James O’Donovan switches code to advance in Phair Cup

James O’Donovan continued a phenomenal string of sporting successes by defeating Thomas Mackle in the semi-final of the Noel Phair Cup at Shannonvale.
James O’Donovan switches code to advance in Phair Cup

Last month O’Donovan was a key player for Bandon GAA in their Cork intermediate championship double in hurling and football. This win is above the ordinary too as Mackle has won virtually every domestic competition of significance in the past year, including the All-Ireland senior final and two editions of the King of the Roads.

This was not an easy win. They were locked together on eight each to Desmond’s. Mackle then hit a purple patch. He got a brilliant bowl to Sam’s Lane followed by a great bowl from there over the rise to push him well over a bowl of odds clear. O’Donovan reduced the deficit with a brilliant bowl to Campbell’s, but he lost ground again with a poor shot to the novice line.

Mackle presented him with a sliver of hope when he played a poor 15th. O’Donovan exploited this with a perfectly executed second last towards the finish line. That shot gave him the lead and he beat Mackle’s last bowl to advance to the final.

He can expect an equally stern test in next month’s final against Martin Coppinger, who is enjoying an impressive run of victories. His latest conquest was Aidan Murphy, by well over a bowl at Ballinacurra.

Coppinger was ruthless in exploiting Murphy’s slack opening. A huge bowl to Brinny Cross, followed by two more great bowls to the nooks, put him well over two bowls clear. Murphy found better form to the GAA field where he had the lead well under two bowls. Coppinger kept his grip on the contest and closed it out with over a bowl to spare.

Brian Wilmot forced his way to the Johnny Holland Cup final at Bauravilla when he closed with two super shots against All-Ireland intermediate champion Gavin Twohig.

Twohig won the first tip with a great bowl. Wilmot levelled after getting a nice touch with his shot to Robin’s cross. They both struggled to the bridge. Twohig then got a super shot into the lag to take a big lead with the line in sight. Wilmot shaved the lead with a great second last and closed with another big one.

Vincent Kiely beat Thomas Boyle in the last shot at Lyre. He led by 60m after three to the forestry. Boyle’s next two were too far left and Kiely extended his lead to a bowl of odds. Boyle bounced back with two good shots past the tunnel. That cut Kiely’s odds to 60m under a bowl and after his next his lead was just 50m.

They took two more to reach Crowley’s bend and now Kiely’s lead was just two metres. Boyle failed to get past McCarthy’s and when Kiely made sight he had eased almost a bowl clear again. Just as quickly it was back in play as Kiely missed sight with his next and Boyle went out.

Kiely got back on track after a great rub with his next. Boyle closed the gap again with a good shot to the rose bed. Kiely came out best in the next exchange and beat the line in two more to keep a comfortable lead.

Mick Hurley bowled impressively at Derrinasafa to beat Dan O’Halloran in the Marshall Clarke Cup. They were locked together after six each to Ross’s.

Hurley scorched to the Darkwood turn in three more to raise a bowl. He got three more brilliant bowls from there to take his lead to two bowls of odds.

In the Josie Crean Cup at Whitechurch there were wins for Johnny O’Driscoll and Michael Murphy. O’Driscoll beat Terry Sexton by a bowl in his tie. Murphy scorched to the line in 15 shots to beat Jimmy O’Driscoll by a bowl. Both repeated their wins in the return scores.

Jerome O’Mahony won the Munster Vintage (over-60) B final at Macroom, where he beat David Walsh by over a bowl, while Daniel Murphy won the Vintage C final at Crookstown, beating Gerry Connolly with the last shot.

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