Killian Kingston finished strongly to turn what looked certain defeat into a bowl of odds win over Aidan Murphy at Ballincurrig.
Murphy won the opening shot by five metres and led till the closing stages.
He took the second by a few centimetres, but followed with a great third towards Geary’s that put him 150m clear.
Kingston closed the gap, but Murphy regained ground by beating the no-play line in six after Kingston narrowly missed.
Murphy had only 30m odds after a poor shot to Heaphy’s. Kingston then missed sight and Murphy got a perfect shot past O’Riordan’s to go almost a bowl clear.
He raised a full bowl with his next past the halfway line. Kingston followed with a short bowl and Murphy increased his odds with a good bowl to Leahy’s.
They opened the big corner in two more with Murphy holding his bowl of odds.
Kingston then got a great bowl to the top of short straight. Murphy played his too tight and missed, after his next his lead was back to 30m.
Kingston followed with the shot of the day, a perfect bowl past the muddy gap that swung well into the sycamores. Murphy missed that well.
They both missed the elbow with their following throws, with Kingston 30m fore.
Murphy’s next looked played, but it spun right and missed sight. Kingston’s reply was perfect and went well out facing the finish.
Whatever chance Murphy had disappeared when his next bowl hopped at the bend and landed on the fence to leave him a bowl down.
Brendan O’Neill won the Jim Barrow Cup at Gortroe, where he beat Kieran Murphy in the last shot and Michael Murphy by two bowls of odds.
All three started brightly with good opening shots. O’Neill led at the bridge and Michael Murphy led at the wood.
Kieran Murphy was in front at the end of the wood. He powered clear in the next two to the piers, where O’Neill trailed by 80m and Michael Murphy by a bowl.
He was still 30m ahead of O’Neill at the Well Bar, while Michael Murphy’s was close to two bowls down. He then lost the lead with a poor shot to the end of the pub yard.
Kieran Murphy was back in front of O’Neill by 10m after three more to the novice line, where Michael Murphy conceded.
The lead changed hands at each of the next two tips. O’Neill closed with a good bowl that beat the line by 50m. Murphy missed it well.
Johnny Kelly won the Francie Corr Cup at the Rock Road where he beat Paul Rafferty and Oliver Gribben.
Rafferty was handicapped a shot, but bowled well to draw level at McKee’s. It was a duel between Kelly and Rafferty from there, which Kelly won easily.
Shane Feighan had an extraordinary win at Knappagh over Niall Smith. He was a bowl down at the gatehouse facing the line.
He got a sensational last shot past the crossroads, which Smith took three to beat.
Declan O’Donovan advanced in the Seán Leahy Cup after a strong finish against Thomas Boyle at the Pike. Boyle controlled the early part of the score.
He was a bowl in front after five to White’s cross. He got a poor shot from the cross and O’Donovan closed the gap.
Boyle lost the lead when his bowl from the bridge lodged in rain water. He then missed Dreaper’s and when O’Donovan made sight, he had a big lead.
Boyle lofted his next but it landed on the fence to leave him almost two bowls down.
O’Donovan didn’t capitalise though as he played his bowl into the river to leave just a bowl between them. His next was not great either.
He then played three huge bowls in succession. He made sight with the first, he then made the novice line and the third one went past the next bend to put him two bowls clear.
The Ireland squads for the European Championships in May have been announced.
European veteran Christy Mullins’ name is missing for the first time since the 1980s marking the end of an extraordinary career.
Brothers David and Aidan Murphy who are current European gold medal winners will lead the men’s team.
It has a strong spine of top players including Edmond Sexton, Thomas Mackle, Gary Daly, Éamon Bowen, James O’Donovan, and Michael Bohane, but is minus two of the country’s top players in Martin Coppinger and Killian Kingston.
The other squad members are Wayne Callanan, Bill McAuliffe, Thomas Mackle, Donncha O’Brien, Martin Toal, and Brian Wilmot.
Ireland’s top three women, Kelly Mallon, Catriona O’Farrell-Kidney and Carmel Ryan, are selected, but there’s a doubt about European champion Ryan. The other squad members are Louise Collins, Erin Connolly, Geraldine Daly, Emma Hickey, and Clare O’Sullivan.
The boys team is David Devlin, Owen Healy, Seán Kiely, Tom O’Donovan, and Jordan O’Sullivan.
The girls squad is Maria Nagle, Chloe O’Halloran, Katie Sexton, and an Ulster player yet to be confirmed.
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