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Four men left standing in battle for Mick Barry Cup

August 28th, 2023 4:30 PM

By Southern Star Team

Four men left standing in battle for Mick Barry Cup Image
Aidan Murphy

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SEPTEMBER is King of the Roads month, and the opening salvos were thrown at host venue, Ballincurrig recently where a four-score programme narrowed down the contenders for next month’s big prize.

The Mick Barry Cup qualifying competition will provide two to contest with last year’s winner David Murphy, All-Ireland champion Thomas Mackle and the yet-to-be-announced German and Dutch champions.

Seamus Ó Tuama and his team had ten from the game’s premier grade in attendance on Sunday and some thrilling fare ensued in the opening contest where Aidan Murphy came from well back to record a sensational late victory over Martin Coppinger and Michael Harrington.

The Murphy-Coppinger side of things carried a €7,800 total stake but it was underdog Harrington who held sway at the half-way point with Murphy, whose fifth went awry, trailing by 70 metres. After the next exchanges Murphy trailed both Coppinger and Harrington by almost a bowl but the leading men failed to take advantage of a poor 15th, and the score was back in the melting pot with all three facing the line after 17 throws each.

From the hindmost tip, Murphy put down an exceptional last shot and it won the day when first Coppinger with a brave attempt and then Harrington, who led to that point, both fell short.

Next up was the single hand duel between Arthur McDonagh and Ulster’s Colm Rafferty. A stakeless event saw McDonagh dominate, with his ten to the ‘big turn’ giving him a two-bowl lead. Rafferty’s bowling on the day matched that of the earlier score but McDonagh’s 15 over the line was unbeatable.

Another three-way followed and here John O’Rourke, Pa Flood and Killian Kingston took issue for a combined (€1,450 x3) plus €6,100 (Flood-Kingston).

John O’Rourke chose this contest to make a strong case for his senior credentials and started in a blaze with big opening shots taking him to the ‘green’ in three. Kingston was desperately unlucky with his second and, despite big ninth and tenth shots, fell two bowls adrift of O’Rourke who hit the ‘big turn’ in 11.

Flood, in second place, kept up a brave challenge but, when his 14th slashed off the play, O’Rourke held his bowl of odds lead and crowned a fine performance with his 17th over the line.

Last of the day saw Gary Daly and James O’Donovan renew acquaintances.

It produced a similar result to their Willie Whelton Cup score of a month ago with Daly taking the spoils, this time for a €6,000 total.

A better start had Daly one bowl up at ‘the lines’ and he extended that to almost two at the big turn. O’Donovan got little going on this occasion, leaving the Fermoy man a convincing winner.

Following Saturday’s action, the semi-final line-up for the Mick Barry Cup now reads: John O’Rourke v Gary Daly and Aidan Murphy v Arthur McDonagh.

There was a thrilling Queen of the Roads qualifier at Drinagh on Sunday morning. Hannah Cronin and Megan Collins marked their return to action with a superb contest that Megan led for much of the way. Hannah had the final say putting in a big finish to win in the last shot.

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