While Barry battled gamely there was a gulf in class between them. Desmond looked like a player from at least two grades higher and if his ambition matches his ability then he has a bright future. With next year’s European championships looming a young, fit and physically imposing player like Desmond could easily force his way onto the Irish team.
Barry did well to stay in contention in the first four shots to the top of the hill, where the lead was just 50m. They went to Boula lane in three more, where Desmond had extended his lead marginally.
However, he was over a bowl clear at Downey’s line. He increased his lead with two big shots to the top of the straight and was almost two clear after another big shot past the farm. He delivered a big bowl around the Devil’s bend, which put his lead well over two bowls and secured him a place in the All-Ireland finals in Drogheda in the second weekend of September.
Earlier, at the same venue, Daniel Murphy beat Garret Bourke by almost a bowl in the Novice I Munster final.
He won the first three shots, but Bourke edged the fourth. The lead changed hands in each of the next two, with Murphy winning the seventh to Boula lane by 30m. Bourke played his next to the left and Murphy increased his lead to 80m. Bourke’s next was poor too and he beat the tip by just 15m to leave almost a bowl between them.
Murphy went a full bowl clear after a great ninth up the rise. He was almost two bowls in front at the Devil’s bend. Bourke did better in the last two and cut the lead to just under a bowl.
Conor O’Neill defeated Paul Grimley by a bowl in the Ulster Junior C final at Madden. They were locked together for the first five shots to the cottage. O’Neill went clear in the next two to the top of the hill and beat Grimley’s good eighth and ninth throws.
Grimley then got a poor throw and O’Neill’s reply brushed to give him an 80m lead. Grimley was right with his next and missed that tip to concede a bowl. O’Neill took his lead over a bowl in the closing quarter.
Shane Feighan will be hot favourite in tonight’s Ulster Novice I final against Saran Daly at Tullysaran. In the semi-final he led all the way before beating Barry Duffy by two bowls. Daly beat Hugh McCoy by a bowl in his semi-final. He raised a bowl midway and held it to the line. In the quarter-final, McCoy wiped out almost two bowls of odds and beat Philly McKeever in the last shot.
Conor Grimley will play Fergal McCreesh in the Ulster Novice II final following his last-shot win over Conor Daly at the Rock Road.
He won the opening shot well, but hit a lamppost with his second and trailed for most of the score. Daly led by almost a bowl at the halfway, but Grimley whittled it down to 20m at the Diamond. He led at the white sign corner and was 40m fore after a good second last. He comfortably beat Daly’s last throw.
The first steps in forming the Irish road teams for the 2016 European Championships at Ootmarsum in the Netherlands will commence on Sunday morning with trials at Castletownkenneigh. Players will be selected on the basis of their three best performances, over 10 shots, on four Sundays.
Billy McAuliffe and Christy Mullins will coach the senior men’s team. Geraldine Daly is coach to the senior women and underage girls. Dan McCarthy will coach the youth team.