Aidan Murphy finished strongly to dislodge European champion, Séamus Sexton, and win his place in the final of the Mother Hegarty Cup at Lyre.
Sexton set a blistering early pace reaching the forestry entrance in two huge bowls to lead by 50m. Murphy fell further behind when his third bowl pulled in right just past the tip. Sexton hit back with another massive bowl. Murphy’s reply went left this time and missed that to leave him well over a bowl drift.
Murphy was well shy of the tunnel after his fifth and Sexton made the tunnel to keep his lead well over a bowl. He followed with three more big bowls to Crowley’s bend, where his lead was close to two bowls of odds. Murphy’s prospects of getting back into it looked forlorn at this point.
The sands began to shift when Sexton missed the ‘cross-over’. Murphy made clear light with his reply from him. Sexton lofted impressively to go well up towards McCarthy’s bend. Murphy was now operating at a greater level of intensity and made light at McCarthy’s. Sexton beat that by just 15m to stay a full bowl clear, with the line getting closer.
Murphy put pressure on that lead with another great bowl to the big tree. Sexton’s reply caught the high wall and now the lead was under a bowl and the score was suddenly in play. Sexton’s next bowl, just beat Murphy’s tip and the score was level. Murphy went for the jugular with a scorching 13th shot towards the line, which Sexton missed well to concede the lead for the first time.
Murphy’s place in the final was confirmed when Sexton closed with a poor shot. It was a massive win for Murphy, getting him back on track after a dip in form and securing him a place in the final of one of the prestigious cups.
His uncle, Jerry, was not as lucky, he missed out in the last shot to Martin Connolly in the Munster Vintage (over-60) A semi-final at Béal na Marbh.
Here Connolly sets the early pace. They were level at the top of the hill after three shots. Connolly then made the rock in two more to go a clear shot. He held that lead in two more to light. Murphy leveled by covering the straight in three more. They made Taylor’s in another three. Murphy narrowly missed the line with a good last bowl, Connolly closed with a perfect one past the line.
Hannah Cronin won the Munster Intermediate League final at Béal na Bláth, reversing her championship defeat by All-Ireland champion Denise Murphy.
Cronin won each of the first three shots. Murphy won her first lead in the next exchange. She then beat two great bowls in succession from Cronin. Cronin regained the lead when she played her next one perfectly around the bend. Murphy went back in front immediately with a great bowl past the novice line.
Cronin hit back with a brilliant bowl to O’Mahony’s avenue, which put her back in front by 40m. Murphy produced a monster bowl to make sight for the junior line. Cronin’s was equally impressive, holding her advantage. Murphy cut the odds to 10m with her next towards the line. Cronin showed her mettle by closing it out in two more, for a famous win.
European Youth gold medalist, Darragh Dempsey, powered into the Marsh Road final with a commanding performance against Ger Connolly. In the final he will face Shane Shannon, who ended John Young’s recent purple patch.
Six brilliant bowls to the ‘silvery gate’ catapulted Dempsey two shots clear of Connolly. Nothing Connolly could do could bridge that gap. In the second semi-final both players missed chances to take control. Shannon finally gained a decisive lead with a big bowl to Thornhill cross. He didn’t build on that but did enough to fend off Young.
Declan Murphy beat Noel O’Regan by almost a bowl in the Jagoes Mills final. He led from the off and had 50m odds after five to the kerbs. He held most of that lead in the next two to Lawton’s. He increased his lead with his next one to the railway line and was almost a bowl ahead at the power station.