Munster and Leinster recognised the top golfers and clubs of 2016 at their Annual Delegates Meetings on Tuesday.
Leinster met at Westmanstown with John Ferriter, Chairman of Leinster Golf, presenting the awards to Under 14 Order of Merit winner Joseph Byrne (Baltinglass), Youths winner Jake Whelan (Newlands) and Under 18 winner John Brady (Rosslare).
The senior and under 18 awards were won by Daniel Holland of Castle and Kilkenny's Mark Power who are with the senior men's panel in Spain,.
In Munster, outgoing chairman John Moloughney presented seven awards:
Junior Golfer of the Year: John Murphy (Kinsale)
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By any yardstick, John had a superb year in Junior Golf. He began by winning the U18 category in the Munster Youths and then took part in a friendly match against France. In July he had a fantastic win in the Munster Boys, with birdies on the last two holes; two weeks later he was second in the Ulster Boys. In the Boys Interpros in Tullamore, he won a very creditable 3.5 points out of 6, singles and foursomes. Top-twenty or better finishes followed in the Connacht Boys and Ulster Boys. John led the qualifiers in the European Boys Team Championship and contributed handsomely to Ireland’s fine win in the event, securing promotion to Division 1 in 2017. He is also the Winner of the Munster Golf U18 Order of Merit for 2016. For consistently producing high quality golf throughout the season, John is the worthy recipient of the Junior Golfer of the Year Award.
International Player of the Year: Robin Dawson (Tramore)
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This year Munster Golf are awarding International Player of the Year 2016 to Robin Dawson, Tramore Golf Club. Robin won the World University Championship at Golf de Planchetorte, Brieve, France last June and helped Maynooth University Golf Team into a silver medal position. He was also a part of the victorious Home International team, which won the championship for the third year in a row and also included winning the Raymond Trophy. Robin was also a member of the Munster Senior Interprovincial Team. Robin was the leading qualifier at the Argentina Amateur Open Championship played at Tortugas Country Club last November and featured well in many other high ranking Championships.
Senior Golfer of the Year: Cathal Butler (Kinsale)
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This year Munster Golf awards the Senior Golfer of the Year Award to Kinsale’s Cathal Butler. After coming back from injury for 3 months, and after spending most of his time preparing for the season in Portmarnock, Cathal came back in fine style and winning the Fota Island Senior Scratch Cup, the Munster Stroke Play and the Killarney Senior Scratch Cup. Cathal was also selected for the World University Games where his Team Maynooth University won a silver medal and he finished T15th in the individual championship. Cathal was also selected on the Munster Senior Interprovincial Team. He finished well in high ranking Championships such as South of Ireland, East, West and Irish Amateur Close. Cathal is also the Winner of the Munster Golf Senior Order of Merit for 2016.
Junior Club of the Year: Limerick Golf Club
Congratulations to Limerick Golf Club on winning the prestigious Fred Daly Trophy, a national trophy since 1995. Munster teams have reached the final on several occasions with Mallow beaten finalists in 2015. Limerick has been in the finals on a number of occasions the last time in 2007 when they were defeated by Greystones in the semi-final whose team was led by Paul Dunne. In the Munster finals they overcame the reigning champions Mallow and in the Final they beat Waterford Castle, with the 5th match going to the 19th. In the national semi-final they beat all Ireland champions Kilkenny and Athenry the Connacht champions on a score of 4-1 winning the first three matches to become the first Munster Champions of the Fred Daly Trophy.
Team of the Year: U16 interprovincial Team
Having seen the gap narrow between Munster on Leinster and Ulster over the past few years, it was just rewards in some respects to get our hands on the trophy in 2016. There was a good Munster team starting out, three of the players having been involved last year, when Munster started brightly but failed to follow through. For the second year in a row Munster beat Leinster in the first match, following up with a nail biting half against Ulster. Connacht meanwhile were also going very well, and had one more point than we had after Day 1. So Munster had to win against Connacht, a half would suffice for them. The team duly delivered, in what was a thrilling match. Ian Halpin may have been our best player with 2.5 points out of 3 and Jack Egan may have holed the winning putt on 18 in match 5 but all six players made vital contributions to what was a team effort from start to finish. A little bit of history was made, as previously only Leinster or Ulster took the trophy.
Team Members: Charlie Dawson (Tramore), Jack Egan (Muskerry), Sean Enright (Limerick), Ian Halpin (Cahir Park), Jonathan Keane (Lahinch) and Edward Walsh (Mallow). Captain: Kevin Murray and Manager John Fennessy.
Club of the Year: Cork Golf Club
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Founded in 1888 the Club moved to its present site in 1897. Dr. Alister MacKenzie redesigned the course in 1924/1925. In 2010 – 2012 major alterations were carried out under Martin Hawtree to restore the MacKenzie design. The Club has hosted many major Amateur and Professional Championships over the years. Graeme McDowell won the Irish Youths in 1999. Shane Lowry won the Irish Close in 2007. Paul McGinley was granted Hon. Life Membership in 2013 in recognition of being made Ryder Cup Captain. The Club has won 14 national pennants and in 2016 won the Munster Barton Shield and also hosted the Munster Finals of the Senior Cup, Barton Shield and Junior Cup in 2016. The Club boasts established players who had a very successful 2016. Tom Cleary represented Ireland at the European Seniors and won the Irish Seniors Amateur Open, John Hickey who won the Irish Intervarsity Championship; Gary O’Flaherty won the Irish Mid-Amateur Championship and Castletroy Scratch Cup. Rachel Thompson represented Ireland at girl’s level and won the Midland Girls Championship. The Munster Stroke Play Championship incorporating the Cork Scratch Cup started in 2006 and has now grown into a much sought after title. The Club has a history of staff with long service: Matt Sands - General Manager (28 years), Anthony Gillis – Course Superintendent (52 years), Peter Hickey – Professional (21 years), Gerry Kenneally – Kitchen (27 years). The Club is renowned for the friendly welcome, condition of the course and quality of the food.
Club Recognition Award: Clonmel Golf Club
After staging a very successful Munster Boys championship in 2015 which saw the talented Spanish boy, Eduard Rousard break the course record with a fantastic winning score of 64, Clonmel played host to the Irish Junior Foursomes and Irish Boys open in August of this year. With the scenic course once again in great order, young Irish international, John Brady from Rosslare beat off the overseas challenge from eight different countries and the best from these shores to win the title. In round two, John equalled the Spanish boy’s course record. Clonmel Golf Club including its members both ladies and gents did the club proud with their magnificent work in making these Championships a wonderful success.