Brilliant hat-trick for Ulster bowlers

Conor McGuigan beat All-Ireland champion Aidan Murphy by almost a bowl in the final of the Joe McVeigh Cup on Sunday, the feature event of the Ból-Fada festival on the Markethill Road near Keady, Co. Armagh. 

McGuigan’s victory completed a brilliant hat-trick for Ulster. Earlier Kelly Mallon beat Dutch star Silke Tulk by five metres in a gripping Charlemont Cup final and Thomas Mackle opened the day with a bowl of odds win over Christy Mullins in the Pete Grimley Cup.

Aidan Murphy opened with a brilliant bowl up the hill to win the first tip by 50m. He followed with two more big throws to sight at Twynam’s to push his lead to one metre short of a bowl. His next was not as good though and McGuigan replied with a brilliant bowl to the hollow to clip the odds to 50m. Murphy eased clear again by making the creamery lane in six, while it took McGuigan seven to beat it by 30m.

Murphy’s grip on the title faltered when he got a very short bowl from there. McGuigan seized the opening with three good shot to sight at McCann’s where he had the lead. Murphy regained momentum down the hill, but McGuigan rallied on the flat to lead by five metres after 14 to the bridge.

They were locked together in the next two up the rise. That all changed when McGuigan got a sensational bowl down into the dip that settled into the track and raced onto the finishing straight. Murphy had just reached the dip and beat that tip by five metres to leave almost a bowl between them. McGuigan held his lead with a good bowl towards the line.

Kelly Mallon had a dramatic five metre win over Silke Tulk in the Charlemont Cup.

She opened with two good shots to sight. Tulk caught the left side with her first two and needed a third throw to open the bend. She stormed into the score with a brilliant bowl to the end of the straight. Mallon missed this by 50m and only beat it by 30m with her following throw.

Tulk snatched the lead with a huge bowl to sight at McCann’s. She looked to be taking control in the next few shots. Mallon then got a massive bowl to the creamery lane. Tulk missed that by 40m and the score was more evenly balanced over the next series of throws.

Tulk then got another massive bowl to sight at Twynam’s. Mallon missed sight with her reply and only beat the tip by 20m with her next to leave almost a bowl between them. Mallon hit back with a sensational bowl to O’Hanlon’s lane.

Tulk played two very short shots to miss that by 10m and leave a clear bowl between them The score took one final turn when Tulk played an incredible bowl that whipped past the last bend and beat the line. Mallon could only make sight facing the line with her next and she still had plenty to do. She played a good bowl, which deviated to the left but came back onto the road to just beat Tulk’s tip.

Thomas Mackle was dominant from the off in the Pete Grimley Cup. He opened the first bend in two to go almost a bowl clear. He had a bowl and 60m odds after his fourth to Twynam’s. He was still almost a bowl in front after three more to the creamery lane. Mullins kept the lead under a bowl in his next four to McCann’s.

Mackle raised a bowl again down the hill and held it to the bridge. He got the better of Mullins in the last shot to win by a bowl.

On Saturday McGuigan beat Ulster champion Cathal Toal in his semi-final and Murphy beat James O’Donovan. Munster pair Willie O’Donnell and John O’Donoghue beat Rory O’Reilly and Eugene Kiernan. Ulster’s Frank Oliver and Shane O’Neill beat Brian O’Halloran and Peter Burns in the last score.

Mairéad O’Driscoll and Claire O’Sullivan beat Sinéad Kiernan and Jane O’Neill to give Munster the first win of the weekend on the Viaduct Road on Friday. Ulster’s James Oliver and David Devlin then beat Kieran Murphy and Noel O’Donovan. Drogheda pair Peter Clinton and Martin Briscoe beat Ulster’s Austin McKeown and Paul McClelland in the final score.

In the Munster intermediate championship Pat Butler beat Michael Bohane at Crookstown and PJ Cooney beat Patrick O’Driscoll at Glanworth.

Cooney had nice odds after four in Glanworth, but he needed a fifth to make sight. He gained almost a bowl up the hill. A lucky rub to the farmhouse brought O’Driscoll back into contention. Cooney got a big rub too towards the junior line to go almost a bowl clear and he held that to the finish.

At Crookstown Butler raised almost a bowl with four great bowls to sight at the big house. Bohane knocked the bowl, but couldn’t find an opening to get closer. Butler’s big shot towards the line gave him an unassailable cushion.

Timoleague hosted the Carbery-South West festival from Thursday to Monday. On Saturday Donal Riordan beat Gavin Twohig. Riordan powered a bowl clear up the hill and still had a bowl with four to go. He then got two poor shots, but held the lead and won the last shot by 20m.

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