David Murphy and Cathal Toal will contest next month’s King of the Roads following their Mick Barry Cup semi-final wins at Ballincurrig on Saturday.
Murphy beat Edmond Sexton by a bowl and Toal beat Sexton’s brother Séamus by close to a bowl in the second semi-final.
The other four players to go into the hat tonight are All-Ireland champion Thomas Mackle, Munster champion Killian Kingston, German champion Ralf Look and the very exciting young Dutch champion Mark Muntel.
David Murphy mixed the absolute best with some very average play to give Sexton chances to be in the frame at the end.
Both first shots took unexpected hops. Murphy’s got its full run to almost sight, but Sexton blew left at the mill gate.
Sexton followed with two good bowls past the black sign to cut the lead to five metres. There was still little between them after the fourth to the creamery.
Murphy then played three extraordinary bowls in succession. He beat the no-play line with the first.
He made sight at O’Riordan’s with the second and then made sight at Leahy’s with his third.
At that point he had almost two bowls of odds and heading for a new road record. Sexton too had an absolutely incredible sixth bowl to Heaphy’s. His next three were very ordinary.
Incredibly Murphy missed sight at the big corner in two more, while Sexton went out in two to cut the lead to a bowl.
Sexton cut it to an even bowl with his next to the top of the short straight. He then missed sight at ‘Din Tough’s’, amazingly Murphy missed that tip and now the lead was under a bowl.
Murphy just made the end of the sycamores with his next, but Sexton made no gains. Murphy then beat the elbow, but was well short of sight.
Sexton could force a last shot by making the last straight, but his reply was always left of the white line and missed Murphy’s tip.
Cathal Toal raised almost a bowl on Séamus Sexton with his first two to Moore’s gate. Sexton cut the odds to 40m with a brilliant fourth to the green.
They both got poor shots past the creamery, but Sexton got a great sixth to the no-play line to win his first lead.
He extended his lead with his next two to sight at O’Riordan’s and after a great ninth to the top of the long straight he was almost a bowl clear.
He made the elbow with his next, but missed the big corner from there with his 11th.
After 12 the lead was just 40m and Toal won the next exchange to the top of the short straight.
Toal edged the next two to the end of the sycamores, with neither player excelling. Sexton then got a good bowl to just short of sight. Toal just made the last bend. Sexton still had a chance, but he played his next too wide and Toal closed it out with a big bowl past the line.
Paul Buckley beat Gavin Twohig by a bowl in the Jerry Desmond Cup at Grange. Twohig played a brilliant first and won the next two to the stud farm.
Buckley levelled after four to Holland’s wall. Buckley was left with his next and Twohig pushed clear again with a good bowl to sight at de Barra’s.
Buckley cut the lead to 25m with a great 6th past de Barra’s, but only made the top of the hill with his next. Twohig beat that well with a good bowl to sight facing the school cross.
Buckley deftly delivered his next, nuancing it to Hegarty’s wall. Twohig’s reply went right and beat it by only 20m. Buckley’s next was tight left, but it went to sight at O’Sullivan’s. Twohig was too far right again with his reply and missed Buckley’s tip to lose the lead for the first time.
His next was to the right again and he was lucky to reach O’Sullivan’s. Buckley lost his footing withhis reply and beat that tip by just two metres.
Twohig got a good bowl to Hodnett’s farm, Buckley was too tight left and missed it by 50m. Buckley made the bungalow with his next.
Twohig missed that by 30m. He rallied with a brilliant 13th, which put him back in front again. He missed chances to consolidate his lead with his next two.
Buckley punished that leniency with a sensational 16th bowl to just short of the line. Twohig misplayed his reply. His next went right and hit the bank at the pub and handed Buckley victory.
David Hubbard beat James Nagle by almost a bowl at Whitechurch. He got a great fourth to the top of the hill to take a good lead. He followed with another big one past the wall to raise a bowl of odds. He held that all the way to the farm.
Nagle got a good bowl towards the Devil’s bend, which Hubbard missed to lose his bowl of odds.
He regained most of his lead with a great bowl around the bend and made the wall with his next.
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