SEAMUS O'TUAMA: Coppinger advances to meeting with Butler

Martin Coppinger beat Aidan Murphy in the last shot of a brilliant three-way Munster championship play-off at Skibbereen on Sunday — with James O’Donovan third.

Apart from injecting much needed adrenalin into the 2012 campaign, it wins Coppinger a quarter-final meeting with Pat Butler at The Mons. Murphy is drawn against Gary Daly at Carrigaline. O’Donovan is out of the 2012 race, but will have little time to dwell on it as he departed yesterday with the Ireland team for next weekend’s European Championships in Italy.

Murphy shaded the first tips from Coppinger and O’Donovan. That order was reversed when O’Donovan took the lead after a great third to temporarily push Murphy back to third. Murphy regained the lead and odds of 30m with his fourth — Coppinger was now last.

Murphy increased his lead to 50m with a great bowl to the council yard gate. He then got a massive shot to the silvery gate to go a bowl and 30m clear of O’Donovan, with Coppinger a further 30m back. Coppinger matched those two shots with two titans of his own to the steps. The first knocked the bowl and the second put him 20m fore. O’Donovan’s form dipped in the same section and he fell over two bowls behind.

Murphy and Coppinger made Ballyhilty in two more, where Murphy was just fore with O’Donovan still two behind. From there it was about the leading two, even if the tempo dropped through the wood. Coppinger gained a valuable 30m advantage following a rub at the bridge, but missed a chance to increase his lead at Collins’.

Murphy then played a brilliant second last bowl, which Coppinger did well to beat by 20m. Murphy followed with a scintillating last bowl that beat the line by 40m and left Coppinger with a big test. He met the challenge with a perfect shot and beat the tip by 20m.

Peadar Toal blew hot and cold in his win over Brian O’Reilly in the Ulster senior championship. O’Reilly was understandably rusty having just returned from Australia, but Toal took a while to get his measure. He eventually led by a bowl at Farley’s, but lost most of his lead in two poor shots from there. He regained control though and to go two clear at Grimley’s and had it over at the Limekilns.

GAA President Liam O’Neill will launch the Michael Cusack Cup at Croke Park on Monday as part of the International Hurling Festival in Thurles in July. Cusack was a strong proponent of bowling and ensured that it was part of the newly founded GAA in 1884.

Seamus Sexton and Trevor O’Meara had good wins in the Munster Intermediate championship at Gaeltacht venues.

Sexton beat Donal Riordan by almost a bowl at Cluain Droichead, while O’Meara beat Johnny O’Driscoll at Réidh na nDoirí.

At Réidh na nDoirí O’Driscoll had almost a bowl after two to Ring’s cross, but he misplayed his third bowl. O’Meara got two big bowls from O’Connell’s lane to go almost a bowl in front. O’Driscoll levelled after O’Meara made a mistake at the rock. O’Meara regained control towards the novice line, but really killed the contest with two exceptional last throws.

Aidan Hurley is West Cork Junior A champion following a last shot win over Tim Young at Drinagh. He won the early tips, but Young edged the shots to the Black Stick. He raised a bowl when he made Shandrum Cross following a big loft and held it to the ‘barking dogs’.

Hurley finished with two massive shots. Young missed the first by ten metres. He bounced back with a brilliant last bowl to the end of the railing, but Hurley defied the odds and beat it by 30m.

Kieran O’Driscoll beat Ian Callanan by almost two bowls in the South West final at Fisher’s Cross. There was little in it till Callanan missed light at the bridge and O’Driscoll went out. Callanan got a great loft there. But O’Driscoll raised a bowl after a good shot to Galley Head cross and another to light. A misdirected loft at the last bend ended Callanan’s challenge.

At Ballincurrig Terry Sexton finished strongly to beat Michael Wall by a bowl in the East Cork Junior B final. Dave Dennis had a clear win over Wayne Kingston in the Junior A round-robin series at the same venue.

In Carbery Tony O’Sullivan beat Pat O’Donovan in the Junior B final at Bauravilla. In Junior A Michael Crowley had a bowl of odds win over Liam O’Sullivan at the Marsh Road.

Terry Mallon and Patrick Moynihan contest the Gaeltacht Junior A final, following Mallon’s win over Noel Murphy. In Junior B Brendan O’Callaghan beat Jerry O’Riordan at Baile Mhuirne to force the series to a tiebreaker.


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