The change in format, suggested by the branch, was outlined by chairman John Brett 's at the annual delegates' meeting in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow, Co Cork. He said the council had given careful consideration over several months to the multiplicity of problems arising in the running of competitions. The demands on players was also taken into account.
Under the new format, the branch will be divided into eight sections. After the preliminary strokeplay rounds, two clubs will emerge from each area to play match-play the following day. After that it would be all match-play.
The suggestion was not listed as a motion on the syllabus and this caused concern to some delegates, notably Declan Mangan of Dooks and Ralph O'Connor of Killarney. They felt clubs should have been given a chance to discuss the matter beforehand.
They were also concerned at the change to strokeplay for the preliminary rounds and the very essence of these competitions over the years was matchplay and in their view the situation should remain.
Mr Brett outlined the problems encountered in arranging a crowded calendar of events and following support for the idea from former President Percy Shannon of Mallow and Matt Sands of Cork and others, the meeting approved on a show of hands the adoption of plan for 2003.
Said Mr Brett: "It is the best option we can put before you at this time and while it is not our intention to dictate, we nevertheless have the responsibility to run the competitions.
Pat Finn of the GUI head office updated the delegates on the progress of the centralised database of handicaps and said some clubs had not yet sent the necessary membership information. He said that of the 395 clubs in the country, 320 had returned valid data, 220 had signed off on the data, and 89 were fully online. He said Ceann Sibeal were the first club in the country to get online.
The meeting was also addressed by GUI president Jack Lynch who congratulated the successful Munster teams in various All-Ireland competitions Woodstock (Pierce Purcell Shield), Killarney (Irish Junior Cup), Limerick (Irish Senior Cup) and Bandon (Irish Mixed Foursomes). He congratulated Ballybunion on winning an environmental award in the Club Of The Year Competition and he also urged clubs to support the Junior Charter introduced during the year in the advancement of underage activity.
All the outgoing officers were returned as follows:
Chairman John Brett Douglas; Hon. Sec. Sean McMahon Adare Manor; Hon. Treas.Bernard Hynes, Carrick-on-Suir; Hon. Match and Handicap Secretary Ml.Cashman Cobh; Hon. Delegate to Central Council George Crosbie, Cork.
In the election of delegates to the Provincial Council Newcomer Graham McKay of Macroom joins Michael Lawlor , Tralee, Alan McIlraith, Tramore, Liam Martin, Castletroy, Michael Minihan, Bandon, John Moloughney, Templemore, John Molyneaux, Ballybunion, Christy Moylan, Shannon, Michael Murphy, Newcastle West, Pat Murphy, West Waterford, Bill Murphy, Fermoy, Paddy O'Connor, Muskerry, Pat O'Dwyer, Kenmare, John O'Grady, Thurles, Sean O'Leary, Mahon, Philip O'Sullivan, Monkstown, Tom Seacy, Cork.