Both provinces will take positives from the outcome. Munster has the senior men’s crown and four of the six underage titles. The unique double of Aidan Murphy at senior and his uncle Jerry at veteran (over-50) was a feature of Munster’s success, but these were the only two adult titles won. Ulster had a clean sweep of all the other adult finals.
Three of the Munster underage winners put down serious markers with their performances. Patrick Flood (u12) and Conor Creedon (u14) both showed serious potential. Girls u18 winner Mairéad O’Driscoll however, was probably the most impressive in that she prevented Sinéad Kieran winning a fifth All-Ireland. Given that it was her first time competing at national level and that the score was played in Armagh that was an outstanding achievement. Maria Nagle received a walkover at u16.
James Oliver (Intermediate) and Ruairí O’Reilly (Junior A) beat two hot Munster fancies in Séamus Sexton and Seán Murphy respectively. Kelly Mallon regained the upper hand against Carmel Ryan at senior and Sinéad Kiernan showed progress by winning the intermediate. However, David Devlin’s Boys u16 – u18 double was Ulster’s standout success. Soon he will join a growing cohort of top young players at senior and intermediate in Ulster, which makes it something of a new golden era.
The championship focus now shifts to the third All-Ireland series at the end of this month in Westport. The last three national titles of the season, Junior C, Novice I and Novice II, will be contested by all four Irish provinces, North American and Britain. The Munster finalists in all three grades will be decided by next weekend.
The first of the Munster Junior C semi-finals is at Ardachan tonight, where Brian O’Halloran takes on Tim Kelleher. Michael Ward will contest the second semi-final at the weekend against the winner of the Clubhouse quarter-final between Séamus O’Sullivan and Noel Dempsey.
Both Novice I semi-finals will be played on Saturday. At Templemartin Richard Harnedy plays Darren Bowen and Tony Murphy and Chris Faulkner meet in the other semi-final at Grenagh. Murphy had an impressive win over Alan Butler at Carrigaline on Saturday. He had 60m odds at McCarthy’s lane and then took advantage of a few short bowls from Butler to raise a bowl at Ashman’s. He controlled the score from there and won by over a bowl.
Damien O’Gorman and Adrian Condon contest the Novice II semi-final as part of a double-header with the Novice I at Templemartin on Saturday. On the previous evening Darren Burns plays Seán Hegarty in the other semi-final at Bweeng. Hegarty gave a top class display in his quarter-final win over Seán Nyhan at Carrigaline. He took the lead at the first bend. He was a bowl in front at Ashman’s and had almost two at the line.
At the higher echelons the primary focus shifts to King and Queen of the Roads and serious festivals like Rosscarbery which has three parallel tournaments: the Paddy Barry Cup at senior level, the Tim White Cup at Junior and the O’Halloran Cup for novices The Mick Barry Cup will provide two wild card entries to King of the Roads in October. An additional place arises as All-Ireland senior champion Aidan Murphy is doubly qualified as both the holder and as Munster champion. Ulster champion Cathal Toal and both the German and Dutch champions are also automatic qualifiers.
On one side of the Mick Barry Cup Christy Mullins and Thomas Mackle play next Sunday, with the winner meeting James Buckley for one of the qualification places. There are still five in contention on the other side. Trevor O’Meara plays Bryan O’Reilly on Sunday and Martin Coppinger plays Peadar Toal later this month. Gary Daly is also in that side of the draw.
Last weekend’s All-Ireland senior women’s finalists Carmel Ryan and Kelly Mallon are automatic qualifiers for Queen of the Roads together with the German and Dutch champions. Two additional places will be secured through the Gretta Cormican Cup.
At Rosscarbery John Creedon, James Buckley and James O’Donovan are all qualified for the semi-final of the Paddy Barry Cup. Brian Wilmot and Gavin Twohig meet in the outstanding quarter final.
In the past week both Declan O’Donovan and Peter Murray won quarter-finals of the Tim White Cup and will meet each other in the semi-final. The other semi-final is between Vincent Kiely and Denis Wilmot.
Declan O’Donovan beat Brendan O’Neill in his quarter-final. O’Neill was in a commanding position at Barry’s lane. O’Donovan got three brilliant shots to the cross which gave him the lead for the last throw. He easily beat O’Neill’s last shot. Peter Murray was trailing James Nagle on Barry’s straight in his quarter-final. The score turned when Nagle missed sight and Murray went out to bring him back into contention. He led with a great shot past the guesthouse and won comfortably in the last shot.