James O’Donovan battles hard to beat tenacious Aidan Murphy

James O’Donovan beat Aidan Murphy in the feature score of the Mid-Cork festival at Ballinacurra on Sunday.

He went past the factory with his first, which gave him a good lead. Murphy reached Brinny cross with a great second effort, but O’Donovan beat it. Murphy only made the pony’s gate with his third and O’Donovan increased his lead with a good bowl towards the church. Murphy didn’t reach Foley’s with his third, but O’Donovan didn’t push on with his reply.

Murphy then got a big bowl to the nooks to cut the lead significantly. He won his first lead with a good throw from there to Perrott’s, which O’Donovan missed by 20m. O’Donovan’s next only reached the ‘hole in the wall’, giving Murphy a great chance to consolidate his lead. He was too far right, though, and lost the lead again. His next was better, but O’Donovan beat it.

Murphy then got a a brilliant bowl to the middle of the bridge. O’Donovan only made the GAA field with his reply. He bounced back immediately with a fantastic bowl that went past the silver gate and levelled the score again. He regained the lead with his next shot up the straight.

Murphy caught the right with his next and O’Donovan beat it by 60m. Murphy then reached Cronin’s house with a good bowl. O’Donovan hit back with a super shot to the new house, to gain a virtually unassailable lead. Murphy was too tight left with his next and O’Donovan scorched towards the line to put the contest out of reach.

David Hubbard peeled off three times in the Gaeltacht-North Cork festival, with mixed luck. He lost to Michael Murphy at Ballinagree on Saturday. He was in top form in a comprehensive win over Dave Fitzgerald at Macroom, but lost in the last shot of a very tight return score there.

Murphy was sublime at Ballinagree. Hubbard, however got the better opening shot to peeping sight.

Murphy immediately hit back with a brilliant second bowl to ‘An Capaillín Bán’ cross. Hubbard played his reply too wide and missed the tip by 25m. Hubbard’s next was too far right. Murphy responded with a sensational third shot that was unlucky not to run further. Hubbard missed that well and only beat it again to fall almost two bowls down.

He rallied towards the post office, but could make little dent in Murphy’s lead. He continued to press, though, and looked to have a chance to get back into contention facing the last bend. Murphy played a blistering shot there, it careered into the wall with incredible speed and cannoned towards the line. That was enough to put the issue beyond doubt and secure his bowl of odds winning margin.

At Macroom, Hubbard took control against Davey Fitzgerald right from the off. He played a super shot over the brow to instantly raise a full shot of odds. He was unlucky with his next, but had an even bowl of odds after three past Bantry’s cross.

He held his lead in three more up past the waterfall. He increased his lead to two bowls at the gap and held the upper hand along the flat. He extended his lead to a third bowl with a super throw to sight facing the novice line. Fitzgerald made recompense in the return score. Hubbard was too wide with his last shot. Fitzgerald was sharper with his one, it got a break off the wall and gave him victory.

Jimmy O’Driscoll had a double over James Nagle at the Marsh Road in the Carbery-South West festival. He opened with a short bowl, but Nagle didn’t take advantage. They were level after four to the industrial park and were still locked together after eight to the silvery gate. They took three more to open the steps, where Nagle was fore.

They struggled to find form to sight at Ballyhilty, but Nagle was still fore for the last shot. O’Driscoll played a super last bowl to the avenue gate, which Nagle missed by 50m. The second score was level to Coombe’s gate. From there O’Driscoll played well to win by a bowl.

In the same series, Jerry Connolly’s huge last shot down the Mill hill past the finish line gave him victory with Vincent Dullea over Donal O’Mahony and Jack Cahalane at Rosscarbery. At Bauravilla, O’Mahony shared the spoils with David McCarthy. A fast last shot gave McCarthy victory in the first. O’Mahony raised a bowl between the rock and Dekker’s to win the second.

At Ballinacurra, Donncha O’Brien raised almost a bowl on Paddy O’Donoghue with a great first throw. He had over a bowl at Foley’s and held it to Cronin’s. O’Donoghue saved the bowl. John Butler led all the way only to lose the lead to Thomas Boyle with his second last. He recovered immediately with a winning last shot. Eugene Kieran raised a bowl on Denis Murphy before the bridge and held it all the way to the line.

Andrew O’Callaghan and Anthony Cullinane beat Jim Coffey and Deckie O’Mahony by two bowls at Clondrohid. Coffey won the first shot well. Cullinane reversed things with a big second and the winners had it wrapped up at the Bell Inn.



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