Heavyweights set for play-off in Skibbereen

The Munster senior championship quarter-final draws and next Sunday’s Pool A play-off at Skibbereen between Aidan Murphy, Martin Coppinger and James O’Donovan are dominating bowling discourse this week.

The three-way showdown should attract big crowds as all are potential Munster champions. Coppinger won the All-Ireland in 2010, having beaten O’Donovan in the Munster final and Murphy won the Munster title in ‘09.

Sunday’s winner will meet Pat Butler at The Mons, while the runner-up will face Gary Daly at Carrigaline. Defending champion David Murphy is drawn against James Buckley at Lyre. Last year’s Intermediate champion Brian Wilmot will take on Christy Mullins at Caheragh. All four scores are provisionally scheduled for the weekend of May 26 and 27.

In Ulster Paul Rafferty opened his senior championship account with a two bowls of odds win over Martin Toal at Knappagh. Toal won the opening tips and kept Rafferty on the back foot to Farley’s. He went 40m clear at the plum trees, but he bowled poorly to the Condy corner where he was a bowl behind. Rafferty punished him in every shot from there and was over two in front at the limekilns.

Michael Bohane beat Wayne Callanan by almost two bowls in the Munster Intermediate championship at Castletownkinneigh on Sunday. Callanan started well and was almost a bowl in front after three shots to the new bridge. He got a very short fourth though and Bohane was level. He built on this in the shots to the Round Tower pub where he had a clear lead.

Callanan got a great shot from there to level again and they were locked together to the next corner. Bohane’s extra power began to show from there and he opened up a solid lead with a great shot to Nyhan’s crush. He extended his lead to a bowl at Forsham’s cross and was unchallenged from there.

Thomas Mackle beat Cathal Toal and Paul O’Reilly in the three-way Ulster Intermediate championship round-robin series at Knappagh. They were all in contention to the Condy corner. O’Reilly fell a bowl down to Farley’s, but he fought back to tie the score again at the planting corner, where Toal was just fore. Mackle then beat the line with three exceptional bowls to score a clear win over Toal, with O’Reilly third.

John Cahalane was in supreme form in his emphatic win over Dan O’Halloran in the Mick Keating Cup final at Drinagh. He reached the Black Stick in six to go a full bowl of odds in front. He made the church in three more — a record equalling tally — where he had a second bowl. They continued for two more at which point O’Halloran conceded.

In Fermoy, Patrick O’Donoghue (Mallow) beat John O’Donoghue in the last shot in the North-East Junior A championship. He started impressively to go a bowl clear after five. He completely misplayed his next and it stopped dead after hitting concrete at Carter’s. That left them level for the next three throws, but Patrick gained a bowl from there to Fenton’s.

John O’Donoghue then got two great bowls to take his only lead. Patrick slowly took control again and had a comfortable lead at the line.

Patrick Butler beat Wayne Kingston by the width of a pier in the East Cork championship at Clashmore. Butler had 20m odds after four shots to the tarmac and got a great fifth to increase his lead to 50m. Kingston got two brilliant bowls to the pylon to level the score. They were still level at the bottom of the hill and Kingston had the lead at Mulcahy’s cross, which he held to the ash tree.

Butler got a great bowl to the last bend, but Kingston just edged the tip. Neither player reached the line from there. Butler got a good bowl past the line, but it hit a pier. Kingston’s bowl looked set to beat it well, but it went left unexpectedly and hit the same pillar just short of Butler’s tip.

Brian Daly was well below par at Whitechurch but still managed a last shot result against Patsy Hogan in the Cork City Junior A. He started well to raise a bowl at the wall, but he lost all his odds from there to Boula lane. Hogan got the better of the shots up the straight to go almost a bowl in front and he held that lead to the farmhouse.

Daly regained control with a great bowl to the Devil’s bend. He didn’t push on though and Hogan was still in contention for the last shot. Daly got the better of the unexceptional last throws by 20m.

Peter Nagle looked impressive in his last shot win over Thomas Boyle in the Cork City Junior B semi-final at Curraheen. Tom Allen recovered from being a bowl down at McNamara’s to beat John McGrath in the last shot in the North-East novice-veteran final at Fermoy.


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