Last week’s gathering at Mallow’s Hibernian Hotel saw more than 300 delegates from all 85 Munster golf clubs attend and vote in new officers.
Douglas Community School principal Long topped a three-way ballot, the first in more than two decades, seeing off Muskerry’s Liam Harkin and Castleisland’s Michael Lawlor, both of whom were outgoing officers of the branch.
The incoming chairman had served as honorary secretary of the Munster Branch and held the position of junior convenor at national level.
Long succeeds long-time servant of the branch John Moloughney, whose four-year term as chairman capped a 24-year tenure on the Munster Council. The outgoing chair was proposed as president- elect of the Golfing Union of Ireland, validated by delegates, and will be formally nominated at the national AGM in February.
The Munster Branch AGM also saw the election of Barry Lynch (Raffeen Creek) as honorary secretary, succeeding Long, while Cork’s Dave Prendergast followed Harkin with his election as honorary match & handicapping secretary.
Treasurer Peter English reported a deficit for the year of €25,000, in line with expectations but added there was a better outlook for the coming year given the pending increase in the provincial levy, voted in last year.
He also welcomed an increase in the number of adult golfers, albeit a 1.3% rise, (up 391 to 28,596) but nevertheless a reversal of the reduction in numbers reported in each of the past seven years. However, there was a drop of 4.5% in junior membership (down 228 to 4,810).
Match & handicapping secretary Liam Harkin addressed the topic of handicaps in relation to the annual inter-club Cups and Shields competitions. He said those events highlighted the way some clubs use the system to produce teams who play to a standard far better than the figures. To deal with this, the handicap committee has electronically monitored a number of clubs and have also carried out audits, while advisory visits have produced some positive action, although the process is ongoing.
The subject of handicaps was also raised in a number of motions put before the AGM with delegates rejecting kindred proposals from Donabate in Leinster and Ulster’s Co. Armagh Golf Clubs to raise the limit on increasing handicaps from one shot to two shots per annum.
In another significant vote, a large majority carried Killarney Golf & Fishing Club’s motion to increase competitive fixtures at under-18 level and clarify a perceived ambiguity in the conditions of entry for the Fred Daly Plate competition.
The amendment means clubs must now first enter the Fred Daly Trophy competition with clubs defeated in their first match then eligible to compete in the Fred Daly Plate competition, thus providing at least two inter-club matches per year at under-18 level.