Whiddy wonder O’Leary bowls to West Cork novice glory

February 2nd, 2022 5:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

West Cork novice B winner Sean O'Leary, Whiddy Island, with family and supporters after his victory at Drinagh. (Photo: James O'Driscoll)

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FINALS in the West Cork division recently saw wins for Sean O’Leary, Adrian Buttimer, Alan Brickley and for Brian Horgan.

Drinagh hosted the novice B decider where Whiddy Islander O’Leary showed his paces with a finishing surge that proved decisive in an absorbing contest with Dunmanway’s David O’Brien.

The pair produced bowling of a high order for much of the way. O’Brien countered O’Leary’s super opener with an excellent reply and proceeded to take charge with two brilliant efforts to ‘the church’. O’Brien still held sway with a fine cast from ‘Shandrum cross’ to the ‘blacksticks’, but the always-dangerous O’Leary was hovering close. A well-played effort was unlucky as it drifted left by the ‘pond’ but it levelled matters as O’Brien hit a slack patch with his tenth and eleventh.

The force was with O’Leary as he hit the front only for the second time with three to go and there would be no denying him the winner’s prize as he blazed to a big fore bowl win. They played for a total of €5,400.


Adrian Buttimer is West Cork junior B champion for 2021 after his Togher Cross victory over Drinagh’s John Young. Gloun man Buttimer was on the back foot early as Young dominated the exchanges to ‘the chips’, at which point he held a nice lead after six shots. The next segment was to be the Drinagh man’s undoing as he lost his odds in the bowling to ‘Hurley’s’. Now level, Buttimer hit a screamer on a long straight to the ‘old post office’ that put him firmly in the driving seat. Young made a brave effort to close the gap over the last quarter, but Buttimer had enough in hand to win by almost a bowl. The stakemoney at Togher amounted to €3,800. In the West Cork junior ladies’ semi-final at Drinagh, Dunmanway’s Eireann O’Donovan overhauled Tegan Hurley’s lead over the closing stages and progressed to the decider.

Earlier that day another of West Cork’s rising stars, Alan Brickley, won the novice C crown when he too produced a storming finish to deny a game Martin Murphy at Derrinasafa. For a €3,100 total, Murphy had the better of this one in the shots up past ‘Fax’s bridge’ but crucially did not have a big advantage to ‘Nattie’s’. Brickley was back in it and led out ‘darkwood’, where a mistake by the Togher Cross player proved costly.

Brickley was dominant in the shots up past ‘Walshe’s lane’ and duly won by a bowl of odds. Brian Horgan is emerging as a real talent in West Cork bowling. He annexed his second U16 regional crown in successive seasons with a barnstorming display at Ballinacarriga. The Dunmanway youth had a worthy rival in Eoin Hurley, Drinagh, and a second half showing of the highest quality saw him complete the double in the grade.

Hurley matched Horgan’s best over the opening quarter before a huge cast over the brow at the ‘four crosses’ gave the eventual winner big leeway. Horgan rose a bowl with two great shots to the wide road at ‘Manch’ before producing a monstrous effort on the straight to ‘Finn’s corner’ that put the issue beyond doubt.

In the Mid Cork U14 final at Jagoe’s Mills, Daniel Wilmot won a fine contest with Rhys Murphy. At Castletownkenneigh in Mid Cork novice E, a grade that engages many, local contender Eoghan O’Callaghan won his semi-final battle with Tony O’Connor, by just five metres and will play Cian Collins, who edged out perennial campaigner Gene O’Callaghan by mere metres in last second semi at the same venue for an €800 stake.

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