SEAMUS O'TUAMA: Aidan Murphy’s late surge secures victory at Grange

Aidan Murphy’s early season form continues to impress following his late surge to deny Martin Coppinger in the Willie Whelton Cup at Grange.

He took time to settle, he was shy of the stud farm in four. Coppinger surged almost a bowl clear with his first four. Murphy engaged more fiercely from his sixth bowl which rubbed beautifully at Holland’s wall and made the novice line. Coppinger replied with a great bowl to sight facing Barry’s farm to keep a clear lead.

Murphy followed with a perfect seventh past de Barra’s. Coppinger did well with his reply, which rubbed the bank to keep him in a good lead. Murphy rubbed left with his next too and it went past the school. Coppinger beat this by 15m. They were at the big tree in three more, with Coppinger winning each to hold a 15m lead.

Murphy only beat Hodnett’s farm with his next. Coppinger missed a chance to increase his lead and beat it by just 20m. Murphy exploited that leniency with a sensational bowl past Hodnett’s bungalow. Coppinger played his reply left and missed that by 100m to concede the lead for the first time. Coppinger’s next was not great either and beat the tip by just 60m.

Murphy followed with another great bowl. Coppinger missed that tip to concede a bowl of odds. Coppinger missed sight with his next. Murphy put the issue beyond doubt with another big shot to the pub.

James O’Donovan had a big win over Thomas Mackle in the Noel Phair Cup at Shannonvale. His second shot over the brow gave him a good lead. Mackle was too tight left with his third and missed the tip to concede a bowl. Mackle followed with two good shots to the quarry to bring the lead under a bowl. O’Donovan was too tight left with his shot there and Mackle closed the gap with a good reply.

O’Donovan then made Kingston’s pillars. Again Mackle was too tight left and missed the tip fall a bowl behind. He then missed Desmond’s with his eighth shot. O’Donovan missed too, but his bowl was called.

He did better with his second attempt and reached full sight, which effectively put him two shots clear.

They contested the two bowl lead to Sam’s lane. O’Donovan’s next bowl unluckily broke left, but Mackle made no big gain as he played his to the right. O’Donovan had almost two bowls again after his next. He then made sight past Tobin’s to push his lead well over two bowls.

Former Irish youth international Eoin Healy is the first holder of the John Deasy Cup having beaten Barry O’Donovan at the Pike.

He won the first tip well with a super shot past the novice finish. O’Donovan levelled with a good second to the end of the footpath. Healy had 30m odds after the third. O’Donovan got a poor fourth shot. Healy got a great rub with his reply to raise big odds.

O’Donovan’s form dipped dramatically, taking three more to White’s Cross, while Healy made it in five to go two shots clear. They both struggled to find form in seven more each to Dreaper’s. They were facing the line in four more, with Healy holding two clear bowls of odds.

The Ulster Junior C championship kicked off last weekend on the Cathedral Road with a view to getting the grade completed ahead of the All-Ireland series in Boston.

Eoin Hughes has the honour of being the first winner in Championship 2018 having beaten Paul McKeever in the opening score. McKeever made the better start and streaked almost two shots clear to Campbell’s well. Hughes levelled in the shots to McGrath’s and they were still level at the coal sheds. Hughes was far more economical down the cuttings at Brannigan’s and won by a bowl.

Kieran Rock’s strong finish saw him beat Chris McCann by two. He got a brilliant opening shot, but McCann levelled to Campbell’s well. McCann got a poor shot from there, but followed with a super bowl to McGrath’s height to cut the odds to 30m.

McCann made a mistake with his next to Starr’s hill. Rock’s hit back with a rocket to the McVeigh memorial to raise a bowl. He was two clear at the coal sheds and romped home.

Conor Gribben beat Colm Doran in the third Junior C tie while Thomas Boyle beat John Young by almost a bowl in a super score at Ballinacurra.

  • Sincere sympathies to the family of Noel Moloney, former Mid-Cork secretary and a leading authority on bowling, who died suddenly last week.


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