Dunbarton adapt to tee up a repeat of 2015 Irish Cup final

Last year's finalists Dunbarton and Ballymena will clash again in this season's Irish Senior Cup.
Last year's finalists Dunbarton and Ballymena will clash again in this season's Irish Senior Cup.

Dunbarton teed up a repeat of last year’s Irish Senior Cup final as they fought past Bray in round one.

Their 15 shot victory set up a mouth-watering tie against old rivals Ballymena in the second round of the competition on Saturday 4th June.

On an artificial surface that the local players would not have been used to, they took time to settle into the game, finding themselves 14 shots adrift by five ends.

But by the halfway point they were level (39-39) and very quickly opened up an 11 shot lead (39-50).

And with some big bowls played across the green, the big game experience of this Dunbarton side came to the fore as they saw out the win.

On rink one, Michael Higgins, Tony Bell, Myles Greenfield and Andy Hughes faced skip E. O’Connor.

It was end five before Andy’s rink scored with a count of two shots but they followed that up with a four shot score and found themselves 5-6 ahead. In a game with few high counts, it was the Dunbarton rink’s scores of three shots on ends 12,13,17 and 21 which saw them run out 17-20 winners.

Rink two saw skip DJ Wilson and David Copeland, Jack Moffett and Alan Paul play Bray’s rink skipped by P Brett. The Dunbarton rink were the first to score shots for the team as the others slowly adapted to the green and were 1-3 ahead at three ends. However, they only won one of the next seven ends as they met the 10 end point 8-6 behind.

A steady second half and a change in length of jack saw Wilson’s rink outscore their opponents by 14 shots to six and win their game 14-20.

For James Kelly, Chris Mulholland, Gary McElroy and Conor McCartan on rink three, things could not have started any worse.

Despite lying shots on the opening ends, they found Bray skip Tony Murphy was having one of those days as he drew shot on a number of occasions and indeed found himself quite fortunate with some of the results.

The home rink raced into a 10-0 lead by the sixth end but McCartan’s rink hit back in style with 10 shots in two ends. After eight ends the scores were 10-10. Neither rink was ever able to maintain a big advantage in a close finish, but importantly for Dunbarton, Conor’s four were in front at the end with a 18-20 win.

Skip Martin Trainor and his combination of lead Sean Trainor, Kieran Trainor and Michael Merritt were drawn on rink four versus skip T Cahill.

Scores of 4-4-5 on ends three, eight and nine saw Dunbarton race into a 8-15 lead by the tenth. They will again be slightly disappointed with their finish to the game, as they only won two of the last seven ends but still had enough in reserve as the finished 18-22 in front.