North West young guns have plenty more to offer, says Ryan O’Neill

James Robinson slipped to defeat against North West's Stephen Kennedy
James Robinson slipped to defeat against North West's Stephen Kennedy

North West’s Ryan O’Neill believes the best is yet to come from his youthful North West side after they clinched the Irish Indoor Bowling Association’s Junior Inter-zone title at Ardboe Community Centre.

They produced a magnificent display to pick up the title for the first time since the competition’s inaugural year back in 1999.

Having emerged with distinction from the qualifying heats against Northern, Mid Antrim and Donegal earlier in the campaign, North West was joined by Armagh, Western and the current champions, North Down, in the semi finals.

O’Neill’s braves roared to victory against Armagh, who were looking for their first success at this level in the semi finals, before dethroning North Down in the showcase decider.

“It’s a great group of kids,” beamed O’Neill. “We brought 17 players with us and they all got medals. “Hopefully, it’s the start of things to come for the zone. It’s been a great year with the junior trophy joining the McIlroy Cup that the senior ladies team won a few weeks back.”

North West strolled past the challenge of Armagh in their opening outing, Jamie Caskie was the top performer, skipping his combination to a runaway 13-2 win over Ryan Adair.

And, the Kennedy brothers were also in top form with Graham beating Sean Breen 8-5 and Stephen claiming a 9-6 victory over James Robinson.

In the other tie, title holders North Down, snuffed out the challenge off Western, the 2005 champions.

North Down also had a family connection with the Hastings brothers, Curtis and Matthew racking up wins against Shay Cadden (10-7) and Brendon Power (11-5). Ryan Cavan finished the job by beating Darron Graydon 12-7.

Unfortunately, that was as good as it got for the reigning champions. Stephen Kennedy was instrumental in their downfall, roaring to a 12-3 success over Cavan.

Graham Kennedy also enjoyed a 9-7 win over Matthew Hastings. On the remaining mat, Curtis Hastings battled out a 10-10 draw with Caskie.

The IIBA’s Harold Massey saluted the loyal backing of the sponsors, adding: “Once again the Association is indebted to Geoff Falconer of Falconer, Stewart, Chartered Accountants for his continued support of this championship, an event which is so vital to the development of the short mat game.

“The performance of the players on show was top class. There is no doubt that many of them will have a big future in the sport.”


Semi finals: Armagh 13 North West 30 (J Robinson 6 S Kennedy 9; S Breen 5 G Kennedy 8; R Adair 2 J Caskie 13).

Western 19 North Down 33 (S Cadden 7 C Hastings 10; B Power 5 M Hastings 11; D Graydon 7 R Cavan 12).

Final: North Down 20 North West 31 (R Cavan 3 S Kennedy 12; C Hastings 10 J Caskie 10; M Hastings 7 G Kennedy 9).

Bowls results:

Belfast Indoor Bowls Stadium Club Championships

Singles semi final: P McEwan 21 D Corkill 15; Final: McEwan 5 S Martin 21.

Junior singles semi final: R Millar v T Crawford w/o; A Johnston 21 S Kirkwood 18. Final: Crawford 10 Johnston 21.

Pairs semi final: S Martin 21 R Battersby 13; J McCullough 13 M Merritt 3.

Triples semi final: A Roberts 13 M Merritt 14; S Martin 13 P McEwan 7. Final: Martin 11 Merritt 12

Fours semi final: S Elliman w/o v R Battersby; P Prunty 17 D Corkill 20; Senior singles final: J Kerr 17 M Martin 21; Senior pairs semi final: R McKitterick 17 M McKeown 15; S Elliman 21 S Hagan 11.

Senior fours final: M Dunlop 18 A Robinson 13.

Ladies singles final: A Pinnington 2 S Bailie 21; Ladies pairs final: S Bailie 18 M McGuile 10.

Ladies triples final: C Eadie 8 P Smyth 21.

Ladies fours final: S Bailie 22 I Minnis 9.

Vera McCourt Cup: I Minnis 8 H Wilson 14.

Jethro Rinks League

Morning Section: W.Clinghan 15 (1) A.Magee 16 (3), C.Maguire 14 (0) T.McCartan 20 (3), J.Taylor 12 (1) C.Whitty 14 (3), G.Richardson 14 (3) W.Cairns 8 (0) W.Cousins 15 (2) M.Milligan 15 (2), R.Neely 6 (0) R.Hunter 16 (3).

Top two League positions in the Morning Section with only one game to play: Winner: R Hunter 55 pts; 168.75 shot difference. Runner up: W Clinghan 48pts; 91.75 shot difference.

Afternoon Section: N: W.Kinnon 16 (3) S.Garvey 13 (1), J.Mackle 14 (3) G.Bell 13 (1), S.White 14 (1) L.Magennis 17 (3), B.Boness 9 (0) W.Martin 16 (3 N.Orr 16 (1) N.Conlon 18 (3).

Top two League positions in Afternoon Section with only one game to play: W Martin 50 pts; 75 shot difference. W Kinnon 49 pts; 115 shot difference.

Finals are scheduled for Thursday, March 13 (10am). Final for the House 2 Home Cup: R.Hunter will play winner of Afternoon Section third and fourth play-off game. W.Clinghan will play runner-up in Afternoon Section.