Joy for the Rovers in Inter-Society finale at Fota

All that was missing was the menacing theme music from ‘Jaws’, such was the proliferation of sharks at Friday’s final of the hugely competitive Fota Island Resort Inter-Society golf competition.

Having come through the qualifying rounds, the five teams in the final knew only their best would be good enough to carry off a prize that makes it the envy of every society-based competition in this country — free golf at Fota for six months and a trip to Spain.

Supported by the Irish Examiner, the format of eight-person teams with the best five scores to count,ensures that only those stable ford contributions in the high thirties and early forties will be good enough to figure.

And so it proved last Friday as a team of veterans — Rovers from Kanturk — with a helping hand from Newcastle west and Bottle Hill near Mallow — emerged victorious with a grand total of 197 points — a counting average of over 39 pts per player.

For one member of the winning ‘Rovers’ society, Tom Nash, it completed a sporting year to remember, after watching his son Anthony — no mean golfer himself — break through to the Cork hurling team and win an All Star to boot.

In fact, Tom Nash missed one of the qualifying rounds for the very good reason that he was attending the All Stars ceremony in Dublin. But he more than made up for it on Friday with a 42 point contribution off 16.Peter Gibney, who hails from Newcastle west, also landed home with 42 pts off 21.

Eighteen-handicap Maurice Hickey came home with 40, and the other two counting team members were Matthew Geaney with 37 pts (off 19) and Donie Kiely with 36 points. The latter, off 17, has been Mr Consistency for the team through qualifying, with another 35 pt offering beforehand.

However, if it wasn’t for Jim Tobin, they might not have made the final at all. Though he had a modest 33 points on Friday — modest by his standards — he brought in a whopping 46 points in qualifying, resulting in a handicap cut from 21 to 18.

Kanturk club captain Donal Begley and Tom Nash’s brother Noel — who landed 35 points in qualifying — completed the victorious octet.

Said Tom Nash: “Genuinely, we are delighted with the prize, but the buzz of winning on the day is the real highlight for us. Plus the fact of six months free golf at a resort like Fota is really unbelievable, and something we’ll make use of for sure.”

Societies from Nenagh,Limerick, Charleville and the Cork Prison Service completed the final day line-up, with Charleville second and the Tipp representatives third.

Fota’s director of marketing Seamus Leahy reported that the Inter-Society event had exceeded the previous year’s entry numbers for the third successive occasion, a remarkable achievement in such straitened times.

Each of the finalists were loud in their praise of Fota Island, and the pristine condition of the course, for Friday’s showcase.

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