SEAMUS O'TUAMA: David Murphy pips James O’Donovan in Munster thriller

David Murphy

David Murphy beat James O’Donovan in the last shot of an enthralling, top class Munster senior semi-final at Béal na mBláth on Sunday.

O’Donovan set the early pace with two big shots to the water to go close to a bowl clear. He had 100m after his third. Murphy closed the gap with his next two past Shorten’s cross, but O’Donovan was almost a bowl clear again after a massive seventh to Long’s lane. He raised a bowl with his next. He then beat a huge bowl from Murphy past Twohig’s to hold his bowl of odds.

Murphy followed with an incredible 11th shot past the garage. O’Donovan reached the novice line with a good reply, but he was 30m hind.

Despite this he had a 90m lead after his next into the big corner. Murphy increased the pressure with a smashing 12th to the end of the bend. O’Donovan’s reply was a shade unlucky and beat that by just 30m.

Murphy’s purple patch continued with a ripping bowl past the junior line. O’Donovan’s reply was left of the sop and missed it by 40m to concede the lead for the first time. O’Donovan’s next fell right.

Murphy had a chance to seal it, but played his bowl to the right too and missed sight. O’Donovan followed with a big one to the end of the wind and he cut Murphy’s lead to a metre.

O’Donovan raised the ante with a super second last to the layby. Murphy’s reply lacked conviction, it drifted left and missed O’Donovan’s tip by 50m. Murphy delivered his last bowl well on the centre of the road, but it fell left. The shot looked well within O’Donovan’s compass, but he played too far right and missed the tip by 20m.

Murphy now plays Arthur McDonagh in the Munster final at Grenagh on July 1. The Ulster final will be between Cathal Toal and Thomas Mackle. Toal came through at Knappagh against Paul O’Reilly in a semi-final that never really reached the pitch expected. Martin Toal conceded to his nephew, Thomas Mackle, ahead of their scheduled semi-final.

Cathal Toal won the opening shot, but lost the lead in the second. O’Reilly stayed with him to Farley’s where the lead was just 30m. Toal raised a bowl with his tenth shot, but had to produce a big one to the Condy corner to stay in front.

He pushed a bowl clear to Grimley’s, but had chances to be further clear. He got two poor shots to the lime kilns and O’Reilly knocked the bowl. O’Reilly bowled poorly from there and conceded before the line.

Cian Boyle beat Craig Moynihan in the Cork City final at Templemichael.

Celebrations were cut short though with the sudden death of Brian Daly a few hours after the final. Daly, who was Moynihan’s roadshower on the night, was a top class bowler. He won the All-Ireland u18 final in 2001. He was a much loved and respected bowler and a son of the great Bill Daly.

Moynihan went a bowl clear after four. Boyle levelled with a big shot onto the straight, but didn’t lead till his 12th to sight before the novice line. Moynihan regained the lead with a good bowl past the novice line. Boyle won a decisive advantage with a big bowl to sight at the last bend.

Denis O’Driscoll beat his cousin Denis Cronin in the West Cork final at Ardcahan. He raised almost a bowl with a big shot to sight and raised it with his fourth. He had well over a bowl at Dixon’s. Cronin cut the odds with a brilliant shot to Croke’s. O’Driscoll had close to two bowls at sight past Healy’s. Cronin played two big shots towards the line to knock the bowl.

O’Driscoll will play John O’Donoghue in the opening round of the Munster championship at Crookstown on Friday. Injury has prevented Ian Callanan contesting the South West final against his uncle, Pat.

Jimmy O’Driscoll beat James Nagle in the Carbery final at the Marsh Road. Nagle had a 70m lead after two to the factories. His form dipped to the council yard, where O’Driscoll had a bowl of odds. He had close to two at the steps. Nagle lost more ground to Ballyhilty corner.

Ted Hegarty will play Paul O’Brien in the Munster Veteran (Junior) final at Jagoes Mills on Friday. Hegarty beat JC Desmond by a bowl at Ballinacarriga. They shared the lead in a blistering opening. Hegarty was 15m fore after six to Finn’s. Desmond raised almost a bowl, but Hegarty took over after a big shot to the Pitch road.

David Walsh and PJ McCarthy meet in the Munster Veteran (Novice) final. Walsh held on for a last shot win at Ballinacurra despite two brilliant shots towards the line from Connie Connolly. McCarthy had an even closer call from Dan O’Regan at Macroom. He played a big last shot, from hind bowl, which O’Regan missed by a few centimetres.

In the Munster Junior B championship, Bryan O’Halloran beat Ger Connolly in the last shot at Derrinasafa. At Firmount, Michael O’Leary beat Jerry O’Riordan in the last shot.

Senior champion Carmel Ryan will play Aileen Murphy in the Munster semi-final at Jagoes Mills, Emma Fitzpatrick and Meghan Collins meet at The Clubhouse. The Intermediate final between Veronica O’Mahony and Maria Nagle is at Grenagh.

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