It is a disappointing end to the senior championship, especially as this year represents the 50th anniversary of the first senior All-Ireland final in 1963. There was till plenty of on-road activity, with Aidan Murphy and Christy Mullins the big senior winners and the Munster and Ulster Junior C and Novice campaigns in their final stages.
Mullins beat Gary Daly in the final of the Clonakilty 400 Gathering tournament at Shannonvale on Sunday and Murphy moved closer to the King of the Roads weekend by beating Arthur McDonagh in the last shot of their Mick Barry Cup tie at Ballincurrig.
At Shannonvale, Mullins and Daly were locked together for the first four shots to the quarry. Daly edged the next and Mullins erred with his sixth, which gave Daly the opening to raise a bowl with his two throws to Desmond’s cross. Mullins cut the odds to 60m with a great 11th shot past Sam’s lane. They both missed Campbell’s in two more.
Mullins regained the lead with his shot to Campbell’s lane. He beat Daly’s next bowl to the junior line by 80m. Daly hit back with a great second last, but Mullins beat it by 50m to hold a solid lead. Daly missed the line with his next and Mullins beat it to secure his win. Daly beat John Creedon earlier in the week in the semi-final.
At Ballincurrig, Arthur McDonagh had a nice lead on Aidan Murphy after two to Moore’s gate. They both got poor third shots, but McDonagh eased clear with his fourth and beat the no-play line in six to go almost a bowl in front. He still had close to a bowl at the start of the long straight.
He lost his odds and the lead when he slipped delivering his next bowl. Murphy had good odds at Leahy’s, but McDonagh levelled with a brilliant bowl towards the big corner. They were level till McDonagh got a poor shot towards the sycamores. Murphy was well clear after the next, but McDonagh levelled with a brilliant bowl to the finishing straight. Murphy got the better of two big last throws.
Shane Lotty will contest the Munster Junior C final after beating Brendan O’Callaghan by almost two bowls at Waterfall. He raised a bowl after three and resisted a strong challenge, till a big second last put him almost two clear. He faces either Joe Madden or David Shannon in the final.
The Munster Novice I final is between Tony Flynn and Noel Dempsey. Flynn beat Michael O’Callaghan, a brother of beaten Junior C semi-finalist Brendan, by almost a bowl at Templemartin. Flynn made Slyne’s corner in four to raise a bowl. They bowled brilliantly to the Schoolhouse cross, but Flynn held his lead to the line.
The Munster Novice II final at Drinagh should be a cracker, between the impressive Martin O’Connor and the ever-improving John O’Regan.
In the quarter-final at Timoleague, O’Regan beat Chris Faulkner in the last shot. They set a blistering pace and it was in the balance to the last throws. From hind tip O’Regan played a tremendous bowl to snatch it by 50m. In the semi-final he beat Dan O’Donovan in the last shot at Derrinasafa. They were level to the Darkwood turn, but he sealed it by beating O’Donovan’s big 16th followed by a big last shot.
Martin O’Connor and Joseph Hennessy were level for the first two throws of the other semi-final at Castletownkenneigh before O’Connor went a bowl in front at the triangle and won comfortably.
Mark Toal and Shane O’Neill will meet in the Ulster Junior C final over the All-Ireland course at Newtownhamilton. Toal beat Chris Fields by a bowl in his semi-final and O’Neill beat Rohan Rafferty in his.
Philip McKeever beat Seamus O’Neill in the last shot of the Novice I semi-final. In the final he faces Conor O’Neill who beat Colin Mallon by over a bowl. John Grimley who beat Fergal McCreesh will contest the Novice II final against either Gerard Powell or Paul Grimley (Drumcairn).
Kevin Coughlan is London Junior C champion having beaten Padraig Nugent in the best of three final at Launder’s Lane. Nugent gets the London Novice I place in the All-Irelands and Danny O’Shea the Novice II spot.
Vincent Kiely closed with five brilliant bowls from the start of Barry’s Hill to beat Aidan Hurley in the Tim White Cup final at Rosscarbery.
In the Munster Vintage (Over-60) A semi-final Donal O’Donovan beat defending champion John Murphy at Ballinacarriga, O’Donovan taking it in the last throw. The Vintage B final is between DD Carroll and Pat-Joe Connolly. Carroll beat Pat O’Sullivan (SV) by two bowls at Drinagh and Connolly beat Brendan O’Sullivan at Sam’s Cross. In the C quarter-finals Jim Fitzpatrick beat Fachtna Keane at Marsh Road and Liam Hurley beat Brendan Hayes at Derrinasafa.