne in 2020.