Calnan’s fine finish sees off O’Driscoll in new year opener

WAYNE CALNAN got 2011 off to a perfect start by beating Johnny O’Driscoll by almost a bowl in the opening score of the Mother Hegarty Cup at Lyre at the weekend.

O’Driscoll had a 20 metre lead after two good bowls to the forestry entrance. He missed a chance to increase his odds in the next two shots. Calnan then got a brilliant fifth shot which O’Driscoll took two shots to beat by 40m. It was still close to a bowl after the next exchange towards the hump. Calnan raised the bowl with his next to Crowley’s.

O’Driscoll knocked the bowl with his shot from there. Calnan made poor light with his next and O’Driscoll levelled the score with a great bowl to the concrete. He regained the lead after two more shots to McCarthy’s bend. Calnan hit back with two brilliant bowls from the bend that pushed him almost a bowl clear. O’Driscoll saved the bowl in the last shot.

All-Ireland champion Martin Coppinger won the feature score of the RNLI benefit at Castletownbere against Aidan Murphy. Murphy opened with a great bowl, but didn’t take advantage of a slip by Coppinger with his second. They were locked together after that and both passed the line in 12, but Coppinger won it with a measured last throw.

Eamon Bowen Jnr had a double in the earlier scores. In the first he beat Christy Mullins by a bowl and followed that with a win over John Creedon.

Aidan Murphy bounced back from defeat by beating James O’Donovan by two bowls in the O’Connell-Dullea Cup at Ballygurteen.

O’Donovan won the first tip, but Murphy went almost a bowl in front with a great second to light. He raised a bowl with his third and held it with an equally good fourth past the women’s lane. O’Donovan completely misplayed his sixth to fall two bowls behind. That lead shaped the rest of the score.

Gary Daly confirmed his senior status with a good win over Christy Mullins at Bantry. He led all the way and raised a bowl after four shots to the rocks. Mullins missed a chance to close the gap with his bowl from Hurley’s cross. Daly then played three impeccable bowls on the narrow road to win by well over a bowl.

Later Johnny Murphy beat Tim Young in the last shot of a brilliant score. He raised a bowl with his fourth to the rocks, but Young levelled the score again. There was nothing between them to the finish with Murphy just edging it.

John Creedon got a last shot verdict in a three-way finish to the Kealkill Cup semi-final. Wayne Calnan who deputised for James Buckley finished second with Donal Riordan third.

The North-East Christmas tournament finals were played at Bottlehill on New Year’s Day. Father and son, Joe and Liam Walsh, won the Dairypower Cup against Pat Scanlon and Dan Neally. Shane Lotty was forced off the winning team which meant that Eamon Bowen Jnr had to forfeit his place with Scanlon and Neally because of the pairing system.

Liam Walsh’s bowling proved decisive. He opened with a brilliant bowl to the forestry, which raised a bowl. He raised a second bowl with an equally good third shot. Scanlon and Neally brought the lead back to a bowl at the bridge, but the Walsh’s had too much power.

In the O’Mahony’s Bar Cup final, brothers Mick and Eddie Cahill joined forces with Eoin O’Keeffe to beat Jerry O’Donovan, Alan Daly and Ted Lyons by two bowls. They started well to raise a bowl after four shots. They were two in front at the bridge. O’Donovan’s team cut the odds to the farmhouse, but the winners pulled away again.

Cousins Sean Twomey and Eoin Riordan had a double in the East Cork winter tournament finals. Twomey beat Willie O’Donoghue by a bowl in the Christy Coleman Cup final at Cloyne and Riordan beat Johnny Walsh in the Paddy Hennessy Cup final at Clashmore.

Twomey opened with a great bowl to light at Cloyne and pushed a bowl clear after two more. O’Donoghue closed the gap in the next shot, but Twomey pushed almost a bowl in front again at the big corner. He might have been three clear but he missed the no-play line. He eased up from there but won comfortably by a bowl.

Riordan led all the way too at Clashmore. He was at the big house in four where he had a bowl of odds. He had two bowls at the pylon and was almost three clear at the last cross.

William O’Driscoll beat Stephen Desmond in a tremendous last shot score at Ballinacurra. Desmond led the early shots, but missed a chance to consolidate his lead from Foley’s. They were level at the bridge but O’Driscoll raised a bowl with two great bowls to Cronin’s avenue. Desmond rallied in the closing shots to bring the lead well under a bowl. Darren Oliver comfortably beat Johnny Murphy in the return score.

Former Ulster senior bowler Mick O’Reilly died in Limerick at the weekend. He moved south a few decades ago and was a regular figure at all major scores on the Munster circuit.

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