Martin Coppinger rides his luck in the Mick Barry Cup

Coppinger, Patrick Flood and Gary Daly are the current frontrunners to reach the knockout stages of the Mick Barry Cup and a place in King of the Roads.
Martin Coppinger rides his luck in the Mick Barry Cup

Bantry's Martin Coppinger in full flight.

The race to the Fenor All-Ireland series and King of the Roads and a four day cancer research support series at Shannonvale provided no end of attractions for bowling fans this past week.

Martin Coppinger, Patrick Flood and Gary Daly are the current frontrunners to reach the knockout stages of the Mick Barry Cup and a place in King of the Roads. Denis Murphy, Kevin Cotter and David Hegarty secured places in the Munster Junior C semi-finals. Cotter and Murphy play in one semi-final, Hegarty plays either Jim Coffey or Tom O’Callaghan in the other.

Razor thin margins expose the merciless nature of sport. Martin Coppinger stayed in the Mick Barry Cup at Ballincurrig. Had Arthur McDonagh nailed a relatively easy shot to light from Heaphy’s or had his third last got the run it was played for, things might have been different. Then Coppinger made his own luck. He needed an absolute miler to the no-play line to stay in contention. He had to beat a serious last bowl from McDonagh and he was well past the line in 15 shots.

Patrick Flood played an extraordinary second last bowl from Din Tough’s to light at the last bend. Covering two throws in one herculean effort keeps him in the frame. Had he been a shade luckier with his last one, he might have overtaken Coppinger. Bryan O’Reilly did most things very well, but two shots in particular undid him. He came tantalisingly close to the no-play line in five, he should really have opened the big corner with his tenth one. Either would have almost certainly taken him past the line in 15 too.

Gary Daly was good in his win over Aidan Murphy, but he took 16 to beat the line. That leaves him exposed to being overtaken by one of Sunday’s four contestants. No combination of results can push Coppinger out of the top three. It will take both of next Sunday’s two winners beating his tip in 15 shots to dislodge Flood. If either winner beats Daly’s last tip in 16 shots or less they will take his place.

Kevin Cotter beat Paul O’Brien by almost a bowl at Jagoes Mills. O’Brien raised a bowl after four. Cotter got a great sixth past the kerbs to draw level. He won the lead with his eighth past Lawton’s. He was almost a bowl clear after eleven, O’Brien couldn’t bridge that gap. Denis Murphy beat Brian Coughlan at Timoleague. Coughlan was on top for the first five, but lost ground with his sixth. Murphy led after great seventh and eighth bowls. He pushed a bowl clear after good 12th and 13th throws. He raised a second bowl before the line.

David Hegarty had a last shot win over James O’Sullivan at Castletownkenneigh. O’Sullivan played a big first bowl to win the opening shot by 60m. Hegarty won the second with an equally good one. They were deadlocked till Hegarty got a great 10th to sight to raise almost a bowl. He led to the finish, but left a slight opening for O’Sullivan when he won the second last by just 60m. O’Sullivan didn’t make the line with his last one and Hegarty beat it.

Twelve top class scores were crammed into the Shannonvale event. On Friday Peter Nagle beat John Young by almost a bowl. They were level after six to the quarry, but Nagle gained almost a bowl to Desmond’s and held that lead to the line. On Saturday Tommy O’Sullivan beat Alex O’Donovan in the last shot. On Sunday Wayne Parkes beat Andrew O’Callaghan. He was leading at the quarry. O’Callaghan took over to Desmond’s and increased his lead to Kingston’s, but Parkes fought back to win by almost a bowl Paul Buckley beat Wayne Callanan in a sensational Jim O’Driscoll Cup tie at Ballincurrig. He had to beat a monster of a last shot by Callanan.

The bowling community lost an iconic figure with the passing of John Cronin at the weekend. He was a member of the Hall of Fame, a former Fixtures Secretary and was the driving force behind the Churchtown South Club, which was the premier venue east of Cork city for decades.

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