O’Donovan clinches place in decider

BRIAN O’DONOVAN led from start to finish to beat Mick O’Driscoll (M) in the Murphy’s Stout Munster Junior A final at Caheragh on Saturday evening.

The win secures him a place in the All-Ireland final against Malachy Lappin at Ballincurrig on July 5.

His first shot was not great but it gave him the first lead. That trend continued. He took a tighter grip on the score when he rose a bowl of odds with his shot past the church.

He increased that to a second bowl with a good throw from Lisangle cross. He continued to pile on the odds and was close to three in front at the three-quarter mark.

O’Driscoll gradually whittled down the odds. He had the lead under two bowls at Shiely’s and the odds was back to a bowl facing the line. He played a good last shot but O’Donovan beat it well to hold his bowl of odds.

Malachy Lappin was hot favourite for the Ulster title too, but he struggled to break clear of Brian Kinchin.

He started well to take the first two shots. Lappin cut the odds in the shots to McGrath’s heights.

A good rub with his bowl up Starr’s Hill put Lappin back in front. He held the lead to Brannigan’s where Kinchin edged clear again.

Lappin got a good rub with his next shot to regain the lead and wrapped the score up with a super drive past Rowntree’s line which gave him a bowl of odds which he held to the line.

Harry Toal was the surprise packet in the Ulster intermediate final where he overwhelmed hot favourite Martin Toal. John Shorten will still be fancied to take his second intermediate crown after his clear win over Patrick Moynihan on Sunday.

The line-up for the first All-Ireland series is a lot clearer following last weekend’s scores north and south.

Apart from the intermediate and junior finals, the pairing are now confirmed for both the boys under-12 and under-14 finals. Thomas Mackle, nephew of Michael Toal, plays Killian Kingston at under-12 and Stephen McCann plays Thomas Buckley at under-14.

The Ulster senior women’s representative is Dervla Toal, who plays the winner of tomorrow night’s Munster final between Catriona O’Farrell and Carmel Ryan.

At under-18, Keely Mallon plays either Helen White or Martina Foley. Thomas Mackle put in a good performance in beating Sean Shortt in the last shot of the Ulster under-12 final.

Stephen McCann looked impressive in win over Declan Mallon in the under-14 final. At 13, Keely Mallon was a surprise winner over Fiona McQuaid in the girls under-18 final.

Both Munster senior semi-finals will be played next weekend. Defending champion James Buckley, still defying injury, is favoured to beat PJ Cooney in the first semi-final at Donoughmore on Saturday afternoon.

In normal circumstances he would be the hottest of favourites, but as Patrick Moynihan discovered last Sunday, an injury can quickly change the direction of a score.

At Lyre, Christy Mullins will be just as hotly fancied to dismiss Edmund Sexton. Mullins should have too much class and experience for Sexton at this level.

Eddie Carr and Conor McGuigan face each other in a novel Ulster senior final on Sunday.

Carr has the speed and class for the top rank, but he will find McGuigan has a steel edge to his bowling that makes him hard to beat.

Michael O’Leary had a surprise two bowls of odds win over Seamus Sexton in the Jerry Desmond Cup at Doneraile.

The Munster Junior B championship moves up a gear at the weekend with two attractive ties. James Cooney (Gaeltacht) hopes to inspire his brother PJ, when he takes on Finbarr Fitzpatrick (Carbery) at the Clubhouse.

The tie of the weekend is, perhaps, the meeting of Vincent Kiely (North Cork) and Paul Buckley (Mid Cork) at Whitechurch.

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