The world of road bowling was rocked by the sudden death of James Caverley, one the most prominent figures in the sport from the 1980s to the early part of this century.
In 1982 he was elected chairperson of the West Cork Bowling Association on the same ticket as his close friend Pat O’Sullivan, who was elected secretary. They led the breakaway association for the next four years and were instrumental in it rejoining Ból-Chumann na hÉireann for the 1987 championships as the Carbery region.
The influx of new blood from the WCBA led to a dynamic period for bowling on the road and at executive level. Caverley was prominent in both arenas. He was chief road-shower to Jerry Hegarty who contested the 1989 Munster Junior A final and won the All-Ireland intermediate final in 1999.
He became PRO of Ból-Chumann in 1992 and served in that position until 1998. He gained European funding for the ‘Splitting the Sop’ project to develop a coaching manual and video for underage bowling. He twice contested the chair of Ból-Chumann na hÉireann without success. However, he remained active in the association as an officer and a supporter.
Meanwhile, Éamon Bowen Jnr made an impressive opening defence of the Kelleher-Hurley Cup at Drimoleague, where he finished with four super shots to beat Brian Wilmot by a bowl of odds.
Wilmot won the first tip by 20m with a good bowl to the top of the rise. Bowen then got a great shot towards Caheragh cross. Wilmot’s reply didn’t settle on the rough surface and broke left 30m short of Bowen’s tip. Wilmot made good sight with his next, but Bowen beat that well with a great bowl to the top of the hill. He beat Crowley’s pillars with his next to lead Wilmot by 70m.
Wilmot cut the lead to 40m with his next shot to the bend and followed with a brilliant bowl to the end of the tarmac to regain the lead by 30m. Bowen responded with a great bowl past the lane to lead again, but Wilmot won the next tip with a good bowl into the wood. Bowen beat that tip by just 70m with his next. Wilmot followed with another good bowl to edge closer to a bowl of odds.
He kept up the pressure with a good bowl to the end of the straight. Bowen hit back with a better shot that went around the bend. Wilmot beat that by just 30m but he still had a good advantage as he was on the straight. Bowen then played an astonishing bowl that cut the bend and went well onto the wide road. Wilmot missed that by 30m to lose the lead.
Bowen won the next exchange by 60m with a blistering bowl. He increased his odds to 100m when his next bowl rubbed at the bottom of O’Driscoll’s hill. He went close to the line with his next and Wilmot missed that by 70m to fall well over a bowl behind.
Gary Daly beat Conor McGuigan by almost three bowls in the Knappagh challenge. He opened with a big bowl to win the first tip well. He followed with another great shot to push his lead well over a bowl of odds. McGuigan rallied to the pull the lead under a bowl at the planting corner. Daly quickly killed that challenge by raising a third bowl of odds in the shots to Farley’s and romped home.
Aidan Murphy had a very comfortable win over John Creedon in the semi-final of the Mother Hegarty Cup at Lyre. He got a good opening shot to the soccer pitch to take the first tip by 100m after Creedon played his first to left. He held that lead with his second to the forestry and he made the hump in another two to raise a bowl of odds.
There was still a bowl between them after another three to Crowley’s bend. Creedon missed sight with his next and Murphy responded with a good bowl to clear sight at the gate. Creedon misdirected his next onto the right bank to fall two bowls behind. He then missed McCarthy’s bend with his next and the contest was over.
Gearóid Spillane won the Liam Burke Cup at the Bog Road where he led all the way against Derry Crowley. He got a great opening shot and increased his lead to almost a bowl at Danny’s lane. He raised the bowl with his next and increased his lead to almost two bowls at the Major’s. He was almost three in front at Eudie’s cottage.
Johnny Murphy bowled impressively at Ballinacurra where he beat Terry Sexton by three bowls. Sexton won the first shot, but Murphy quickly took control. He was a bowl in front at Foley’s and he had two at Perrott’s. He was three in front after nine to the start of the straight.
John O’Sullivan beat Michael Foley in the last shot of a tournament semi-final at Lyre. At Grenagh, Éamon Bowen Snr and James Buckley had a win each.
Derry Kenny, who contested the first full All-Ireland senior final as Munster champion in 1963, entered the Ulster Hall of Fame on Saturday. He lost that final to Danny McParland, but became an iconic figure nonetheless as one of the most skilful bowlers of his generation. He eventually won two All-Ireland titles at Veteran (Over-50) and Junior B in 1992.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved