THIRTY years ago three staunch members of Carrigtwohill GAA Club made sporting headlines without ever pucking a sliotar or kicking a football.
Eddie O’Riordan, Oliver O’Brien, and Seamus Cotter decided to do something different when it came to helping their club.
They embarked on a marathon golf challenge, playing a round of golf on three courses in three counties in one day as they journeyed to Kerry and Limerick before concluding on home ground.
Three decades on the trio are reflecting on what they started — a hugely popular annual golf classic in aid of Carrigtwohill GAA Club which has stood the test of time and has been established as one the best of it’s kind in the county. The club is holding this year’s event in mid June.
A recent launch night got plans up and running but also provided an ideal opportunity to relive that exciting adventure in 1992, when Ballybunion, Adare, and Cork Golf Clubs all played host to what were at the time — three celebrity visitors.
O’Riordan, Carrigtwohill president, was the inspiration behind the idea and drove the project with massive enthusiasm in months beforehand.
He is responsible for the success of the classic since then and is again eagerly looking forward to meeting old friends and forming new friendships in a few weeks.
Eddie was first to address the attendees at the launch and he recalled how the treasurer’s report at the 1991 AGM showed the club in “dire straits” financially.
He suggested that in order to raise much-needed funds, he would play 54 holes of golf in a single day with 100 miles between each of three golf courses.
He needed two ‘young fellas’ to join him. Séamus Cotter and Oliver O’Brien volunteered; the three caddies were Liam Walsh, Thomas O’Brien and Bobby Keating (RIP).
Eddie Ahern was the driver in a state car ‘borrowed’ from his brother, Michael Ahern TD.
“The first ball was struck at 6am in Ballybunion after pre-hydrating in the club bar until 3am. It was then on to Adare and finally a 6pm tee-off in Cork Golf Club, finishing the 54th hole at 10pm,” Eddie said.
“The club received over £5,000 from that fundraiser and a nice sum was also raised for a cancer charity,” adding
“that after there had been a lot of giggling at the AGM as to what golf — an exotic game in the early 1990s — had to do with hurling or football, people changed their tune when they saw the amount of money that was raised”.
O’Brien noted that you could count on two hands how many people in Carrigtwohill played golf when the classic was in its infancy.
He acknowledged how Dónal Broderick came on board in the second year and was pivotal in routing funds from the event towards the provision of vital equipment in a Cork hospital for sick children.
In a jovial trip down memory lane, the third member of that first-day squad, Séamus Cotter, reflected on the launch night for the first classic in Guinness House in Cork, which put the bar staff in the establishment under pressure to serve the drinks fast enough for the “well-seasoned drinkers” in tow.
He wished the current committee the very best going forward.
Current Carrigtwohill chairman Peter Hogan acknowledged Jim Morrissey and Seán Harte (RIP) for their sterling work behind the scenes.
Peter commended Norman Walsh and Jimmy O’Reilly for their ongoing work with the event.
He thanked the main sponsor, Guilder’s Bar, and the associate sponsors and acknowledged the help of David Keane.
Current committee chairman, Norman Walsh emphasised that the organisers were very eager to reach out to the grassroots of the community with this year’s event.
He encouraged all sections of the club to promote the event amongst their members, parents and supporters.
Norman noted that the golf classic has raised in excess of €300,000 in the 30 years of its existence.
Significantly, Walsh also announced the opening of the club Hall of Fame which will acknowledge the outstanding efforts of club personnel.
Fittingly, the first awards will be presented to the ‘three amigos’ O’Riordan, Cotter, and O’Brien and their entourage, which is where it all started.
- This year’s Carrigtwohill GAA Golf Classic will take place at East Cork Golf Club on June 22 and 23. More information from 087-2932818.