SEAMUS O'TUAMA: Murphy marches to Munster semi-final

David Murphy kicked on from his European gold medal win to secure his place in the Munster senior semi-final with a comfortable win over James Buckley at Lyre on Sunday.

On Saturday, Martin Coppinger, All-Ireland champion in 2010, easily beat Pat Butler at the Mons. Last year’s finalist, Christy Mullins, bowled well at Caheragh to beat All-Ireland intermediate champion Brian Wilmot. European Dutch Moors champion Aidan Murphy plays Gary Daly next Saturday in the last quarter-final at Carrigaline.

In Sunday’s championship tie at Lyre, David Murphy was in control from the off against James Buckley. Buckley played his first two shots to the left and followed with a poor third to leave Murphy almost a bowl clear at the forestry. Murphy played his next over the hump to raise the bowl.

He had 50m over a bowl after three more to Crowley’s bend and it was just under a bowl after another two to McCarthy’s. Murphy pushed clear again after a nice run at the tunnel and he reached the junior line with his 13th to go two bowls clear.

Christy Mullins beat the line in 15 shots at Caheragh to beat Brian Wilmot by close to two bowls. Wilmot hit a pillar with his first bowl and just beat Mullins’s opening tip by 20m with his second. He settled after that and kept the lead under a bowl to Lisangle cross. Mullins got a poor shot from there but Wilmot didn’t take advantage, although he cut the lead to 60m at the new house.

He followed that with a good bowl to Reenroe cross, but Mullins beat it by 100m with a massive reply. Wilmot beat that tip by just 40m with to leave almost a bowl between them again. Wilmot rallied again to cut the lead to 40m at the river gate. His next was poor though and Mullins played a brilliant bowl past the junior line to raise a bowl. He finished with another great bowl to go almost two clear.

Martin Coppinger had Pat Butler’s measure at the Mons after two big shots to O’Connell’s lane put him a bowl clear. He was a bowl in front at the top of the hill and almost two clear before the end.

John O’Rourke beat Vincent Kiely by a bowl in the North Cork Junior A final at Sally’s Cross.

In Ulster, Brian O’Reilly’s good European form converted into a last shot win over Eddie Carr in the senior championship at Knappagh. Thomas Mackle was brilliant in his win over Paul O’Reilly and Cathal Toal in the intermediate championship.

* Denis Scully, the Millennium Hall of Fame winner for the 1970s and one of the greatest bowlers of all time, died last week. I once asked him how he started bowling. With neither pretension nor false modesty he simply said: “Up here, you are a bowler or you are nothing”. Well he certainly was something, perhaps the greatest of all Fair Hill bowlers, including the iconic Timmy Delaney.

He won his only senior All-Ireland in 1973, a paltry return for a player of such immense stature. However in that final at Ballyshonin he covered 318.2m with a single shot, the longest bowl ever recorded in an All-Ireland final. He was also the only Irish bowler to win a European German Lofting silver medal. In May 1977 he shared with German bowler Arno Domeger the record of putting a German bowl over the Chetwynd Viaduct.

He emerged as a challenger to Mick Barry in 1968. Their first two meetings were double-hand scores. In the first Scully and Derry Kenny beat Barry and Johnny Creedon at Conna on July 5, 1968. Barry and Creedon reversed the result at Skibbereen on August 24.

They met for the first time in a single-hand score at Ballymacoda in March 1969. Scully won on a technicality, as Barry was injured and unable to finish. Barry won when they met at Waterloo in July 1969, but Scully returned to win the Ballinadee final in May 1973. Barry tied the series with victory at Ring, Clonakilty.

Scully’s career was meteoric, but all too short. He was out of bowling by the 1980s. He made a return in 1988 to win the All-Ireland Intermediate final at Bauravilla, a feature of which was a spectacular loft. He made another return to the limelight in 1992 when he was part of the Ireland team for the European championships on the Carrigrohane Road in Cork.


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