Anticipated as the score of the year, it never reached the heights expected in part due to the sheer size of the crowd and a poor start from Murphy. Still Coppinger did more than enough to confirm his stature. While Murphy finished with two extraordinary bowls to send his fans home with some consolation.
Coppinger got a good opener, while Murphy dropped his low to the left. He then needed a brilliant bowl to open the bend, but he fell 50m short of the target. Coppinger went well out with his second and Murphy missed that by ten metres to leave a full bowl between them.
A fine third shot to the hollow increased Coppinger’s lead by 60m. Murphy closed the gap to a bare bowl with his next two past the Women’s lane, when Coppinger might have been going further in front. Murphy’s seventh towards the avenue was his first big shot and it knocked the bowl of odds.
Just as Murphy looked to be coming back into it, the score swung dramatically towards Coppinger again. He restored his bowl of odds when his next bowl rubbed off the left past the avenue. He followed with an absolutely stunning bowl to O’Mahony’s, which pushed his lead to two bowls of odds.
Murphy responded with a good 11th, which held the lead at just two bowls. His next was a smashing bowl that he pulled perfectly past O’Donovan’s bend and squeezed the odds a little. Just as quickly though Coppinger pushed the lead to 80m over two bowls with a brilliant bowl to Burke’s. With the line just three shots away it looked completely over.
Murphy got a good bowl past the cross; Coppinger blew his bowl across to the left and missed it. The lead was now just under two. Coppinger made McCarthy’s with his next. Murphy hit back with an absolute miler up over the brow and all the way down past the bridge to full sight on the finishing straight.
Coppinger was suddenly under pressure in a score that looked wrapped up. He kept his composure and delivered a perfect bowl down the hill and just beat Murphy’s tip. Murphy had another trick up his sleeve though. He played a super 16th bowl, which was unlucky to veer off the centre just past the line. Coppinger’s reply brought him within 80m of that tip.
There was little chance of him missing Murphy’s tip. He sent his bowl away smartly and it comfortably beat the tip to secure his place in next Sunday’s Munster final against Brian Wilmot at Bauravilla.
Wilmot beat Gary Daly by three bowls in the other semi-final at Newcestown on Saturday. Daly went into that score with an injury and met a tornado as Wilmot was at his absolute best.
Daly opened with a good bowl to shade the first tip by two metres. Wilmot got a brilliant second towards the end of the straight, which Daly missed by 70m. Daly’s third beat that tip by just 50m and the score quickly went beyond his grasp.
Wilmot made light at the end of the straight with his third and Daly missed that to concede a bowl of odds. Daly missed Mac’s Cross with his next and Wilmot went out comfortably to edge his lead towards a second bowl. He raised the second bowl with his sixth. He increased his odds with his seventh to Fehilly’s. He was just short of Desmond’s lane in eight where his lead was almost three bowls and Daly conceded.
Eddie Carr regained the Ulster title when he beat hot favourite Peadar Toal by ten metres at Port Mór-Blackwatertown on Sunday.
He opened with a good bowl. Toal’s reply looked certain to beat it but it didn’t brush well off the kerb and was just fore bowl. They both got good second shots, with Toal still just holding the lead. Carr then got a brilliant third to light at the Orchard corner, which Toal well to follow. Toal won the next exchange by 40m.
Carr followed with two massive bowls to McCusker’s, which put him almost a bowl in front. He held that in the next three. Toal battled back bravely with a big shot to Bagnell’s bridge that helped cut the lead to five metres at Connolly’s. He lost momentum with his next though and Carr increased his lead to 100m.
It looked all over till Toal got a massive bowl to just short of light at the last bend. His last bowl clipped the bend, but he still got the line. Carr’s reply was lucky to rub twice and beat the tip.
Malachy Lappin will represent Ulster in the Junior B All-Ireland. He beat Raymond Grimley by a bowl. He was just in front after four to the orchard corner. When Grimley missed light at McCusker’s, Lappin went a bowl in front and won comfortably. He will face either Chris O’Donovan or Kieran Murphy who play the Munster final at Rosscarbery next Monday.
O’Donovan also contests tonight’s Munster veteran final against Willie Cronin at Macroom. The winner of that will play Joe Shortt who beat Anthony O’Neill with an extraordinary last shot in the Ulster final.