COUNTY-ROUND scores in junior C and novice grades dominated mid-week road bowling action.
Some are down to the semi-final rounds but there remains an urgency with five finals followed by two play-offs all to be completed well in advance of All-Ireland series 3 at Fenor, Co. Waterford on the weekend of September 3rd and 4th. North Cork champions had the better of their Carbery counterparts in novice A and D preliminaries at Clondrohid on Tuesday. Ballinagree’s Kevin Manning defeat Joe O’Brien, Ballydehob, in a novice A contest. He now pitches up against Mid Cork’s John A Murphy in the county quarter-final. Ruari O’Connell made it a double for North Cork when he defeated Carbery’s Sean McNulty by a bowl for €1,600. It’s O’Connell against Mid Cork’s Brendan Hurley in the D quarterfinal.
The preliminaries were completed on Saturday when Carbery and North Cork’s novice B and C representatives went head-to-head. First blood again went to North Cork when Coachford’s Eamonn Murphy got the better of Darren Whooley, Leap, for a combined €2,200. David Minihane evened it up on the day for the Carbery camp as he edged a thrilling battle with Mallow’s Jamie Kelleher. Minihane held on and will play Mid Cork’s veteran campaigner Dan O’Donovan in the quarter-final at Timoleague. It was City versus South-West at Castletownkenneigh mid-week. David Hegarty showed his paces winning a tough battle with James O’Sullivan on Friday. Hegarty plays Gaeltacht’s Jim Coffey or the North East champion, Thomas O’Callaghan or Joseph Murphy, in the county semi-final.
In novice C on Wednesday, played out, City’s Alan Murphy and South-West’s Darren Harrington contested a score of wildly swaying fortunes. Darrara-based Harrington hit two big openers to go a shot up only to lose it almost immediately as Murphy hit a big third. The South-West champion regained most of his earlier odds with a good bowling to the ‘triangle’ but was eventually caught again as Murphy excelled in the next exchanges. It was the City man who then held a bowl lead for the closing exchanges and it was enough cushion for a last-shot victory. They played for a total of €3,600.
South-West got in the winners’ enclosure in Novice A when John O’Driscoll defeated Myles Connors for a combined €6,600. North-East or Gaeltacht standard-bearers face the winners in the semi-finals. It was West v East at Jagoe’s Mills and on Saturday in junior C, West Cork’s Kevin Cotter eliminated a strong contender in East’s representative, Paul O’Brien, one bowl, for €5,400. Cotter now plays Denis Murphy in the semi-final after Mid Cork champion Murphy defeated Carbery’s Brian Coughlan, in the quarter-final at Timoleague.
On Sunday morning at Jagoes and here Paul Kingston showed why he could have a big say in the destination of the novice A championship. The West Cork champion from Dunmanway was in terrific form in a two-bowl victory over East representative, Michael O’Leary, an exponent indeed who was good enough to win a county junior B championship as recent as 2018.
East Cork shared the spoils in the morning when Sean O’Leary won the novice B quarter-final from West Cork’s champion, Padraigh O’Sullivan, last shot, for €1,400. At Beal na Morrive on Sunday evening, Gaeltacht recorded a double over their North-East counterparts. Another likely contender in Novice A, Michael Desmond, Cill na Martra, had a tough battle with North East’s Richard O’Brien before going through as a last-shot winner, while Gaeltacht’s D champion Mattie McDonagh put in a blinding finish to overcome a dogged North-East representative, Felix Murphy, by almost a bowl, for a €10,400 total. Noel Hegarty of the City is next up for McDonagh while Desmond has a novice A semi final meeting with South West’s John O’Driscoll.
Drinagh’s Emma Hurley is a dual West Cork champion for 2022 having annexed the U14 prize at The Clubhouse on Tuesday. Also, the winner of U16, Emma got the better of Kimi Bosna after a good contest and will contest the county rounds shortly.
The West Cork junior ladies have thrown up a rare defeat for Rachel Kingston. A competitive grouping has seen Dunmanway’s Eirinn O’Donovan showing good mastery of the Drinagh road, and it was here she eliminated the European and All-Ireland U18 champion. Eirinn now plays Maighreid O’Leary in the semi-final at Derrinasafa. On the other side, lie two strong contenders. Marie Russell and Katelyn Sheehan meet at Drinagh this weekend. There was a double for the Sexton sisters in South-West finals at Grange. U16 county winner Laura added the U14 regional championship to her trophy cabinet with a hard-earned win from the determined Ballineen contestant Grace Ahern while Margaret won the junior final from Ciara Ahern.