Not even the threat of a less than accommodating weather forecast could dampen the commitment and enthusiasm of the Rower-Inistioge GAA Club Golf Classic Chairman, Eddie Keher and his committee as they met at 7am in New Ross Golf last Thursday prior to the scheduling of their 13th consecutive classic .
Nonetheless, confidence was high that matters would run smoothly .Weekly meetings over the previous seven weeks ensured that nothing was left to chance .Also, the experience gathered over the previous years would ensure that the show would go on , barring a climatic catastrophe .
The show did go on. And what a show it was .Such was the near military –like effectiveness of the arrangements in relation time- keeping that all other possible gremlins were treated merely as irritants rather than possible problems .That almost 60 teams could be accommodated some 30 minutes ahead of schedule says it all . So prevalent was feel good factor that the sun felt compelled to appear around midday .
As usual all the various services that New Ross Golf Club provides on such a day were exemplary. From the condition of the course, to the eating and general bar facilities, to the provision of course marshals and score keepers, nothing but the highest praise is warranted. Also to be granted full use of the Club and all its services for an entire day at such a busy golf time is greatly appreciated
The presence of so many All- Ireland winners of all grades makes the writers Junior Football championship medal appear extremely modest .In addition to Eddie Keher also observed dissecting the fairways were Noel Skehan, Seamus Cleere, Pat Kavanagh, Billy Murphy, Fr Tom Murphy, Pat Dunphy, Tommy Malone, Michael Lyng, Pierce Freaney,Dermot Fennelly, Kieran Joyce , Eamonn Doyle, Eddie Aylward and Johnny Murphy. Former icons ,Willie Murphy (Wexford ) and Brian Murphy (Cork ) were welcome additions to our star cast.
Well known G A A administrators in attendance were Paul Kinsella (Co Chairman ) Brendan OSullivan ,Ned Buggy and Liam Daniels (Dunhill)
Representing the print media was Gerry O Neill (Kilkenny Bible). Paul Cashin,who won a League of Ireland title with Shamrock Rovers in the 1980s , added a touch of sporting ecumenism to the occasion .
The motor industry was again very much to the fore in the sponsorship stakes The contributions of Hyundai Cars (Ireland ) as the events main sponsor ,that of Mitsubishi (Ireland ) as Clubhouse sponsor ,and those of Michael Lyng Cars and Crosby Transport Ltd (both leading prize sponsors ) more than significantly boosted the Classics financial returns .
As ever ,the highlight of the day’s events was the prize giving ceremony, The array of prizes on offer would do justice to a highly publicised Pro-Am, and sincere thanks is due to all the various sponsors who came on board. On of the features of Chairman ,Eddie Kehers remarks over the years is that each and every sponsor is individually and publicly thanked, irrespective of the value of their contribution.
Once again the large gathering who attended the prize giving ceremony (which has always been a feature of the Classic ) were treated to another presentation of guest speaker , Michael O’Mhuirceartaigh vast store of sporting experiences ,which he characteristically embellished with a verbal dexterity that one could only simultaneously marvel and envy at
An extra attraction this year was the presence of RTEs Pat Kenny. Pat ,who attended in his role as “ Mitsubishi Brand Ambassador “ was a revelation , Absent was the professional TV image for which he is sometimes unfairly criticized. He was witty , self deprecating , enlightening and genuinely appeared delighted to be present. Pat made appropriate mileage out of the fact that his wife Cathy is a niece of the recently deceased Mickey Walsh ,who captained The Rower- Inistioge to the 1968 senior county championship title. New Ross Club President ,John Dowling and Rower –Inistioge Chairman ,Jack Lyng also addresses the large gathering.
In summary ,the day ,from every conceivable aspect, has to be regarded as an outstanding success ,possibly the best to date .Given the prevailing difficult economic times the response from the business world to our cause is nothing short of staggering, as indeed is the commitment of so many golfers to play merely in support of the event. This years success raises the bar for next year ,but with Chairman Eddie on board ,driving on his totally focused Committee , raised bars only provide targets to be surmounted .
Next year’s Classic is already set (second Thursday in May). Treat yourself and friends to a wonderful day out by contacting main Classic co-ordinator and major sponsor ,Michael Lyng (056- 707000 ).