Dan O’Halloran edged out John Shorten in the last shot of the Ballinacurra final, with Cian Boyle a bowl off the pace in third.
They were in a 20m clutch after three to Brinny cross, with Shorten first and Boyle third. Shorten held the edge on O’Halloran in two more to the waterworks, Boyle was 50m off the pace. Boyle closed the gap with a great sixth past the gas and O’Halloran displaced Shorten for the lead.
Boyle increased the pressure with his next, cutting O’Halloran’s lead to 20 and pushing Shorten to third. After the next exchange Boyle had the lead down to just five metres. Shorten recovered with a good bowl to the GAA, to level with Boyle. O’Halloran consolidated his lead by making sight.
Shorten then played a sensational bowl past Innishannon cross. Boyle only reached the cross. O’Halloran made the novice line to keep a commanding lead and Boyle missed that to fall a bowl behind. Shorten kept in touch with a good bowl to just short of sight. At the start of the straight O’Halloran had a bowl on Boyle. He was throwing odds over Shorten, but only beat his tip by 70m.
Shorten got a good bowl to Cronin’s avenue, which O’Halloran beat well. He raised the ante with another great bowl to sight at the last bend. O’Halloran beat that by 70m for the last shot. Shorten beat the line from there, but O’Halloran beat it well. Boyle didn’t get back in the frame.
Shorten will contest the BH Tree Services Tallow challenge against Mick Hurley next Sunday. While this is a standalone final, the winner also advances to the Séamus Murphy Cup final at Knockanore, with a chance of winning a place in the John Cronin Cup final.
Michael Murphy has already accomplished the first leg with an impressive win over Denis Cooney in the Padraig O’Brien Shield final at Castlelyons. He got the better of the first shot, but Cooney won the next two. Murphy regained the lead with a fast bowl past the power-station.
He raised a bowl before Broderick’s and had almost two after a huge bowl into the stile straight. He raised the second bowl in the shots to light. Cooney knocked the second bowl at ‘poll-na-muca’ and had it back to an even bowl at O’Riordan’s. Murphy killed the contest with another massive bowl from there to O’Shea’s.
Darren Oliver scorched up the road against Denis Murphy at Whitechurch. Murphy won the first three past the return line. Oliver got two good shots to the bottom of the hill to go well over a bowl clear. He played a rocket past Boula lane and raised a second bowl with his next. He was almost three clear at the top of the straight. He played another huge shot to the farm and Murphy conceded.
Cian Boyle bounced back from his defeat at Ballinacurra to snatch an unlikely last shot win over David Hubbard at Gortroe. Hubbard won the first two shots well, but both players’ form dipped from there. Hubbard held the lead past the novice line. Boyle then got a decent bowl to the layby, Hubbard hooked his reply and missed the tip. Hubbard just beat the line with his last and Boyle beat it well.
Sean O’Riordan beat David Hegarty at Derrinasafa, while Paul Walsh had a comfortable win over Maurice Connolly and Shane Collins in the Béal na Bláth semi-final.