Spectacular return from injury for O’Donovan

JAMES O’DONOVAN made a spectacular return from injury to beat Edmund Sexton by over twobowls of odds at Whitechurch on Saturday.

Sexton started well, winning the first two shots but O’Donovan edged ahead with his third to the pump. Sexton then played a great bowl to the middle of the wall. O’Donovan hit back with an even better one to take a 50m lead. He continued to set the pace past Boula lane and was a full bowl clear at Downey’s line.

Sexton got a good shot from there, but O’Donovan beat it well. Sexton missed light at the top of the straight in two more and O’Donovan increased his lead. Sexton missed the farmhouse with his next throw and O’Donovan went well down to take his lead to two bowls. It was all over after the next exchange with Sexton missing the Devil’s Bend and O’Donovan making clear light to push his lead well over two bowls.

Meanwhile, Aidan Bowen won the opening score in the Jerry Desmond Cup at Grange where he beat JC Desmond by almost two bowls. He led from the off and was almost a bowl in front after three to White’s. He raised a full bowl at Hodnett’s bungalow and he held that to the school cross. He was still a bowl in front at de Barra’s after ten. He increased his lead to Moynihan’s wall and when Desmond missed light at the stud farm the contest was over.

Denis Wilmot beat Vincent Cahalane by over two bowls in the same competition at Kilbrittain. A poor opening sequence left Cahalane trailing by almost a bowl after three. Wilmot held that lead to the cross. He continued to set the pace and went well over two bowls clear at the garage.

His brother Brian reached the Josie Crean Cup semi-final at Whitechurch where he beat Mark Burke by almost a bowl.

Catriona Murphy is the Munster Junior champion following her outstanding performance against Joanne Kelleher at Lyre. She had 40m odds after three. Her brilliant fifth to the school cross raised a bowl of odds. She went almost two clear after two good throws to O’Donovan’s. She was over the Mason’s Hill in two more and out for light in another to seal victory.

Both the Girls U12 and U14 finals were also played at Lyre. Emma Hickey beat Megan Collins by over a bowl in the U14 final and Maria Nagle beat Chloe O’Halloran in the U12 final.

Emma Hickey made an explosive start to the U14 final reaching the Mason’s Hill in four where she had two bowls of odds. Megan Collins brought the lead under two bowls with a great 10th throw, but Hickey got two good shots to the school cross to go two clear again. They both made mistakes from the cross, but the lead stayed close to two. Even Collins’s big shot through the creamery could not turn the tide.

After a close start in the U12 final Maria Nagle pushed a bowl clear after five to the first bend. O’Halloran took the lead after two great bowls down the Mason’s Hill. Nagle regained the bowl in the next sequence and was still almost a bowl clear at the school cross. O’Halloran was unlucky to hit a pillar at the school after which Nagle got two great shots to win by a bowl.

Billy McAuliffe qualified for the Jim O’Driscoll Cup semi-final when he beat Michael Bohane by two bowls at Ballincurrig. He led all the way.

Catriona O’Farrell-Kidney advanced to a Gretta Cormican Cup semi-final meeting with Maria Noonan by beating Lorraine Hurley at Dunderrow. She got a tough challenge to the three-quarters point, but her power pushed her clear to the line. Noonan beat Emma Fitzpatrick at Togher Cross. Fitzpatrick won the first shot, but Noonan took over and was a bowl in front at the ‘chips’. Fitzpatrick raised her performance from there, but she could not close the gap.

Denise Murphy also moved a step closer to next month’s Queen of the Roads when she beat Emer O’Donovan at Enniskeane. She will now play the winner of the Catriona Hubbard-Gretta Cormican quarter-final.

Joe Shortt beat Harry Toal by two bowls in the Ulster Novice II final at Tassagh. Toal got a poor opener, but grabbed his only lead with a good second shot. Toal was back in trouble after a poor fourth and lost more ground through a call on his fifth. Shortt got a great rub with his fifth and went a bowl in front at Connolly’s He bowled strongly to raise a second at the river and eased home.

Kevin Coughlan defeated former champion Pat O’Neill in the London Novice II final at Launder’s Lane. O’Neill looked to have the score under control when he led by two bowls. Coughlan turned the tide with a brilliant bowl to light at the last bend. O’Neill just beat that in two after his first bowl hopped the brow. Coughlan then played a great last bowl past the line. O’Neill made a good effort to beat it, but missed the tip by less than a metre.

Danny O’Shea got a chance to make up for his defeat in last year’s All-Ireland Novice II final when he beat Donal Casey at Launder’s Lane.


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