Donal Riordan advances to Munster semi-final

Donal Riordan is the first player through to the Munster Intermediate championship semi-final after defeating Gavin Twohig by two bowls at the Marsh Road on Sunday.

He was in control from the off. A big rub with his second got him to the start of the railing and put him a bowl and 80m clear. Twohig held it to an even bowl by matching Riordan’s two good shots to the council yard. Riordan increased his lead with a good fifth, but Twohig had it back to a bowl after two more to the Silvery Gate.

They made the steps in three more, with Twohig getting two good shots to clip the lead to a bare bowl. Riordan pushed clear again with a good bowl to Thornhill Cross after Twohig’s bowl had drifted left. Twohig missed that tip with his following throw to fall two bowls behind.

Riordan consolidated his lead with a good 12th to sight at Ballyhilty corner. He missed Ballyhilty cross with his next, but hit back immediately with a great shot to the lane. He was at the junior line in two more with his lead intact, leaving Twohig no hope of recovery.

Quarter-final wins for Thomas Boyle and Paul Buckley complete the line-up for the Munster Junior A semi-finals. They play each other in one side and Chris O’Donovan meets Billy McAuliffe in the other.

Buckley had an easy win over Jerry O’Riordan at Kilcorney. He raised a bowl with a big first shot, following with two more good throws to Cooney’s to hold his advantage. He reached Coleman’s bridge in six, where he was two bowls clear. He held that to Cullinane’s and added another bowl in the shots to the novice line.

Boyle beat Tony O’Sullivan in the last shot at Grange. O’Sullivan won the first two, but played his third to the left conceding the lead before Hodnett’s. He followed with two brilliant bowls to O’Sullivan’s to take a lead of almost a bowl. He held that in his next two to the school cross. Boyle got a good rub to sight off the school wall. O’Sullivan played his next too far right and Boyle levelled with a good tenth to de Barra’s. O’Sullivan was still in front at Holland’s wall and held a narrow lead after another two to sight at the stud farm.

Boyle’s second last pulled left presenting O’Sullivan with a chance of beating the line for victory. He played too tight on the right and his bowl hit a pillar a metre short of the line. Boyle seized his reprieve with a brilliant bowl, which O’Sullivan missed.

National Executive will confirm the Munster senior championship semi-final draws and venues tonight. Gary Daly, David Murphy, Aidan Murphy, James O’Donovan, Martin Coppinger and Séamus Sexton go into the hat. They will be joined by two of James Buckley, Éamon Bowen Jnr and Brian Wilmot who meet in a playoff.

Gary Daly will go into that draw as Pool A winner after beating David Murphy at Gortroe. Murphy got the better start, but Daly took over and raised a bowl at the Well Bar. He defended his lead despite a strong late challenge from Murphy.

The Ulster senior semi-final draw is Thomas Mackle v Cathal Toal and Brian O’Reilly v Martin Toal. O’Reilly secured his place with a comfortable win over hot favourite Peadar Toal at Port Mór-Blackwatertown. He shaded the opening throws. Toal played a poor second and his form dipped dramatically as he took six to open the orchard bend. He took three more to reach the long lane where the score looked over. O’Reilly then hit a poor sequence and his lead was under a bowl at McCusker’s after 11 throws.

Toal edged closer in the next shots, but O’Reilly steadied the ship and pushed a bowl clear again at McGreil’s. He picked up the pace from there and won comfortably by two bowls. Malachy Lappin will contest the Ulster Junior A final following his bowl of odds win over Sean Donnelly at Eglish.

Ballinacurra hosted a weekend benefit festival. On Saturday Denis Murphy created a new record with his first five shots against David Hubbard. He reached Foley’s in three to go almost two bowls clear and he was at Perrott’s wall in two more. His second half was not as intense, but he beat the line in 12 to win by almost two bowls. Earlier he beat Brendan O’Neill by two bowls.

Noel O’Donovan beat Cian Boyle by close to a bowl in a brilliant score on Sunday. He beat Boyle’s sensational bowl past Perrott’s by 50m, which turned the score. He was just short of the line in 11, while Boyle beat it in 12. They could potentially meet again in the Munster Junior B semi-final.

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