John O’Rourke books place in cup final with strong finish as Jimmy O’Driscoll fades

John O’Rourke maintained his top form at the Pike where he beat Jimmy O’Driscoll by a bowl in the semi-final of the Seán Leahy Cup.
John O’Rourke books place in cup final with strong finish as Jimmy O’Driscoll fades

O’Driscoll shaded the first two big bowls past Cooke’s.

O’Rourke won the next, and they both reached White’s Cross in a very impressive four throws.

But O’Driscoll made a mistake with his sixth, and O’Rourke pounced with a great bowl to the end of the bridge, which O’Driscoll beat by a metre with his seventh.

O’Rourke lost momentum when he missed Dreaper’s with his next. O’Driscoll made no mistake with his and, after two more, had the lead back to 50m following another slip by O’Rourke. O’Driscoll followed with a good bowl to the novice line, which O’Rourke just missed to concede the lead.

O’Rourke bounced back instantly with a brilliant 12th shot, which put him 50m clear again.

He closed it out with a strong finish, while O’Driscoll got two poor shots to fall a bowl behind.

Peter Nagle consolidated his position in the Cork City Junior A championship. He beat Thomas Boyle in the last shot at Templemichael to record his second win from two starts.

He reached the farm with two good throws.

Boyle took three to concede an early bowl of odds. Nagle followed with two more good bowls to the start of the straight to push his lead to almost two bowls.

Boyle rallied with two great bowls to Sarsfield’s Court cross to bring the lead under a bowl.

He whittled the lead back to 40m at the bend before the novice line. He continued to press and was well-placed after opening the last bend. Nagle’s reply got a very lucky rub and missed the line by just ten metres. Boyle closed with a good bowl, but Nagle had too much odds.

The Ulster senior championship draws were made this week. It will be a straight knockout, with all scores fixed for Tullysaran.

Champion Thomas Mackle will be confident of getting past James Oliver when he opens his defence. Mackle is the top Ulster player, while Oliver would be expected to struggle at this level.

On the downside it could be a banana skin as Mackle will be an unbackable favourite over a road that will not necessarily benefit the stronger player.

The other three quarter-finals look more finely balanced. Cathal Toal will be hoping to progress at senior level in 2016, but he faces a serious obstacle in his opening round against former champion Eddie Carr. The clash of Conor McGuigan and Martin Toal is equally difficult to call. Cousins Bryan and Paul O’Reilly meet in the fourth quarter-final. This too could go either way.

Ardcahan hosted two full days of action.

On Sunday, Billy McAuliffe beat Denis O’Driscoll by two bowls. They were close for the first four, but McAuliffe got a great fifth past O’Farrell’s to go a bowl clear. O’Driscoll knocked the bowl at the grotto and followed with a big bowl to cut the lead to just 60m after six. He lost all his gains with his next and McAuliffe quickly broke clear to win by two bowls.

On Saturday, Séamus Sexton beat Dónal Riordan by almost a bowl. Riordan got a great opener but fell almost a bowl down in the shots to O’Farrell’s. Sexton had a full bowl at the grotto, but Riordan regained the lead with a sensational bowl to the shop.

Sexton got a perfect rub at Ardcahan cross to burst clear again, he held on from there to win by almost a bowl.

Brendan O’Neill beat David O’Mahony in the last shot in the Marshall Clarke Cup at Derrinasafa. O’Mahony won the first nine shots to the Darkwood turn. O’Neill won the lead with his next up the rise and seemed to have it under control facing the line. He surprisingly missed the line with his second last. O’Mahony snatched the reprieve with a great bowl which O’Neill beat by two metres.

David Shannon closed with two massive bowls to beat Donie Harnedy by almost a bowl in the Carbery Junior B championship at Bauravilla.

Harnedy was a bowl in front at the netting. Shannon knocked the bowl and won the lead with his shot from the rock. He was well clear at the bridge and increased his lead to the line.

Eugene Kiernan beat Seán Donnelly in the last shot in the Bill Hillock Cup at Knappagh. Donnelly shaded things to Farley’s. He lost the lead with his next, but recovered to go 100m clear at the plum trees.

He was still fore facing the Condy corner. Kiernan opened the bend with a good shot. Donnelly missed, which made it impossible for him to beat the line.

Conor McGuigan bowled well to beat Cathal Toal by two bowls at the same venue Davey Fitzgerald led all the way to a two bowls of odds win over Michael Murphy at Donoughmore. He raised and conceded odds till he reached the straight and then quickly put the score out of reach.

The Irish squads had a Dutch Moors and German Lofting session at Inchydoney strand on Sunday.

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