Mullins finishes with a flourish

CHRISTY MULLINS won the opening round of the Con Kelleher-Dan Hurley Cup with a convincing win over James O’Donovan at Drimoleague.

He won the opening tip well and then beat a big shot from O’Donovan with his second through Caheragh cross. O’Donovan beat that by just 50m with his third. Mullins quickly turned that lead into a bowl of odds with two good bowls to light at the bottom of the hill. It was just under a bowl at the lane.

O’Donovan won his first lead with a great bowl to the middle of the straight, taking advantage of a dip in Mullins’ form. He then won the next three throws to the farmhouse. Mullins didn’t get a great bowl down the hill towards the forge and O’Donovan looked set to tighten his grip. He stood too far to the right though and beat the tip by just five metres.

Mullins then hit him with a huge bowl to the forge to regain a 100m lead. O’Donovan beat that by just 40m with his next and Mullins ended the contest with a great bowl towards the line.

His opponent in next month’s Hurley’s of Midleton King of the Roads will be announced tonight. The six names going into the hat are Mullins and Gary Daly from the Mick Barry Cup, last year’s winner David Murphy and All-Ireland champion Conor McGuigan. Two very experienced continental stars, Dutch champion Robert Meijer and German champion Ralf Rocker, complete the line-up.

Wins for Denise Murphy and Catriona O’Farrell-Kidney in the Gretta Cormican Cup semi-finals completed the list of contestants for the Queen of the Roads. They join last year’s champion Kelly Mallon, Munster champion Carmel Ryan, Dutch champion Silke Tulk and German champion Fenja Frerichs.

Former World Youth Champion Denise Murphy beat Cork football star Juliet Murphy in the last shot of a sensational semi-final at Gortroe. She took an early lead with a good bowl to light, but missed Juliet’s great second to the end of the railing. They both made the bridge in five with Juliet still 30m fore. Denise got a great bowl to the end of the wood, but again Juliet had its measure.

Juliet missed a chance to push clear when she played her next bowl to the right. She held the lead to the white piers and on past the Well Bar despite intense pressure from Denise. The lead changed hands in the next exchange after Denise got a big bowl and Juliet played hers too far right.

She had 50m at the last bend. Juliet looked to have rescued her challenge when she got a great bowl past the cross. Unbelievably though Denise beat the line with an incredible last bowl.

Catriona Kidney was in command from the off against Lorraine Hurley at Killumney. She was a bowl in front after two brilliant opening throws and had a second bowl after three more shots to the bend before the cul-de-sac. She held that lead in two more to the cul-de-sac and raised a third bowl with another huge bowl from there. She continued to drive clear in the next three shots.

Brian Wilmot joins Thomas Mackle in the Jim O’Driscoll Cup (Cork) final after his last shot win over Arthur McDonagh at Ballincurrig. They will be joined by the winner of the David Hubbard-Billy McAuliffe semi-final on Saturday.

Wilmot led all the way. He was almost a bowl clear after three towards Geary’s and he raised it with a great fourth. McDonagh looked to have levelled the score after two great bowls to Heaphy’s, but he made a mistake with his next to concede the bowl again. Wilmot held that lead till he played his bowl onto the bank at the top of the long straight.

He regained the bowl in the next shots and held it to the end of the sycamores. McDonagh then got a great bowl onto the finishing straight. Wilmot missed light, but regained ground with a good bowl towards the line. McDonagh’s last bowl was not enough to force another bowl from Wilmot.

William O’Driscoll and Brendan O’Neill both had wins in the Jerry Desmond Cup. O’Driscoll was in brilliant form at Lyre where he easily beat Jerry Gibbons and O’Neill was impressive too at Kilbrittain in his win over John O’Rourke in the last shot.

At Lyre, O’Driscoll was a bowl clear after three great shots past the forestry. He followed with two good bowls over the hump and was just short of light at Crowley’s in two more where he had well over two bowls. He held that lead in ten shots to light at McCarthy’s. He continued to bowl strongly to the railings where he had a third bowl.

O’Neill opened with three great bowls at Kilbrittain to go a shot clear. He was just short of light at O’Mahony’s in five where the lead was just under a bowl. He raised the bowl with his next. O’Rourke turned the score with three great bowls towards the novice line that brought the odds down to 40m. He got another good bowl towards the long wall, but O’Neill beat it by 80m with a massive bowl. O’Rourke then missed the line and O’Neill beat it.

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