SENIOR and intermediate draws herald a new championship season in earnest.
For bowling’s elite a title at the top level is a career highpoint and there is no shortage of worthy contenders in the line-ups just announced.
The senior men’s championship has 11 starters and while the big guns – defending champion McDonagh, Coppinger, the Murphys, Daly and O’Donovan – will be fancied more than some others, there is the potential for those outside that group to make a big impact as Seamus Sexton did in the 2020 campaign when reaching the semi-finals.
Arthur McDonagh is handed a tough opening defence with 2016 champion Killian Kingston the opposition in a Whitechurch-designated first-round fixture. There are two local derby first-round clashes. Last year’s finalist, James O’Donovan, meets fellow Mid Cork contender David Murphy, who is going for his fifth Munster crown in a Beál na mBláth contest while north Cork rivals Seamus Sexton and the grade’s newcomer, 2020 intermediate champion John O’Rourke, play off at Firmount.
The full senior men’s draw for 2022 is: Arthur McDonagh v Killian Kingston at Whitechurch; John O’Rourke v Seamus Sexton at Firmount; James O’Donovan v David Murphy at Beál na mBláth; Byes to Michael Bohane, Gary Daly, Eamonn Bowen, Martin Coppinger and Aidan Murphy.
The intermediate championship has its own intrigue. Pick of the first-round ties is the meeting of Paul Buckley, Crossbarry, and Tim Young, Bantry. Grange is the venue with Buckley hoping to avoid an early exit similar to that suffered to Willie O’Donovan in the 2020 campaign while Young, the West Cork junior A champion, will be all out for a winning debut. Raymond Ryan versus Andrew O’Callaghan at Ballyvourney and an interesting duel between former senior champion Edmund Sexton and exceptionally talented newcomer from Fermoy, Patrick Flood, at Ballinacurrig are the other first round scores.
The full draw is – Round 1: Raymond Ryan v Andrew O’Callaghan at Ballyvourney; Paul Buckley v Tim Young at Grange; Edmund Sexton v Patrick Flood at Ballincurrig: Round 2: Billy McAuliffe v Young/Buckley at Clondrohid; Wayne Callanan v Ryan/O’Callaghan at Terelton; Donal O’Riordan v Willie O’Donovan at Carrignavar; Brian Wilmot v Flood/Sexton at Templemartin.
Lowney’s Jewellers, Clonakilty, are sponsors of the ladies’ championships and draws have been forwarded by Gretta Cormican. In senior there are two groups of three with the top two in each playing off the semi-final rounds. The round-robin series is as follows – Group 1: Maria Nagle v Claire O’Sullivan at Drinagh; Maria Nagle v Meghan Collins at The Clubhouse; Claire O’Sullivan v Meghan Collins at Bauravilla; Group 2: Emma Fitzpatrick v Hannah Sexton at Shannonvale; Emma Fitzpatrick v Veronica O’Mahony at Beál na mBláth; Meghan Collins v Veronica O’Mahony at Ballinacurra, Upton.
The women’s intermediate championship will take a lot of winning. Fourteen contests in two groups of four and two of three with the round-robin format again the order will leave eight still in contention. The top two in each will contest the quarter-final round. The group-stage scores are as follows:
Group A – Juliette Murphy v Julianne Hayes at Macroom; Juliette Murphy v Chloe O’Halloran at Castletownkenneigh; Juliette Murphy v Emma Hickey at Lyre; Julianne Hayes v Chloe O’Halloran at Grange; Julianne Hayes v Emma Hickey at The Clubhouse; Chloe O’Halloran v Emma Hickey at Drinagh.
Group B – Aoife Creedon v Bernadette Murphy at Ardcahan; Aoife Creedon v Hannah Cronin at Castletownkenneigh; Aoife Creedon v Ciara Buckley at Peake; Bernadette Murphy v Ciara Buckley at Firmount; Bernadette Murphy v Hannah Cronin at Grange; Hannah Cronin v Ciara Buckley at Newcestown.
Group C – Helen Whyte v Denise Murphy at Ballinacurra, Upton; Helen Whyte v Gretta Cormican at The Clubhouse; Denise Murphy v Gretta Cormican at Beál na mBláth. Group D: Louise Daly v Lisa Hegarty at Timoleague; Louise Daly v Louise Collins at The Clubhouse; Lisa Hegarty v Louise Collins at Drinagh.