Cup exit but boost in the league

The Lurgan Senior team before their game at Dunbarton.
The Lurgan Senior team before their game at Dunbarton.

Dunbarton 97 Lurgan 60

Lurgan Seniors’ dream Irish Senior Cup run ended in a 37-shot defeat at the hands of a strong Dunbarton side.

The Lurgan team had phases of some good bowling but when the home side upped the tempo at critical stages Lurgan wilted under the pressure; resulting in 5-shot loses on some rinks to the visitors’ detriment.

Ivor Mitchell, Jeff McCullough, Pete McGrail and John Gilliland performed well on Rink 1 against Miles Greenfield’s strong rink that included the British Isles Triples Championship winners: Michael Higgins, Tony Bell and Andy Hughes.

The final 19-14 score in favour of the Dunbarton rink would have been quite different if the visitors had not lost ends by 5 shots on three occasions. To be fair to Gilliland’s rink did fight hard to clear the deficit; in the end falling short by just 5 shots.

The only winning Lurgan rink on the day was on No 2 where Bobby Boness, Dan Dempsey, Michael Bunting and Alan Briggs, skip faced Martin Trainor’s rink. Briggs’ rink got off to a fine start with 6-2 lead after 5 ends and was still holding a slender 10-9 lead at the midpoint. A good run between the 12th and 14th ends give them an extended lead of 17-12. Trainor’s rink took the last four ends in an effort to catch the Lurgan rink but they held on resolutely to win 19-18.

The strength of Conor McCartan’s home rink was evident in the second half of their game against Lurgan’s Ronnie McCullough, Mike Parr, Harry Cosgrove and Mansel Montgomery, skip. Montgomery’s rink was on par at 7-7 but a disastrous 7-shot loss at the halfway stage knocked the heart out of the visitors. McCartan’s rink went on to dominate the second half and finished with 9 shots off the last 2 ends to win 32-12. Three damaging 5-shot wins throughout Dick McClune, Declan McCabrey, Stephen Poots and skip Alan Roberts’ battle with DJ Wilson’s rink on No. 4 saw them lose 28-15. Danger signs appeared after they dropped 5-shots on the 8th to fall behind by 11-4. Although Roberts and his rink worked hard they were on the receiving end of a punishing 5-shot loss on the 13th end to allow Wilson’s rink to extend its lead 19-8; eventually winning 28-15.

Lurgan 80 (5.5 points)

Dundonald 78 ( (1.5 points)

Lurgan seniors gave themselves a chance of staying in division 1 with this win.

However Dundonald came back strong and after 18 ends it looked like defeat was on the horizion for Lurgan as they trailed by 10 shots. The seniors knowing defeat would all but end their season in relegation fought to the end, and with three rinks standing on the sideline watching on and only the skips to bowl the match was level and Lurgan were lying shot down which would see them losing.

With encouragement from his front three Lurgan’s hopes lay on the shoulders of skip Mansel Montgomery who with his first bowl of the end removed Dundonald’s shot to put Lurgan 2 up and with Dundonalds skip unable to change the situation meaning a skip Montgomery didn’t have to play his last bowl and Lurgan picking up the bonus 3 points.

On Rink 1 R Boness, D Dempsey, M Bunting and skip A Briggs started off perfectly winning the firsth 4 ends and were leading 7-2 after 5 ends and 11-6 . This would be as good as it would get for the Lurgan four as Dundonald controlled the second half of the game winning 19-15.

On Rink 2 R Jones, J McCullough, P McGrail and skip J Gilliland, started well leading 8-2 after 5 ends. The game would turn quickly as the Dundonald would lead 15-13 at three quarter distance. The Lurgan four never gave up and battled back to draw 22 earning a half point.

On Rink 3 R McCullough, M Parr, H Cosgrove and skip R.M. Montgomery lead from end one until the 19th end with the game tight it looked like the Dundonald four were peaking at the right time going into the last end 19-18. With the season on the line Lurgan edged it 20-19.

On Rink 4 R McClune, D McCabrey, G Bunting and skip A Roberts traded blows against Dundonald skip trailing by one shot after five ends, and one bad end seen them trail by 5 at the half 13-8.

The Lurgan four showed great spirit and had leveled the match 15 each at three quarter distance, from there Lurgan didn’t look back winning four of the last five ends for a margin 23-18.