SEAMUS O'TUAMA: Aidan Murphy and Cathal Toal stay in hunt for Joe McVeigh Cup

Aidan Murphy

Aidan Murphy and Cathal Toal secured their places in next month’s Joe McVeigh Cup semi-final following good wins on the Newtownhamilton Road at Tassagh, Armagh on Sunday.

Murphy beat his brother David, having beaten Martin Coppinger on Saturday. David Murphy beat James O’Donovan. 

Cathal Toal beat Paul O’Reilly in a very competitive quarter-final on Sunday morning. 

Toal plays defending champion Thomas Mackle in the first semi-final and Aidan Murphy meets Munster champion Killian Kingston in the second semi-final on Easter Saturday.

Toal got a stern test from Paul O’Reilly. He got the better of two good opening shots by 20m. He then beat a great second from O’Reilly to O’Hanlon’s lane. O’Reilly went close to Twynam’s with a good third, but Toal beat it. 

O’Reilly’s fourth fell left at Twynam’s, but Toal missed it to concede the lead. He regained the lead with a big shot up Gallogly’s height.

O’Reilly played a great bowl to the creamery lane. Toal was lucky to miss that by just 20m thanks to a rub. 

Toal followed with a blistering bowl up Dooley’s brae, but O’Reilly defiantly beat it by a metre. 

Toal’s next was another top shot to the flax hole. O’Reilly made an error with his reply, which got caught at the top of the ‘Daddy’s height’, well hind.

He recovered with two big shots to McCann’s to cut the lead to just 20m. He got a poor shot from there and Toal punished him with a perfect bowl down to the carnival gates. 

Toal followed with three more good bowls to McKee’s wall where he was almost a bowl clear.

He drove his next one to the bridge. O’Reilly needed a huge reply, but was too tight left and missed it well. He missed the line with his next and Toal pushed his bowl within a few metres of it to win by well over a bowl.

In the battle of the Murphys, David went almost a bowl clear at Twynam’s. He held the lead close to a bowl to the creamery lane. He got a poor shot from there and Aidan levelled. 

Aidan then got five incredible bowls from McGeown’s to McKee’s wall. He made McCann’s in the first two and reached the wall in the next three to go almost a bowl clear.

He had it sealed after a great 15th shot into the bridge that jumped the parapet. This left a clear bowl between them as David’s 16th also ended in the river.

Aidan Murphy finished strongly against Martin Coppinger.

Coppinger won the opening tip well. Murphy closed the gap with a good second, but Coppinger drove a shot clear with two super bowls to Twynam’s.

He held that lead to Gallogly’s height. He missed the creamery lane in two and Murphy was back in contention. 

Coppinger missed McCann’s corner in three more and Murphy had the lead well under a bowl. 

Coppinger was just at the creamery stand in another three. Murphy reached McKee’s wall in the same number to push almost a bowl clear. He made the bridge with his next to take his lead over a bowl to end the contest.

David Murphy beat James O’Donovan by a bowl. His big third shot ensured that he’d reach Twynam’s in four to go a shot in front. He raised the bowl with his next and held it to the creamery lane.

O’Donovan brought the lead well under a bowl with a super shot to the flax hole. He had a chance to level to McCann’s, but he missed sight. Murphy controlled the rest of the score. He won the last exchange to win by a bowl.

Jerry Gibbons beat Denis O’Driscoll comfortably in the Bill Barrett Cup semi-final at Caheragh. He opened with a brilliant shot, which gave him almost a bowl of odds as O’Driscoll blew both of his right. 

Gibbons had a full bowl after his second to Lisangle cross. O’Driscoll’s fourth broke left and now he was almost two bowls adrift.

Gibbons raised the second bowl with his fourth and held it to Reenroe cross. O’Driscoll brought the lead under two bowls before Sheily’s. 

Gibbons restored it with his next and followed with another big one to put the contest out of reach.

Donncha O’Brien beat Kieran Murphy in the John-Joe Murphy Cup at Bauravilla while Thomas and Cian Boyle completed a father-son double at Templemichael.


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