Team effort pays off for West Cork boys and Gaeltacht girls

March 3rd, 2024 1:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

West Cork's Kieran Courtney, Tommy Coppinger and Eoghan Hickey were winners at the inter-regional youths team finals at The Phale Road, Ballineen on Sunday. (Photo: Gretta Cormican)

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AS they did in 2023, West Cork boys took top billing at the Denis Kelleher Shield inter-regional youths team play-offs at The Phale Road, Ballineen, on Sunday morning.

Gaeltacht girls joined them in the winner’s enclosure, winning their section with a commanding performance.

Composed of an entirely new trio all from the western end of the division, West Cork’s Kieran Courtney (Bantry), Eoghan Hickey (Durrus) and Tommy Coppinger (Bantry) made light of the inclement conditions and blitzed the road in the early stages of their 18-shot segment.

Three in succession from blind sight at the second bend by the brow of the hill to within a shot of the ‘triangle’ showed each in their best light, and it was Courtney again who steadied the ship after a few had gone awry with a powerful drive from the point known as ‘O’Driscoll’s gate’. When Tommy Coppinger, a son of four-time All-Ireland senior champion Martin, fired their last, they had measured 1,466.4 metres for their accumulated total.

Mid Cork were a creditable second with Tadg Hickey, Eoin Murphy and supremely talented eight-year-old left-hander Kieran Hickey adding hugely to their 1,353.7 metres. There was a big gap to third and here, Carbery (Tom McCarthy, Brian Harrington, Ed McCarthy) edged out South-West and North, to get on the podium with 1,163 metres.

The strength of underage bowling in the Gaeltacht division was evident again in a towering performance from the U16/U14/U12 trio of Kayla Healy, Cliodhna O’Brien and Lilly Scannell, who amassed a splendid 1,272.3 for the 18 shots. All three contributed handsomely and their total was 80 metres better than that compiled by a strong Carbery trio of Emma O’Leary, Meabh Cuinnea and Lauren McCarthy. Mid Cork were in the medals here too with fine performances by Sophie Murphy, Lelia Foley and Elsie Flynn bringing them to third place on 1,044.6.

At the presentation afterwards, John Kelleher representing his late brother, handed over the 2024 winner’s prizes. Ból Chumann’s James O’Driscoll and youths’ officer David Murphy thanked all who ensured a successful hosting of one of bowling’s most popular pre-championship competitions. The turnout, just ten from a possible 18 teams, was disappointing but perhaps understandable given the overnight rain and continuing poor conditions under which the competitions were played.

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