Claire O’Sullivan was the star of the feature event of the Doucha Boy West Cork Whiskey two-day CoAction West Cork benefit festival at Skibbereen. She teamed up with Martin Coppinger to fashion a line-to-line win over Killian Kingston and Silke Tulk.
Coppinger’s first bowl broke right, but had the speed and luck to negotiate kerbs, bollards and grass to secure the first tip by 70m. They increased their lead to a bowl in the next two past the distillery. O’Sullivan then followed a good bowl from Kingston to the council yard. Coppinger played an exceptional bowl to the quarry hill after which their lead was well over a bowl. Kingston regained some ground with a good one to the quarry gate. O’Sullivan beat that tip by 30m with a sweetly played bowl up the left.
Tulk played a huge bowl over the quarry hill, bringing Coppinger hind and knocking the bowl of odds. Kingston only made the silvery gate next, missing a good chance to get level. Little changed in the next two, then Tulk played a great bowl to the steps that was unlucky not to make full sight. O’Sullivan really showed her mettle by beating that tip well and did even better when beating a brilliant bowl from Tulk to Thornhill cross. That shot left Coppinger in a position to open Ballyhilty bend and extend their lead to almost a bowl again.
O’Sullivan took the lead closer to a bowl with another huge throw past Ballyhilty cross. Coppinger played virtually onto the grass next, past the avenue. Tulk replied with a big one, but again O’Sullivan showed composure and determination by beating that by 70m. Kingston closed with a super bowl to just short of the line. Coppinger sealed it with a good bowl past the line.
O’Sullivan will be buoyed by her bowling, especially with the Munster senior title vacant and the European championships in May. The other three will take a lot of positives too. Tulk bowled with the speed and accuracy that could add to her European gold medal collection. Kingston did very well after two years out of the limelight. Coppinger was awesome in the early exchanges and showed clinical cool when required to close it out.
Gary Daly led all the way to his bowl of odds win over Aidan Murphy. He opened with three huge bowls to the council yard, where he was almost a bowl clear. He had a full bowl after two more over the quarry hill. Murphy brought the lead just under a bowl with his tenth to light at the steps. They both opened Ballyhilty corner in two more, with Daly holding his bowl of odds. Murphy made a great bid to get back into it with a super bowl past Ballyhilty cross, but Daly beat it by 40m. He held that lead to sight at the last bend in 15 throws.
His cousin, Patrick Flood, made it a double when he beat Eugene McVeigh. They were locked together in the early exchanges. McVeigh won the first two, Flood the third, but McVeigh won the next five over the quarry hill. Flood was back in front after a brilliant shot past the silvery gate. He led from there, gaining odds out the steps and raising a bowl with a big shot past Thornhill cross.
Bantry players, Tim Young and Donal O’Riordan, also achieved a double. Young snatched the lead from Shaun Donnelly with a good third bowl past Thornhill cross. Donnelly regained the lead and raised a bowl at the silvery gate. Young levelled with two big shots down the quarry hill. He led for the last shot and beat a big final throw from Donnelly. O’Riordan produced a massive last shot to beat Dutch champion Jos Bert Albers, in one of the best scores of the weekend.
Paul O’Reilly pulled a last shot win out of the fire against John O’Rourke in the opening score of the weekend.