Murphy is aiming to regain the title he last held in 2015, a year he beat Thomas Mackle in the All-Ireland final at Port Mór/Blackwatertown.
He has been hampered by a series of injuries through his Munster campaign and was a lucky winner against James O’Donovan in the semi-final.
McDonagh is contesting his second successive senior final, losing to Martin Coppinger last year.
He contested three All-Ireland underage finals in a row, winning two, including the 2007 U16 final against Thomas Mackle. Sunday is a big chance to deliver on that promise as injury has Murphy operating below par.
Three Munster intermediate quarter-finals were decided last weekend with wins for Wayne Callanan, Éamon Bowen, and Raymond Ryan.
The fourth is next Saturday between Paul Buckley and Billy McAuliffe at Bweeng.
Callanan beat Donal Riordan by a bowl at Lyre. He won the first two shots. Riordan took the third, but Callanan won the next two to the tunnel. Two shots later Riordan took his second lead. Callanan regained the lead to Crowley’s bend and gained big odds with his following shot. He then made sight at McCarthy’s to raise a bowl.
Riordan got a brilliant bowl to the railing to cut the lead to 80m. His next was poor though and he handed almost a bowl to Callanan again. Callanan restored his bowl of odds in the following shot and there was no way back for Riordan.
Raymond Ryan set the pace against Paddy O’Donoghue at Clondrohid. He missed a chance to go a shot clear with his fourth. O’Donoghue kept in touch with a big shot to sight at the black house. Ryan beat that comfortably. O’Donoghue got a short one next and Ryan pushed his lead close to a bowl. O’Donoghue closed the gap, but a big shot to sight at Kelleher’s put Ryan a bowl clear again. He held that lead past the line.
Éamon Bowen beat Seán Murphy at Peake. They were level for the first four. Bowen got a great break with his fifth to take a big lead. Murphy levelled again with a super loft at the bridge. They were locked together to the end of the straight. Nothing significant happened in the series of bends, until Bowen got a big rub to light at the last bend and Murphy’s bowl hit a pole. Murphy couldn’t then get the line and Bowen beat it.
Conor McGuigan is through to the Ulster intermediate final against James Oliver. He beat Mark Toal by a bowl at Tullysaran. He won the opening shot, but Toal led after three and increased his odds with his fourth. A big fifth to the Orange Hall put McGuigan in control. He raised a bowl but didn’t push clear, though he bowled well from Knappagh angles to the line.
Ted Hegarty beat Paul O’Brien by two bowls in the Munster Veteran (Junior) final at Jagoes Mills.
O’Brien got a nice rub with his first to win his only lead. Hegarty made sight at O’Brien’s bend in four to lead by 60m. He held that lead to the end of the footpaths. He stretched his odds to almost a bowl to the railway line. He lost momentum with a poor shot from the the power station against a great shot from O’Brien, who cut the lead to 10 metres.
He increased his lead again towards Ballinvard cross. He then got a lucky bowl through the cross to the next bend, which put him a bowl clear. Another big bowl to Griffin’s pushed him two shots clear.
In the overall Munster final he plays Munster Veteran (Novice) champion David Walsh. The winner of that will contest the All-Ireland against either Joe Shortt or Paddy O’Neill who meet in the Ulster final on Friday. Shortt beat Jarlath Devlin by 10 metres at the Rock Road on Monday.
O’Neill comfortably beat Paul Grimley in the last shot of the other semi-final David Walsh beat PJ McCarthy at Berrings in the Munster (Novice) final. He struggled with a muscle injury in the early shots, but beat a big third throw from McCarthy to keep the lead under a bowl. He held off the bowl in the next four, but McCarthy raised it with his eighth.
Walsh turned the score with a super 12th shot. McCarthy missed it by 80m with his 11th and then missed it again by 25m to lose the lead for the first time. McCarthy’s next was poor too and now Walsh had close to a bowl. He completed an incredible comeback by beating the line.
In the Munster Junior A there were big wins for Cian Boyle and Denis O’Driscoll. John Cahalane advanced to the Munster semi-final with a big last shot from Dean Sexton at Baile Mhuirne. Denis Wilmot beat Brendan O’Neill in the semi-final of the Champy Deasy Cup at Grange.