SEAMUS O'TUAMA: James Cooney steals the show with big win over Murphy

James Cooney was the star of the Munster Junior A action last weekend, beating Michael Murphy by three bowls after a scintillating 10 shot salvo at Whitechurch on Sunday.

That win gained him a semi-final spot. James Nagle is in the semi-final too after a good win over Eoin O’Riordan at Derrinasafa. Jerry Gibbons and Johnny O’Driscoll won the last two Munster slots. 

Gibbons beat John Young by a bowl in the West Cork final at Togher Cross and O’Driscoll won the South West final in the last shot against Ian Callanan at Grange.

At Whitechurch Murphy opened with a good bowl to the concrete, but Cooney beat it. Cooney reached the brow of the hill with a super second to push his lead to almost a bowl. 

He made light at the top of the hill with his third and Murphy missed that to concede a bowl of odds. Cooney was on the flat facing Boula Lane after a huge fourth which put him two bowls clear.

Murphy kept the lead in check with a great bowl towards Boula Lane. Cooney increased his odds with a great sixth past the lane and was almost three bowls clear after another three to the top of the straight. 

He played a super bowl from there to the farm to raise the third bowl and Murphy conceded.

James Nagle got a sterner test from Eoin O’Riordan. He won the opening tip, but O’Riordan took the second and increased his lead in the next two. 

Nagle rallied to Ross’s corner where he was in front by 15m after six. O’Riordan got a poor shot from there and Nagle increased his lead with a great bowl to Cotter’s cross.

O’Riordan got back on track with a good bowl to the high hedge. Nagle was at the Darkwood turn in two more where he was 25m short of a bowl of odds. 

O’Riordan cut the lead to well under a bowl after two more to Walsh’s lane. 

Nagle was unlucky with his next and now his lead was back to 80m. O’Riordan played a good bowl towards the novice line. In response, Nagle raised his game to close with two brilliant bowls and win by a clear bowl.

Johnny O’Driscoll got the perfect start against Ian Callanan in the South-West final at Grange. He led by 80m after three to Hodnett’s bungalow. He held the upper hand past Hodnett’s farm and onto the school cross. He continued to lead up the hill to de Barra’s. Callanan got a brilliant bowl from there. 

O’Driscoll was right with his reply. He missed the tip by 20m to lose the lead for the first time. He got the better cannon off Holland’s wall and was 25m fore again facing the line from the stud farm bend. 

Callanan regained a 15m lead, after O’Driscoll misplayed his next shot.

O’Driscoll then beat the line, but Callanan looked well placed to beat it. He played his bowl too far left, it drifted into the heavy sward on the verge and missed the tip by 15m.

Jerry Gibbons and John Young had a great battle at Togher Cross. Gibbons won the first shot, but Young went over the ‘bridgeen’ in two more to raise a bowl. 

Gibbons knocked the bowl with his next and took control with a big bowl to the chip dump. After a good shot over the big bridge he was heading for a bowl of odds. It was under a bowl after the shots off the wall at Caheragh cross. 

Gibbons had a full bowl after a good throw past the garage. Young knocked the bowl with his next. Gibbons then missed sight, but Young didn’t get the bend either and lost his last chance. Gibbons raised the bowl again in the shots over the last bridge and held it with his next towards the line.

On Sunday Johnny O’Driscoll plays Cian Boyle at Ballinacurra, winner facing Gibbons in the quarter-final. James Nagle is in the semi-final on that side. In the other semi-final James Cooney plays either Denis Wilmot or David Hubbard who meet at Clondrohid on Saturday.

In Ulster, Armagh senior footballer Ethan Rafferty beat Stephen McCann by two bowls in the Junior A championship at Port Mór. Pete Carr beat Shea Gamble by a bowl in the same championship. 

In the Munster senior women’s championship Clare O’Sullivan beat Emma Fitzpatrick by two bowls at Caheragh. At Newcestown Denise Murphy beat Aileen Murphy by a bowl.

Brothers Aidan and David Murphy had a good double. Aidan beat James O’Donovan in the last shot in a Bandon Hospital fundraiser at Templemartin while David beat Martin Coppinger in the last shot in the Mother Hegarty Cup at Lyre in 15.

James Buckley and Gary Daly meet in the Munster senior championship on Friday at Fermoy. There are three Munster intermediate ties. On Saturday, Michael Harrington plays Trevor O’Meara at Bweeng and Nicholas Carey and Willie O’Donovan meet at Templemichael. On Sunday, at Rosscarbery, Peter Nagle plays Donal Riordan.


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