Martin Coppinger got his bid to reach the Hurley’s of Midleton King of the Roads back on track with an impressive win over Gary Daly in the Mick Barry Cup at Ballincurrig on Sunday.
Daly opened with a brilliant bowl to sight. Coppinger only reached Moore’s gate in two, but Daly didn’t capitalise. Coppinger seized the opening with a brilliant third into the green to lead by 30m. He was in front from there to the finish. He increased his lead with his next two, but his fifth narrowly missed the no-play line.
Daly snatched that chance with a great sixth past the line. Coppinger stretched his lead again to O’Riordan’s in seven. He played his next bowl incredibly tight on the right, but it was fast enough to whip back onto the road and reach the top of the long straight. Daly was not as lucky and missed the tip by 15m to fall a bowl behind.
They followed with two super shots each to reach sight at the big corner with the lead one metre shy of a bowl. Coppinger drove a super bowl from there to sight at the top of the short straight. Daly’s reply unluckily hopped left and missed up. Coppinger pressed on with another good one to Din Tough’s, but Daly kept the lead well under two with a good reply to the sycamores.
Coppinger only made the elbow with his next. Daly unluckily missed sight and a chance to cut the lead to an even bowl.
Coppinger’s second last was very tight, but it ran to full sight. Although Daly beat that well they were now playing for the second bowl of odds. Coppinger beat the line well with a good 15th, but Daly went the end of the green to save the second bowl.
That was Coppinger’s best performance since losing the Munster final to Aidan Murphy at Ballygurteen. He will be hoping it heralds a return to the astonishing vein of form he had at Ballincurrig last year before injury put him out of King of the Roads. He will have a second target in his sights next Sunday when the first round of Irish trials for the 2020 European championships commence at Castletownkenneigh.
The senior men will have their first run at 9 am, followed by senior women and youth trials for boys and girls born from 2002 at 11 am.
The race for places in next month’s final round of All-Irelands is gathering momentum with all three grades down to the semi-final stages in Munster. Both Junior C semi-finals will be played tomorrow evening. Cathal Creedon and Adrian Buttimer play at Crookstown while Wayne Parkes and Brian Coughlan meet at Ballinacarriga.
Coughlan had just one fore bowl against Kenneth Murphy in his quarter-final at Lyre, that was the all-important last one.
Murphy has 60m odds after two towards the forestry gate and extended his lead in his next two. Coughlan misplayed his sixth left to fall almost a bowl down. Murphy had over a bowl after two more to sight at Crowley’s. Coughlan cut the odds to just 40m facing McCarthy’s bend. He missed sight there and Murphy extended his lead to 70m to the high wall.
Coughlan rallied again with a big 15th to cut Murphy’s lead to ten metres. Murphy pushed that out to 30m in the next exchange. Coughlan then got a big second last to cut the odds to 30m. He closed with another great bowl to snatch his place in the semi-final.
Cathal Creedon had an equally dramatic last shot win over Timmy McDonagh in extreme rain at Peake. He got a poor first, but recovered with a great second to the cross. From there both players had periods of dominance, but McDonagh looked to have literally weathered the storm with two to go.
Creedon got a poor second last, but it was called. He got a much better retake and cut the odds to 30m for the last shot. He beat the line with his next. McDonagh beat that well with his reply, but it was called. He misplayed his retake to the right and missed by five metres. The previous week Wayne Parkes beat Olan Noonan and Adrian Buttimer beat Dan O’Connor in their quarter-finals.
Both the Derrinasafa and Shannonvale clubs ran successful hospital benefit series. The big winners in Derrinasafa were Tim Young against Jimmy O’Driscoll and Denis O’Driscoll against Denis Wilmott. Shannonvale packed 15 scores into a huge weekend of bowling.