SEAMUS O'TUAMA: Team Éamon Bowen starts 2018 in winning fashion

Team Éamon Bowen (Éamon Bowen, Michael Barry and Denis Murphy) won the first big prize of 2018 when they beat Team Joseph Murphy (Joseph Murphy, Denis Connolly, Celly Spillane) in the John O’Donovan Cup final at Bottlehill on New Year’s Day.

Bowen opened with a big shot to light. Joseph Murphy was too far right with his, which left his team trailing by almost a bowl. Bowen’s team raised the bowl before the farmhouse and had a second facing the bridge. Spillane did well from there to put Murphy’s team back in contention at the holy well.

They continued to press and were level at the barking dogs. Murphy’s team pushed on to the last bend and Joseph got a good shot there. Bowen countered with a massive bowl towards the line. Connolly closed with a good bowl, but Barry beat it comfortably for Bowen’s team.

Darragh Murray was the driving force that took Team Declan Conway, which also featured Michael Cahill, to victory over Team Michael Sheehan, which also included Simon Buckley and Edward Barry, in the Jerry O’Mahony Cup final at the same venue.

Conway got a poor opener, but Sheehan just beat it. After that reprieve, Conway’s team quickly took control. They had a bowl of odds after three to sight and, with Murray in top form, they pulled away for a comprehensive win.

Muiris Buttimer ended 2017 on a high note, snatching the Mikie Hourihane Cup at Bauravilla with a big last shot to beat Micheál O’Sullivan and Finbarr Coughlan.

O’Sullivan went to Robin’s cross in two to raise almost a bowl on Buttimer. Coughlan was third and never got into contention. Buttimer levelled to Dekker’s. O’Sullivan did better to the rock and gained a big lead. He consolidated his odds with another good bowl from there.

Buttimer fought back to lead at Deasy’s lane and it was all to play for at the bridge. O’Sullivan continued to challenge and looked to have secured a last shot with a big bowl to the railing. Buttimer hit back with a sensational bowl which beat the line.

Denis Wilmot was impressive at Grange, where he beat Johnny O’Driscoll and David O’Mahony. O’Mahony won the opening shot well, but found himself third after both Wilmot and O’Driscoll got good second throws. Wilmot took control when he made sight at the stud farm with his third to go a bowl clear, as both his opponents missed sight.

He increased his odds by making full sight at Holland’s wall and beat good shots from his opponents to de Barra’s. O’Mahony fell out of contention by taking three more to make the school cross. Wilmot turned the screw with an expertly executed purlicue to Hegarty’s which put him almost two clear of O’Driscoll and three on O’Mahony.

Wilmot made Hodnett’s farm in 10 to consolidate his lead. He reached the bungalow in two more, where O’Driscoll had closed the gap to a bowl and O’Mahony to two. O’Mahony levelled with O’Driscoll with a big shot to White’s, but O’Driscoll held on for second place.

John Cahalane beat Thomas Boyle and Alex O’Donovan in the same tournament. O’Donovan won the first three to the stud farm. Cahalane and Boyle took two more each to reach Holland’s wall. O’Donovan had a chance to push clear by cannoning off the wall, but he misplayed and lost the lead.

Boyle then gained the upper hand with a brilliant next bowl. This put him a bowl ahead of O’Donovan. Cahalane kept in touch with a good shot past de Barra’s. He followed with two good bowls to Hegarty’s to lead by almost a bowl. He killed off Boyle’s challenge with big shots to the bungalow. He then pushed a bowl clear of Boyle and two on O’Donovan.

David O’Mahony was far sharper in his two bowls of odds win over Thomas Boyle in the Ballinacurra semi-final. He didn’t get a big opening shot, but Boyle beat it by just 30m. O’Mahony made Brinny cross in two more to lead by 60m. He reached Foley’s in two more good throws to raise a bowl. He then beat a big shot from Boyle to the gas line to take his lead to 70m over a bowl.

He raised the second bowl at the bridge and increased his lead onto the straight.

Andrew O’Callaghan had a comprehensive win, too, over Denis Murphy in a second semi-final. Murphy missed a relatively short opening shot and never led. O’Callaghan was just shy of Brinny cross in three, where he had a bowl of odds. Murphy fought back to cut the lead towards the GAA. O’Callaghan weathered that challenge and dominated the rest of the score.

Jimmy O’Driscoll beat James Nagle by two bowls at Rosscarbery. Nagle won the first three shots. He had a chance to extend his lead with his fourth, but played it too tight left and missed O’Driscoll’s tip. O’Driscoll then played four good bowls from the priest’s house to Barry’s boreen to raise a bowl. He was almost two bowls clear after his 10th shot to sight from the guesthouse.

Denis O’Driscoll wiped out a bowl of odds deficit to beat Tim Young at Ballydehob. He did his best bowling from the novice finish.


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