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Legend of road bowling Seamus is laid to rest

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A final farewell for Road Bowling legend Seamus Sexton and a guard of honour following a funeral Mass in Lyre. Picture John Tarrant

A final farewell for Road Bowling legend Seamus Sexton and a guard of honour following a funeral Mass in Lyre. Picture John Tarrant

The late Seamus Sexton celebrates a Munster Championship victory in 1999 with public representatives and friends at a reception at Moll Carthys Bridge, Kilcorney. Picture John Tarrant

The late Seamus Sexton celebrates a Munster Championship victory in 1999 with public representatives and friends at a reception at Moll Carthys Bridge, Kilcorney. Picture John Tarrant

The late Seamus Sexton having won Munster and All Ireland Junior titles in 1971

The late Seamus Sexton having won Munster and All Ireland Junior titles in 1971

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A final farewell for Road Bowling legend Seamus Sexton and a guard of honour following a funeral Mass in Lyre. Picture John Tarrant

corkman

Nadd regrets the passing of Seamus Sexton, a towering figure in road bowling who represented his community, club, county and country with great distinction for close on 50 years.

A trailblazer who proved to be an inspiration, he brought joy and delight to Duhallow on landing All Ireland and European success.

A larger-than-life figure, Sexton became one of road bowling's longest exponents at the top level, his temperament and the commitment capable of taking the top honours. North Cork Region bowling official Willie Murphy paid tribute to a wonderful exponent of road bowling.

"We were shocked to hear of Seamus' untimely death, he was present at a score in Bweeng, the previous evening and in great form. Through a lifetime involvement, he was synonymous with road bowling, supporting all levels of the sport, he respected opponents and was held in the highest of esteem", he said.

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The Donoughmore based officer spoke of many outstanding achievements in Seamus Sexton's long career.

"One that stands out for me was the 1987 Munster Senior Final, his opponent Christy Mullins threw milers but Seamus answered to better him by 20 to 30 yards. Earlier, he had taken the sport by storm in 1971, delivering a sweet style of throwing much to the enjoyment of road bowling supporters, it's fair to say, Seamus was one of a kind", said Willie.

Over the years, the sporting public of the great Bold Thady Quill countryside had reason to raise their glasses in salute of a local sporting celebrity. Sexton owed his talents and influence to bowling to his father Ted on teaching him the skill required to maintain an interest in the sport.

1971 heralded the arrival of Sexton to begin a collection of championship wins by defeating Dermot O'Sullivan in the Munster Championships at Ballyshonin and progressing to add an All Ireland title to better Brendan Digby of Armagh at the same venue.

Onto Intermediate grade, Sexton took runner up placing to Mick O'Driscoll in the 1972 Munster Championship. Internationally Sexton gathered experience to collect a gold medal in the '74 European Bowling in Germany and repeated the performance three years later in Cork.

From 1981, Sexton again mounted the rostrum- seizing the opportunity to display his potential of real merit on victory in the Munster Championship on bettering O'Driscoll only for the ultimate prize of national senior accolades were foiled by Harry Toal Junior in Armagh.

However fortune favours the brave and Seamus Sexton's greatest day in the sunset came in 1987 beginning on a Munster Senior Championship win over Christy Mullins at the Mills.

'Brave, courageous and determined' were words to sum up the attributes of Sexton's display in the All Ireland Final on bettering Gerry Boylan at Whitechurch.

Rounding off an unforgettable year was triumph over great rival Bill Daly in the King of the Roads.

Delighted supporters showered congratulations on Sexton at watering holes in Nadd, Kilcorney, Banteer and further afield toasting a worthy champion and great exponent to the sport.

"Victory in that 1987 All Ireland Senior Championship Final remains my biggest thrill," said Seamus in a review of his career.

Runner up in two subsequent Munster Finals, Sexton added a bronze medal at the 1992 European Championship though he remained in the background for much of the 90s.

A second comeback surfaced in 1999, the Sexton renaissance hit the forefront, the good days returned on overcoming the fancied Kieran Gould in a captivating Munster Championship Final.

That placed Sexton into the All Ireland Final, many of a 10,000-strong attendance willed Sexton in Lyre near Clonakilty against the hotly-fancied Michael Toal of Armagh in a score setting a record £20,000 in stake money.

In a cauldron of excitement and tension on a balmy Sunday afternoon resulted on a gallant Sexton bid succumbing to the Orchard county hopeful. Though disappointed, Sexton had reason to feel satisfied on coming to the top of the pile again in the Southern bowling.

Success continued, winner of the prestigious Pat Barry Cup in Donoughmore followed by All Ireland Veterans victory over Harry Toal in 2003.

Sons of the late Seamus, Edmund and Seamus Junior followed their dad into Road Bowling and the pair enjoyed outstanding success.

And one of Seamus Sexton's fiercest opponents Bill Daly summed up the qualities of a great sportsman.

"I played against Seamus on several occasions down through the years and always found him to be a great competitor from start to finish, one of the greatest exponents Road bowling has ever produced, a player possessed with great natural ability and a proud sportsman, Seamus will be greatly missed but fondly remembered," he said.


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