He took the first tip with a good opening bowl and led to the line. Shorten was at Brinny cross in three, but Ryan went through the cross with his third. Shorten’s next made the end of the church. Ryan reached Foley’s with his third to push his lead to almost a bowl.
His progress was halted when he threw a poor bowl that hit a wall at Perrott’s. Shorten didn’t exploit this though. Ryan punished him with a great bowl from there to raise a bowl. He held his lead with his next past the GAA pitch. Shorten rallied over the bridge, but he conceded a bowl again with a poor shot at the Junior C line. From there on, Ryan was in complete control.
It was very different in the Jim O’Driscoll Cup semi-final at Ballincurrig where Ryan was well beaten by Trevor O’Meara. O’Meara opened with three great bowls to Geary’s. He was past the ‘play’ line in six, while Ryan made the no-play line in six. Ryan challenged well to the big corner, but O’Meara dominated from there again and won by a bowl.
The third All-Ireland series at Drogheda saw the spoils shared by Ulster, Leinster and North America — with no Munster winner.
Mark Kiernan was always in control in the Junior C final against Peter Clinton. He led from the off and went almost a bowl in front after Clinton’s second bowl broke to the right. He was a full bowl clear after four and he raised a second bowl after three more.
He threw massive third and second last shots to push his lead to three bowls. His win continued the amazing record of the Madden Club, bringing its tally to 30 All-Ireland titles. In the semi-final he was in control from the off against Munster champion Chris Murray. He was a bowl in front after four and increased his lead as the score progressed and won by two bowls.
Clinton beat Mayo’s Kevin McGing by a bowl in the semi-final — a decent effort by McGing who is just 17.
Gary Shevlin won Louth’s second All-Ireland title when he beat Munster champion Thomas O’Callaghan by a bowl in the Novice I final.
This was a good win for Shevlin, who was 2011 Novice II champion. He got a poor opening shot, but O’Callaghan beat it by just 15m. O’Callaghan then got a good second shot, but it was called. His second attempt was 80m short of his original tip and it handed the initiative to Shevlin.
Shevlin took control with a great third throw which put him a bowl in front. O’Callaghan rallied, but Shevlin finished strongly to push his lead back to a bowl. He was just short of the line in an impressive 14 shots.
In the semi-final he beat Ulster’s Niall Smith and North American champion Fergus O’Sullivan, who travelled from San Francisco. O’Callaghan beat London champion Padraig Nugent and David Hughes in his semi-final.
Florrie O’Mahony won the Novice II title for North America after a great contest with Leinster champion Alan Long. Long started well and was almost a bowl in front after three. He made a mistake with his fifth and O’Mahony seized the opening. He bowled consistently to take the lead and win comfortably in the last shot.
It was a fantastic weekend for the Drogheda Bowlers who hosted the event and they created history by having three of their own players contest the finals. Munster ended with no title and with only one finalist. While this may lead to some soul searching, it could well be a short-term loss for a longer-term gain.
The so-called weaker regions are becoming increasingly competitive and bowling has taken off with a passion in North America. Both of those are advances that could barely be countenanced when the series was established exactly 20 years ago.
Bowling in Mayo will get another boost this week when Westport plays host to the three-day Unlimited All-Ireland series — a bowling equivalent of the Paralympics.
David Murphy and Carmel Ryan beat Gary Daly and Triona Kidney by almost a bowl in the Fáilte Ireland international media event at Ballincurrig on Saturday. Daly won the opening shot, but Murphy and Ryan had a good lead facing the no-play line. Kidney got a great bowl there to keep the sides level.
They were still level at the big corner, but Murphy and Ryan edged clear again. Ryan’s massive bowl to the sycamores effectively decided it as it put a bowl between them.
On Friday at Drogheda, Paul O’Reilly beat Killian Kingston by a bowl and Christy Mullins just edged Thomas Mackle in the last shot.