Impressive Murphy advances at Carrigaline

Aidan Murphy completed the lineup for the Munster senior championship semi-finals when he beat Gary Daly by close to two bowls of odds in torrential rain at Carrigaline on Saturday.

He plays 2010 champion Martin Coppinger on Sunday, June 17. The other semi-final next Sunday between his brother David Coppinger and Christy Mullins is a repeat of last year’s final. The venues for both semi-finals will be decided at tonight’s national executive meet.

Conditions on Saturday were terrible. Despite that, Murphy was impressive. He won the opening shot by 30m. Daly made the bend with a sensational second but amazingly Murphy beat it comfortably to increase his lead. Daly fell a bowl of odds behind after two poor shots to Ashman’s. Murphy increased his lead up the straight and was almost two in front at the pump house. He played a brilliant bowl which Daly missed to fall a full two bowls of odds behind. Daly got a good next shot to cut the lead under two bowls again but could not get the big shot to get back in contention.

All-Ireland champion Conor McGuigan looks well placed to retain his Ulster title after another comprehensive win, this time over Paul Rafferty. He had a poor opening shot, but Rafferty didn’t take advantage. Rafferty played poorly to the planting corner where he was a bowl down. McGuigan heightened the intensity to Farley’s where he had a second bowl. He increased that to three bowls at the Condy corner. Not surprisingly he eased off after that, but still won by over a bowl.

Tony Carey and Jerry Murphy will contest the Munster Junior Veteran (over-50) final. Murphy beat Andy O’Callaghan by almost a bowl at Templemichael and Carey received a walkover in his semi-final from the injured Neilly Kelleher.

Murphy led all the way against O’Callaghan. He had close to a bowl after two, but O’Callaghan fought back to cut the odds to 40m. Murphy pushed clear on the straight to raise almost a bowl again. O’Callaghan finished with four great bowls, but Murphy kept control and beat the line with a big last shot.

In the Munster Novice section final Tony Dunlea beat James O’Leary by almost a bowl at the Phale Road on Monday. O’Leary led by almost a bowl after three. Dunlea hit back with three great bowls past Maybury’s and led at the triangle. He lost the lead through a mistake before the narrow road and saw O’Leary go 60m clear past the avenue. He responded with a massive bowl, which O’Leary just beat in two.

Mick Hurley qualified for the East Cork Junior A final when he beat Pa Butler in the last shot at Ballincurrig. His first bowl was unlucky, but he still dominated early shots and was almost a bowl in front after six to the no-play line. He increased his lead on to the long straight, but he made two mistakes before the big corner. Butler was level there and led for the first time at the sycamores. Butler’s last bowl was unlucky and Hurley won comfortably.

Brian Daly beat Martin Connolly in a seesaw Cork city Junior A semi-final at Waterfall. Daly got a big shot to the corner of the lawn and raised a bowl. Connolly then got a great bowl to Mehigan’s and Daly missed that in two to lose the lead. He was back in front at the senior bend and went almost a bowl ahead facing down to Dan Herlihy’s corner. Connolly levelled again with a massive bowl to Dan Herlihy’s, but fell a bowl behind again after two poor shots to Murphy’s farm. He recovered with a good bowl to the bungalow to cut the lead well under a bowl. It looked over when Daly got a great second last to the lane, but Connolly got a sensational last shot, which forced another big one from Daly.

Maurice Connolly beat Jerry O’Riordan in the Munster JBC at Kilcorney. He was a bowl in front after three to Cooney’s. He increased that to almost two bowls at Coleman’s bridge. O’Riordan cut the lead to a bowl and knocked it at Cullinane’s. Connolly raised the bowl on the long straight and held it to the finish.

In the Ulster intermediate championship Cathal Toal kept his hopes alive when he beat Thomas Mackle by less than a metre and Barry O’Reilly by three bowls at Knappagh. Mackle led by a bowl at Farley’s, but Toal got two incredible bowls to raise almost a bowl at the planting corner. Mackle rallied again but was denied in the last shot.

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