It was a significant weekend in the Munster senior men’s championship with key wins for James O’Donovan and Séamus Sexton. An eleventh hour injury prevented Killian Kingston from playing the holder, Arthur McDonagh, at Whitechurch.
Last year’s beaten finalist, James O’Donovan, had a clear cut win over David Murphy at Béal na Bláth. This win catapults him forward, but comes at a bad time for Murphy in his bid to win an unprecedented fourth successive gold medal in the European championships next week.
Murphy’s only lead was his first, but there was little between them in the next four. O’Donovan played a great sixth bowl through Bradfield’s cross to gain 100m odds. He lost some ground with his next one, but played a great bowl past the bull’s gate to push his lead to 120m. Murphy closed the gap with a well lofted effort that swung around the bend. O’Donovan replied with a brilliant one to light before the junior finish to edge his lead to almost a bowl.
He lost most of those gains though when his 12th bowl clipped the left and beat Murphy’s tip by just 60m. Murphy didn’t seize that chance and O’Donovan was back on the offensive with his next shot. He played a great bowl past the creamery, which had him almost a bowl clear again. He followed with another huge bowl to sight. Murphy missed sight with his reply. His next to Mossgrove cross was good, but O’Donovan hit back with another miler to push his lead to almost two bowls.
Séamus Sexton played some top drawer bowls in his win over John O’Rourke at Firmount. He opened with a sensational bowl past the school to win the first tip by 80m. O’Rourke’s second to the lollipops was equally good and won him his only lead. Sexton held a slender lead through the bends and increased his odds onto the straight. He got a huge sixth bowl to Buckley’s cross, which put him a bowl clear.
O’Rourke knocked the bowl with a big shot towards the junior line. Sexton hit back with an incredible bowl past the line and through the cross to push his lead to almost two bowls. O’Rourke continued to compete though and had the lead under a bowl at the line.
In the Munster intermediate championship Tim Young beat Bill McAuliffe by a bowl at Clondrohid. He had a good lead facing Goff’s lane, but didn’t make it to extend his advantage. Still he raised a bowl and increased his odds to the farmhouse. From there his lead was well over a bowl.
Alex O’Donovan, one of the Young Turks turning the bowling landscape on its head, beat Gavin Twohig in the South West Junior A final at Ballygurteen. Twohig raised almost a bowl with a great first shot, but O’Donovan levelled with his next two to light. However, Twohig picked up the pace again and raised a bowl in the shots to the women’s lane. He increased his lead to almost two bowls on the straight.
O’Donovan then played two big bowls to the bottom of the hill to bring the lead under a bowl. A big rub with his shot towards O’Donovan’s had O’Donovan back in the frame. He looked to have slipped with his shot to Burke’s, but Twohig only beat it by 25m. O’Donovan finally won the lead with his next and then beat Twohig’s last one well.
David Shannon beat last year’s winner, Declan O’Donovan, by a bowl in the Carbery final at the Marsh Road. He raised a bowl after three, but O’Donovan knocked it with his fourth. Shannon had almost a bowl again at Ballyhilty corner, he raised it at the avenue and beat the line in 15 great bowls.
Tom O’Donovan, pulled off another big win for the rising generation when he beat Dan O’Halloran by two bowls in the Mid-Cork semi-final at Templemartin. Ted Hegarty, whose youth tournaments have nurtured the growth of this new vein of talent, led from line-to-line against Kieran O’Driscoll in the South West Veteran final at Shannonvale. Mick Wall gave a sensational performance in his win over Mick Hurley in the East Cork – Waterford semi-final at Ballincurrig.