Kelly Mallon eyes sixth All-Ireland bowling crown

Kelly Mallon is bidding for her sixth All-Ireland senior title at this weekend’s All-Ireland bowling series at Madden in Armagh.

Victory over Cork champion Geraldine Daly would give her the first three-in-a-row in the senior women’s championship and bring her within one crown of Gretta Cormican’s record seven titles. To add spice to the occasion she will be playing on her home club road.

Daly will be up for the challenge in what is her third senior final. Her performance in last weekend’s Munster final at Kildee was top class; in the semi-final she beat former champion Carmel Ryan.

The men’s intermediate final in an intriguing battle between experienced Munster champion Gavin Twohig and one of Ulster’s emerging talents, Colm Rafferty.

Twohig won this title in 2004 and had a term at senior level. He had a critical win over Donal Riordan in the Munster semi-final. In the final at Rosscarbery he was in control against Paul Buckley till the final third. He didn’t close it out though and had to recover from losing the lead to win in the last throw.

Rafferty holds five underage All-Irelands and is seen as a prime challenger to his first-cousin Thomas Mackle at senior level. His Ulster campaign was mixed. In the final against Paul Rafferty he was not at his best, but in the semi-final he dismissed Ruairí O’Reilly by three bowls.

Both come to the road with unanswered questions — only Sunday’s action will provide the answers.

Munster champion Peter Nagle will be favourite to beat Mark Toal in the Junior A final. Nagle showed a lot of composure in last Sunday’s Munster final. A repeat of that level of focus will give him a huge advantage. Toal is son of the great Michael Toal. He has plenty of talent, but will be conceding a lot of experience.

Darragh Kiely and Eoin Hughes contest the Boys U18 final which opens the weekend tomorrow morning.

Munster champion Maria Nagle is bidding for her third successive All-Ireland in the U18 final, having won the last two U16 titles. She is the current European U18 champion and it would take an exceptional performance from Aoife Trainor to derail her.

Sunday opens with the boys U14 final between Patrick Carr, son of former senior champion Eddie, and Eoin O’Donovan, who bowled brilliantly in the Munster final.


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