James O’Donovan grabbed the limelight with two great wins in the busiest bowling week of 2018.
He beat Michael Bohane in the quarter-final of the Munster senior championship at Grange on Wednesday.
Then, on Sunday, he beat David Murphy by well over a bowl in the Noel Phair Cup final at Shannonvale — turning that score on its head with two extraordinary bowls.
A packed six days featured three Munster senior quarter-finals, five Munster intermediate ties, three senior women’s championship scores, two cup finals, several critical Junior A ties, and a number of regional finals.
At Shannonvale, O’Donovan got a big opening shot to take the first tip by 40m. He won the next exchange to Whelton’s by 30m.
Bohane made sight at the stud farm with a great third, but O’Donovan beat it with his reply to clear sight. He had 50m at Holland’s and increased his lead with a brilliant bowl to de Barra’s.
Bohane got an exceptional bowl down the school hill to cut the odds to 10m. O’Donovan held the lead in the next two to Hegarty’s. He then played a huge bowl to O’Sullivan’s farm.
He followed with another brilliant one to Hodnett’s farm, but Bohane beat it to keep the lead under a bowl. Bohane cut the lead to just 70m with a great bowl to the bungalow.
O’Donovan pushed clear again with a big bowl up the hill past White’s, which put him almost a bowl clear again. He raised the bowl with his next to sight at Barry’s and he sealed the contest with his 15th to the car park.
David Murphy had almost a bowl of odds after two brilliant opening shots at Shannonvale. He set the pace with great bowls to the quarry. He then made Buttimer’s pillars to go almost a bowl clear.
He raised a full bowl with his sixth to Desmond’s. O’Donovan stopped the drift with a big shot to Kingston’s wall to bring the lead just under a bowl. Murphy raised the bowl again with his next.
O’Donovan then delivered two unbelievable bowls. The first past Tobin’s covered 360m and won him his first lead. He then played a 265m shot towards the finish line.
Murphy missed that to fall a bowl of odds behind and then missed the line.
There could be a reprise of that contest if Murphy beats Martin Coppinger in the last of the Munster quarter-finals next weekend at Baile Bhuirne.
The other semi-final is between Arthur McDonagh and Michael Harrington at Ballinagree.
McDonagh beat Séamus Sexton at Templemartin on Sunday and Michael Harrington snatched a last-shot win over Edmund Sexton at Grenagh on Monday.
At Grenagh, Edmund Sexton led every shot but the last, which was unfortunately blocked and missed Harrington’s tip by two metres. He had 60m odds after three to the playing field. He increased his odds to the farm, but Harrington had it back to 40m at the halfway line.
Sexton got a huge bowl from there to raise a bowl and he was close to two in front at Boula lane.
He lost most of his odds between there and the cross. He got back on track with a good bowl past the junior line, which secured him a bowl of odds again at the no-play line. He kept the lead close to a bowl in the next three.
Harrington then played a super second last shot to sight, which cut Sexton’s lead to three metres. Harrington closed with another good one past the line. Sexton’s reply looked set to beat it before being accidently blocked.
Arthur McDonagh led all the way against Séamus Sexton at Templemartin. He had a big lead after three to Slyne’s corner. Sexton cut the odds to just 10 metres after two more.
McDonagh pushed clear again with a brilliant bowl to Collins’ wall. He had well over a bowl at the schoolhouse cross, but Sexton brought it back to an even bowl at the stonefield bend.
McDonagh went up several gears from there and had the lead over two bowls of odds at the pub cross.
In the Munster Intermediate championship, Wayne Callanan won the southside derby against Trevor O’Meara at Pouladuff while at Béal na Marbh Seán Murphy beat John Creedon.
Billy McAuliffe beat PJ Cooney in the last shot at Templemichael. He shaded the first five. Cooney took his only lead with his sixth from the white wall. They were locked together to the green.
It was in the melting pot until McAuliffe got a brilliant second last.
Donal Riordan beat Brian Wilmot by almost two bowls at Bauravilla and Paddy O’Donoghue received a walkover from Pat Butler at Ballincurrig.
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