Daly keeps Munster title hopes alive after dramatic victory over Buckley

Gary Daly kept his Munster championship dreams alive when he beat James Buckley with a huge last shot at Ballincurrig on Sunday in the last score of Pool C.

That win put him into a three-way tie in the pool with Christy Mullins and John Creedon — the top three places will now be decided in a play-off at Lyre on Saturday week. The order in which they finish will determine their places in the knock-out stages of the championship.

The winner will face either Trevor O’Meara or Brian Wilmot in the quarter-final at Jagoes Mills. The runner-up plays Raymond Ryan in Newcestown, with the prize a meeting with All-Ireland champion Martin Coppinger in the quarter-final. The third placed will play James O’Donovan at Templemichael for a quarter-final meeting with Éamon Bowen.

The fourth Munster quarter-final could see brothers David and Aidan Murphy against each other. Aidan would need to beat Edmond Sexton at Macroom to secure his quarter-final place. David is already qualified as the winner of Pool A.

Gary Daly led from start the start against James Buckley at Ballincurrig and was almost two bowls clear at one point, but Buckley fought back and came close to snatching it in the last shot.

Daly opened with a brilliant bowl to the first bend and followed with two more massive bowls to just short of the creamery. Buckley made a mistake with his fourth shot from Geary’s and missed Daly’s third tip to concede a bowl of odds. Daly followed with two more big bowls towards Heaphy’s to stretch his lead to almost two bowls of odds.

They both got poor shots from there, but then got excellent bowls onto the long straight where Daly was just 10 metres shy of two bowls clear. Daly’s next was well played, but it pulled left at the halfway line. Buckley seized the opening with a brilliant bowl to Leahy’s to cut the lead to an even bowl.

He followed up with another great bowl to the big corner and now the lead was under a bowl. Daly held most of his lead to the top of the short straight, but he then got a poor shot to just past the muddy gap. Buckley hit back with a great bowl to the end of the sycamores and now the lead was just 50m.

Neither player made the finishing straight with their next shots. Buckley then got another great bowl out the last bend and it looked set for a last shot showdown. But Daly denied him with a perfectly played last bowl.

The draw for the Munster intermediate semi-finals sees PJ Cooney play David Hubbard on this Friday evening at Carraig na bhFear and Wayne Callanan against Killian Kingston next Wednesday in Gortroe (Mallow).

Paul O’Reilly kept his Ulster intermediate campaign alive when he beat Cathal Toal in the last shot on the Cathedral Road, with Donal Daly off the pace.

Three of the four places in the Munster Junior A semi-finals were filled by Terry Mallon, Denis O’Driscoll and Peter Nagle in the past week, with the fourth, between Denis Cooney and Billy McAuliffe down for decision tomorrow at Ballincurrig.

Mallon was an impressive winner over Jerry Murphy by almost a bowl at Derrinasafa. The first two tips were close, but Mallon got a great third to take a 40m lead at Daly’s gate. He increased his lead to Ross’s and raised a second bowl in the following shots. They contested the lead to the line, with Murphy saving the bowl of odds.

His semi-final opponent will be Peter Nagle who beat Patrick Butler by a bowl in heavy rain at Killumney on Monday. Butler got a good first shot to take a big lead. He lost ground in the next two and Nagle gradually took control and extended his lead to a bowl in the second half.

Denis O’Driscoll finished strongly at Baile Mhuirne to beat Vincent Kiely in the last shot. They were level after two each to sight at the first bend, but Kiely dominated the middle part of the score. He got a great third shot to the hedges followed with an equally good fourth to O’Donoghue’s, which put him a bowl in front. He held that lead up the rise to the double gates.

They were out the slippery rock in another two where the lead was just under a bowl. Kiely then got a massive bowl to Twomey’s lane to raise the bowl again. He followed with two poor shots past Murphy’s to leave just 40m between them. O’Driscoll led with a great bowl towards the novice line and tightened his grip with another great shot to Ullanes cross. That gave him the cushion for victory.

Emma Fitzpatrick sensationally eliminated All-Ireland senior champion Catriona Kidney from the championship, when she beat her by two bowls of odds at Killumney.

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