In the space of a week both European champions, brothers David (Road) and Aidan Murphy (Dutch Moors), have been eliminated from the championship. It is a remarkable statement of the strength of Irish bowling and delivers a unique all-Bantry final next Sunday at Dunmanway between 2010 champion Coppinger and Christy Mullins.
Coppinger opened the first bend with two big bowls, while Murphy was just at the point of the bend. Murphy got back on track with a brilliant third shot while Coppinger misplayed his next two to conceded almost a bowl. Murphy drove on to the Women’s Lane in two more to keep a 100m lead. Coppinger replied to this with a poor sixth which left him almost a bowl behind.
Murphy raised the bowl with a huge shot to the avenue. Coppinger did well to come within 30m of that tip, but he was still a bowl down. He responded immediately with a big bowl which Murphy missed by 80m. He followed with another great bowl towards O’Donovan’s to regain the lead.
Murphy just shaded the next exchange to light past O’Donovan’s. They both got good bowls to Burke’s, with Murphy now ten metres fore. The next two exchanges turned out to be decisive as Coppinger looked exposed after each, but Murphy didn’t take advantage. They both missed the bridge in their next shots and were marked level after 16 each to the bridge.
Murphy won the next exchange by 30m, but neither player scored the line. Coppinger then played a massive last bowl that covered over 250m on testing road. Murphy’s reply never looked likely to beat it.
Aidan’s brother Sean lost to his first-cousin John O’Rourke by a bowl in the Munster Junior A championship at the Mons. Murphy opened with a brilliant bowl that gave him the first tip by 100m. O’Rourke won the lead with his third. He raised a bowl at the half-way and was well over a bowl clear till a great late rally by Murphy brought it back to an even bowl of odds.
Patrick O’Donoghue beat Patrick Moynihan in the same championship at Kilcorney after leading from the off.
Billy Dalton scored a good win for Waterford bowling when he beat Mick Hurley in the last shot at Clashmore in the East Cork final. He will play O’Donoghue in the Munster championship.
Hurley dominated the early stages after two exceptional bowls towards the big tree. He raised a bowl with another great shot from Butna Foley’s and added a second with his next past the boreen. Dalton’s brilliant bowl brought the lead under a bowl and he led with an equally good one to the novice line. He led to the finish and won the last shot comfortably.
Raymond Ryan had a convincing win over Seamus Sexton in the Munster intermediate championship at Castletownkenneigh. Sexton was 30m fore after four and beat a good fifth from Ryan towards the rectory. Ryan got a lucky rub with his sixth to lead by a metre. Ryan then got two massive throws to raise a bowl. After two more he was almost two in front. He raised the second bowl soon after. Sexton saved the second bowl with a great shot from the last bend.
Terry Sexton led just once against Vincent Cahalane in the Munster Junior B championship at Ballinacurra, but it was the vital last one. Cahalane was a bowl clear after two good bowls to Brinny cross. He lost the bowl with his fifth, but he restored it with his next and held it for the following seven shots. An injury hampered him after that but he doggedly held the lead to the last throw. Sexton closed with a super shot though to snatch victory.
John Creedon had one of those special weeks, beating Eamon Bowen Jnr in the Mick Barry Cup at Ballincurrig on Tuesday and following with victory over Thomas Mackle in the Mother Hegarty Cup semi-final at Lyre on Sunday.
Neither player made a flying start at Lyre, but Mackle had a good lead after eight to Crowley’s. He missed McCarthy’s in two more and Creedon had edged in front at the last bend. He was still just fore at the tunnel and he increased his lead to 60m with his next two towards the line. Mackle played a poor last shot.
In Ballincurrig he took an early lead with a great bowl to light, which helped him take a bowl to the no-play line. Bowen dominated from there to the big corner, where he was a bowl in front. Creedon made light from there and Bowen missed to leave them tied again.
The deadlock was broken when Creedon got a great second last shot to light and Bowen missed.