The Rathcoffey tournament held in late August annually exceeded all expectations by the number of entries, and for the first time in any tournament the number of entries reached the magic forty.
The action began on Thursday 24th August in the magnificent and spacious Rathcoffey GAA hall and concluded with the semi-finals and finals in both the Cup and Shield on Sunday 27th. If it weren’t for the fact that the hall could accommodate eight mats it would no doubt have created a massive headache for the organisers to squeeze so many fixture in such a short period of time.
There were some great contests throughout in the early rounds, with some games having to be decided on a tiebreaker.
In the Cup semi-finals Baltinglass saw off the challenge of Ardclough1 and Kildare2 Bt. Kill.
In the Shield semi-finals Allen2 overcame Ryston after a very close and entertaining game, whereas Ardclough2 just edged out Allen1 by the bare minimum.
Baltinglass make no mistake second time around
Cup final: Kildare2 and Baltinglass served up a very good game of bowls in this final. Kildare started off very well and looked comfortable in the early exchanges, but gradually the West Wicklow side came more and more into the game. Although it was ‘nip and tuck’ for long periods it was Baltinglass that began to add on the scores and at the three-quarter way stage of the match had taken a commanding lead to give them a nine score advantage and it looked like a victory was a foregone conclusion.
But Kildare weren’t giving up without a fight and a gallant effort reduced the margin down to four with one end to play. Baltinglass were not going to be deprived and added two more scores to their tally in that last end to win on a final score of 17/11.
Baltinglass were edged out at the death last year in the final and were not going to make that mistake on the second time around.
Best for the winners were John Kehoe and Colin Jackson after a slow start, while Margaret Gorry and Teresa Broughal were to the fore for Kildare.
Baltinglass: John Kehoe, Colin Jackson, Joey Fagan and Edward Lawrence.
Kildare: Margaret Gorry, Dave O’Connell, Teresa Broughal and Frank Connolly.
Allen2 v Ardclough 2. This clash had all the hallmarks of producing a thriller, as both teams had all very experienced players on their sides. Ardclough would be the slight favourites and were expected to shade it in a tight battle.
Although Allen started well with a score of one it was not until the sixth end that they got on the scoreboard again, and by that time their opponents had taken a lead of six (7/1), though that score reduced the margin to four it was short lived.
Again Ardclough took the initiative and piled more misery on their opponents. Allen were playing every bit as well as Ardclough, but the difference was every time Allen were holding a score their opponents seem to have the ability to nudge them out for scores themselves.
With nine ends played the outcome didn’t look good for Allen, as Ardclough had surged ahead on a comfortable score of 12/3.
This Allen team must have inherited some of the fighting qualities of the legendary and mythical warrior Fionn MacCumhaill whose campsite is believed to have been on the Hill of Allen, because for the remainder of the game they held their opponents to a single score, and reeled off score after score themselves, and edged out a shocked Ardclough side on a scoreline of Allen 14 Ardclough 13. This was a great game of bowls by two great teams.
Allen: Mary Brennan, Paddy Boland, Concepta Mullally and Ann McCormack.
Ardclough: Brian Cullen, Veronica Sheridan, Tony Maguire and Dom Maguire.
Well done to winners and to all the clubs that participated to make it such a wonderful success
and to all who donated prizes for the raffle.
Of course a big thanks to the Rathcoffey Bowling Club for their hard work behind the scenes to make this such a popular tournament and to the Rathcoffey GAA club for the use of their fantastic facilities.
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