Donncha O’Brien and Mick Hurley will contest the Marshall Clarke Cup final at Derrinasafa following impressive semi-final wins.
O’Brien won a titanic battle with Jerry Gibbons He won the opening shot, but lost the lead when his second unluckily hit a pillar. He was back in front after a massive third shot, which Gibbons beat by just 15m with his fourth. Gibbons rallied with a great fifth past Ross’. O’Brien’s played his bowl too far left and missed sight. He beat Gibbons’ tip by 60m with his next. After two more around the bend they were on the same tip.
Gibbons got a brilliant bowl past Cotter’s Cross to the high hedge. O’Brien beat that by just 10m in two. Gibbons was still close to a bowl in front after two more to sight at the Darkwood turn. He followed with a great bowl to Dwyer’s, which O’Brien beat by 50m to hold the lead under a bowl. He was too tight left with his next and O’Brien replied with a great bowl, which put him back in front.
Gibbons hit back with a big bowl to O’Neill’s lane, but O’Brien beat it by 25m. Gibbons played what looked a fine last shot in the left track, but it got an unlucky hop which turned it left and it hit a pillar. O’Brien easily beat it with another big one.
Mick Hurley kept the momentum of his Ballinacurra final win the previous weekend with another strong finish against James Nagle in the other semi-final.
Nagle got away smartly with two good bowls to the end of the wall, with Hurley at the high gates in two. Hurley won the lead with a good third. He extended his odds with his fourth past Cullinane’s cross. Nagle then missed Ross’ and Hurley made sight.
They both made the Darkwood turn in four more, with Hurley still leading. He won the shots from the turn and took advantage of a few slips by Nagle to raise a bowl at Walsh’s lane. He increased his lead to O’Neill’s lane.
Séamus Sexton beat Gary Daly by almost a bowl in the Denis McGarry Cup at Whitechurch. Daly opened with two fantastic bowls towards the return line, which put him almost a bowl in front. He was still almost a bowl clear after two more to the end of the wall and he raised it with his next shot.
Sexton knocked the bowl before Boula lane. He got three good bowls to the top of the straight, where he won the lead. He was still in front after two more towards the Devil’s bend. Daly regained the lead with a great bowl to the end of the bend looked to heading for victory after two more to light past the junior finish.
Sexton got a sensational bowl to the speed-limit sign. Daly missed that well. His next bowl was accidently blocked and when Sexton made clear sight it was over.
Christy Mullins’ 36 years as a Munster senior player ended when he was placed in the intermediated grade at the annual grading meeting. Gavin Twohig as 2016 intermediate champion is the only new senior for 2017.
Peter Nagle as 2016 Junior A winner got an automatic promotion to intermediate. He is joined by Donncha O’Brien and Trevor O’Meara who return after time out. Both Kieran Murphy and Andrew O’Leary were relegated to Junior A.
Paul Buckley beat Brian Wilmot by almost a bowl in the Tim Foley Cup semi-final at Templemartin. Wilmot lost a chance to push clear when he narrowly missed sight at Slyne’s corner. Buckley led with his next, but there was nothing between them schoolhouse cross. Buckley got the better of the shots to the stonefield bend. Two big shots to the pub cross pushed him a bowl clear.
Adrian Callanan beat Thomas Boyle by almost a bowl in the Templemichael tournament.
Boyle won the first tip by 60m for his only lead. He missed Callanan’s second and was a bowl behind at the white wall after five and six. Callanan held the bowl in his next three to Sarsfield’s Court cross. Boyle knocked the bowl at the green, but Callanan restored it with a big throw to light. Boyle saved the bowl in the run in.
John Hickey beat Deckie O’Mahony and David Crowley in the Ballinacurra novice final while Bryan O’Reilly beat a big last shot from Cathal Toal in the Tony O’Reilly Cup at the Rock Road.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved