McAuliffe ends his Munster famine

BILLY McAULIFFE joined the Munster roll of honour following a dramatic last shot win over Tony McCarthy in the Munster Veteran final at Waterfall on Saturday evening.

His first Munster title comes 16 years after his famous joust with Kieran O’Gorman in the Munster Junior A final at Crossbarry in 1987. The fallow years were quickly forgotten when he finally won took the Munster title and won the right to play Tom McKeever in next weekend’s All-Ireland final in Armagh.

McCarthy won the opening exchange with a bowl towards the Glasha. McAuliffe made sight with his second and took his first fore bowl. He increased his lead with a bowl to Lynch’s. McCarthy regained the lead after McAuliffe played a short bowl to the corner of the lawn. They were level from there to the bend past Mehigan’s.

McAuliffe got the better of the shots past the senior line. A great shot over the brow set him up to make Dan Herlihy’s corner and left McCarthy in an awkward position. McCarthy played a tremendous bowl though and made full sight at Dan Herlihy’s and regained the lead.

McCarthy held the lead in the next exchange up the hill. McAuliffe applied pressure with a good shot to Murphy’s farm. McCarthy played his reply to the right and it missed McAuliffe’s tip by 80m. He compensated with a good bowl from there, but McAuliffe still had the advantage. A chink of light opened for McCarthy when McAuliffe missed the line with his next shot.

McCarthy seized his opening with a tremendous last shot which went well past the line. The pressure was now on McAuliffe. He admirably rose to the challenge with a good bowl which beat the tip by 40m. It was his second big win of the week; on Tuesday night he beat PJ Murphy in a tremendous Veteran II final at Carrigaline.

The bowling in that score was exceptional. It would have gone to the last shot, but for Murphy’s bowl from the last corner taking an unlucky break off the raised white line. A cruel end to an amazing challenge.

All-Ireland U18 champion Helen White won her second Munster title of the season when she comprehensively beat Bernadette O’Regan in the John Harrington Munster Intermediate final at Caheragh on Sunday.

This final showed a player who is quickly becoming a star in the making. O’Regan kept in close contention to the church, but from there on White was in a class of her own. She rose a bowl of odds at Skibbereen cross, added a second past the bridge and had a third on the smooth.

She is joined on the weekend programme by Denise Murphy (North Cork), Murphy beat Natalie Moynihan (Gaeltacht) by a bowl of odds in Sunday’s Munster U16 final at Newcestown and goes on to the first ever All-Ireland U16 final.

They were level to O’Brien’s cross. Moynihan took the next few shots down the hill. A brilliant bowl from Murphy into the hollow and up the rise gave her a bowl of odds which she held that to the line.

Carrigtwohill’s Seanie O’Farrell had a packed sporting week. On Tuesday he beat John Shanahan in the East Cork Novice A final. On Wednesday he was a match winner for Imokilly, scoring 3-1 and winning two penalties, against Na Piarsaigh in the senior hurling championship. But on Thursday the fairy tale ended when Liam O’Brien beat him in the East Cork Novice I final.

Leonard Bowen upset the odds in the Cork City Novice I final at Waterfall where he beat Dave Mackey by a bowl of odds. A scintillating bowl to sight at the Glasha gave Mackey a bowl of odds start, but he struggled to deal with Bowen’s consistency and determination from there. Bowen levelled at Mehigan’s. He led at the next corner and had almost a bowl at the senior line. He burst two bowls clear at Dan Herlihy’s corner.

Seamus Sexton Jnr took his first steps to a second Munster title when he beat Michael Murphy (North East) by almost a bowl of odds in the Junior C championship at the Bog Road.

Kieran and Noel Gould beat Christy Mullins and John Shorten by three bowls of odds in the Festival of the Bard at the Pike. The Gould’s were always in control. They had a bowl at White’s cross, two at the bridge and close to three at Draper’s. Shorten cancelled out the losses by beating Noel Gould in the last shot of a great return score.

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