If you see Cathal Butler and his Kinsale Golf Club Barton Shield team-mates bickering at the AIG Cups and Shields finals in Thurles this week, do not be alarmed, they’re just being friendly.
Or at least that is how Butler explains it as the Munster pennant winners prepare for a semi-final in their home province against Leinster champions Dundalk at Thurles GC on Thursday morning.
Munster interprovincial player Butler says the tight-knit squad are prone to disagreements but only because they have known each other since childhood.
And with a playing partner in Eric Rumley who is known as “Rumbles” it sounds like an argument is never far away.
Not that affects their effectiveness as a team. Kinsale came through Munster with Gary Ward and Keith Fitzpatrick as the lead pairing and Butler and Rumley playing in the second and final match with Ireland international John Murphy unavailable due to university commitments in America.
“It works really well. We’ve known each other for years, we’ve been playing golf since we were 10 or 11 so we were together in Fred Daly and all the juvenile competitions,” Butler told the.
It’s the same with Gary as well, we’re all the same age. Eric’s 20 and we’re 21. Keith’s a little bit older.
“He is 25 or 26 so we call him the oldie of the group which is harsh enough.
“But we all get on really well having come up through the ranks in Kinsale and we know each other’s games inside out and that’s huge.
“The thing is we argue all the time so if we have a disagreement or get upset with each other on the course it doesn’t really matter because we’re so used to having them. There’s no need to be kind or positive, positive, happy, happy with each other like you’d need to be with somebody you don’t know that well. We just tell each other how it is. It works really, really well.”
It makes one wonder whether any of the arguments ever go over the edge.
“No, not so far anyway,” Butler said.
“‘Rumbles’ will give me a bit of stick all right for always being in his ear. I’d be wrecking his head on the course plenty of times but other than that we get on fairly well.
If we lose, though, it could be a different story but so far we’ve been safe enough and Gary and Keith get on really well, they are both chilled out lads. Eric and myself would be a bit more intense but it’s a really good balance. We all fit well.
It is a landmark week for Kinsale, who hosted the Cups and Shields at their Farrangalway course in their centenary year in 2012 when Butler served as a ball spotter.
This time around it is the Co Cork club’s turn to compete, for not one but two of the Golfing Union of Ireland’s prestigious inter-club All-Ireland Cups and shields.
Not only the Barton Shield but Kinsale also won the Munster title in the Jimmy Bruen Shield and will face Ulster champions Lisburn in their semi-final on Friday morning, when they hope the scratch foursomes side will follow up in the Barton final later that day.
“It’s absolutely brilliant for the club, we’ve two teams heading to the Cups and Shields finals with our Jimmy Bruen team winning Munster as well. Someone told me it’s been 105 years since we won a Munster pennant and now we’ve got two of them in the one year.
“That’s just amazing and it’s really, really good for the club.
“Hopefully we can get good numbers down there and e-mails have been sent out for carpools and things like that so it’s going to be an absolutely brilliant occasion.”