David Murphy beat Martin Coppinger in the last shot of a Mother Hegarty Cup tie at Lyre.
Coppinger reached the end of the forestry gate in two to hold a decent lead. Murphy followed with a great third shot to take a 35m lead. They both missed the tunnel with their fourth, Coppinger blowing his one right and Murphy going left, but Murphy held his advantage. Murphy got a great bowl from there to Crowley’s bungalow to increase his lead.
Coppinger’s situation got worse when he only made Crowley’s wall with his next. Murphy went close to Crowley’s bend with his and Coppinger missed it to fall a bowl behind. Murphy led by just under a bowl in the next two. He then missed sight at McCarthy’s and Coppinger went out and was back in contention. After Murphy’s next throw to the high wall, he had 80m odds.
Coppinger closed the gap further with a good throw to the big tree. His next was not as impressive though and Murphy pushed his lead out to 80m again. Coppinger got the better of the second last shots to bring the lead back to 50m. He now needed a big one to put pressure on Murphy. He drove his bowl left though, and just beat the line, handing victory to Murphy.
Their focus will quickly start to move to the Munster senior championship following the annual grading, which saw the grade pruned back to 10 players. It’s now a lot slimmer and looks set to be highly competitive. Murphy, as defending champion, and Coppinger will be among the main fancies, but with a tight competitive group like this nothing is simple.
Arthur McDonagh who contested the last two Munster finals and was very impressive in reaching the 2018 King of the Roads final could be in the shakeup again. James O’Donovan, who took David Murphy to the last shot in last year’s semi-final and former champion Aidan Murphy have shown impressive form between the two seasons.
You then add to the mix Killian Kingston, who was champion in 2016, Gary Daly who came very close against David Murphy at Macroom in 2015 and Éamon Bowen winner of the 2018 Munster intermediate title. If all of these eight are fully fit and focused then 2019 could be a very exciting year.
Séamus Sexton and Michael Harrington may struggle in this company and might have been happier stepping down to intermediate. That championship has 18 players. Some are former top seniors like James Buckley, with 2018 Junior A champion John O’Rourke and Jimmy O’Driscoll the only players moving up.
Denis O’Driscoll led all the way to a comfortable bowl of odds win over David O’Mahony in the JJ Murphy Cup at Bauravilla. He capitalised on a poor opener from O’Mahony to take the first tip by 50m. O’Mahony played a brilliant second towards Robin’s cross to cut the lead to two metres. O’Driscoll quickly pushed clear again. He made the netting in two, against three for O’Mahony, to stretch his lead to a bowl.
He held the bowl past Dekker’s. O’Mahony then got two good throws to the rock, while O’Driscoll missed it with a relatively easy shot.
This left the lead under a bowl. O’Driscoll was immediately on the offensive with a great shot from there. He edged close to a bowl of odds again to the bridge. He got a super shot from there to take his lead 50m over a bowl. He followed with two more big shots to push his lead close to a second bowl.
Vincent Kiely beat Terry Mallon in the last shot on the Cúil Aodha road at Baile Mhuirne. They both started brilliantly. They were out sight in one and they reached de Róiste’s in three more, with Kiely just fore. He continued to raise odds in the following shots, but two mistakes cost him the lead at the chalets. He regained the lead and led by 80m at the last bend. Mallon then produced a sensational bowl that missed the line by just 10 metres. Kiely held firm though and beat the line with a good reply.
Tom O’Donovan closed with a big shot at Derrinasafa to snap a last-shot win from Muiris Buttimer while Shane Lotty beat Mick Hurley in the last shot at Carraig na bhFear.
Declan O’Mahony gave a sensational display back Derrinasafa, reaching Foxey’s lane in seven to easily beat Eoin Murray. Donal Crowley beat Alan Keane in the last shot of a brilliant score at Bauravilla.