McDonagh gave a top-class display against Michael Bohane on Saturday. He raised a bowl after three good shots to Geary’s. He held that with three more good shots to Heaphy’s. He was close to two in front after eight to the middle of the long straight. He raised it with his shot to Leahy’s. Despite some top- class bowling from Bohane he couldn’t recover.
Gary Daly led Aidan Murphy in the first four to the green. Murphy led after a brilliant fifth towards the no-play line. The lead changed at virtually every tip to Leahy’s. Daly then got the score winning edge with a super shot to the big corner. Murphy narrowly missed. Daly had almost a bowl after his next to the top of the short straight and raised it with his 13th towards the sycamores. He held that lead to the finish.
Ger Connolly won the Munster Junior C final against Liam Walsh at Macroom. Walsh won the first two shots. Connolly’s third took a great rub to Bantry’s cross, which put him almost a bowl in front. He stormed up the hill to gain almost a second bowl at Lyndon Hall. Walsh held the lead under two, till he fell on the water-logged surface. Connolly was relentless to Glasheen cross where he was close to three in front.
He represents Munster in next weekend’s All-Ireland (Series 3) finals at Aughagower near Westport. Ciarán Nyhan (Novice I) and Séamus O’Regan (Novice II) secured their places on the team the previous week.
The semi-final draws will be made on Friday ahead of competition on Saturday, which will include all four home provinces, North America and London.
With the name Maguire on the lips of every Mayo sports fan, they may see a good omen in the victory of Kevin McGuire in the Connaught Novice II final. At just 18, he will wear the red and green as the youngest ever Connaught champion.
He scorched over the All-Ireland course to beat another young player, Michael Gallagher in the last shot. Joe Sheridan is Connaught Novice I champion, he beat teenager Kevin Lavelle in the final. Kieran Donnelly had a big win over Ger Kennedy in the Junior C final.
The Ulster team is Shane Feighan (Junior C), Colum Doran (Novice I) and Martin Malone (Novice II).
Feighan, who contested the 2015 Novice I All-Ireland, beat Paul Murphy on the Cathedral Road. His first bowl from the fingerpost hopped the kerb. Murphy led to the well corner. The lead changed hands to McGrath’s and they were locked together up Starr’s hill.
Murphy pushed clear to the coal sheds. He lost ground with his next and chances fell both ways down Brannigan’s. Murphy gained odds to the big tree. Feighan pounced with a big bowl. Murphy missed that and was almost a bowl down after Feighan beat the line at Rowntree’s lane with his next.
Last year’s Novice II champion Colum Doran had a bowl of odds win over Philly McKeever at Tullysaran in the Ulster Novice I final. McKeever got two great opening shots, but missed Mary-Ann’s corner with his third. Doran led with his fourth and was 40m fore at the farm. McKeever got a brilliant bowl to the capped bullet, but Doran beat it 40m. Chances fell both ways till Doran came good on the home stretch.
Ulster’s Novice II final at Newtownhamilton was between two promising young players, with Martin Malone beating Martin McCaughey in the last shot. McCaughey broke the early deadlock with a big fifth throw. Malone levelled after a great rub to light and got a brilliant bowl into the hollow at the quarry to go almost a bowl in front. McCaughey levelled to the mushroom houses.
Malone got a great cush off the bridge to regain a big lead. He lost ground with his second last, but had 30m odds. McCaughey missed the line and Malone beat it by 10m.
Last year’s Novice I All-Ireland champion Pádraig Nugent is London’s Junior C representative. He is joined on the programme by Danny O’Shea as Novice I representative. O’Shea lost to Alan Long in last year’s Novice II semi-final.
North America sends a very strong and experienced team. At Junior C they are represented by Boston player Brendan O’Donovan who was their Novice I winner last year. Seán O’Mahony, also from Boston, is the Novice I representative and Mick Moloney from New York is the Novice II champion.
No West Virginia player made it through this year. That could change in 2018 as the region hosts the North American championships at Blackwater Falls State Park.
The Leinster team is weakened by the unavailability of two their most experienced players Gary Shevlin and Alan Long. Junior C champion Peter Clinton leads the team, with Graham Sexton as the Novice I representative. Martin Briscoe beat Peter Kirk and Noel Carr in the last shot of a great Novice II final at Drogheda to secure the third place