Annual Dinner and Golf Outing 2010

Our Annual Dinner, AGM and Golf Outing took place on the 3rd of Sept in the stunning setting of the magnificent Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, just outside Limerick.

All photos were taken and contributed by Jim Finn

This is our second visit to Adare’s showcase Irish Open Golf course thanks in the main to Tim Geary’s intercession in getting both the golf and accommodation rates down to reasonable levels, with most of the travellers playing and staying.

As usual our long suffering staff photographer Jim Finn was on hand to catch things as they happened, and sometimes didn’t, and an excellent slideshow has been produced from his efforts. Just follow the instructions on the site to access this. Great work as from Jim, as usual!

All kinds of firsts were achieved this year with the bar now at an unprecedented high.

Hosted by our President Roger Fitzgerald the day kicked off in brilliant sunshine with a record turnout for the golf which got underway just after 11am under the watchful eye of starter John Power. The course was truly memorable being in pristine condition and over 40 hardened warriors went into battle, split very unevenly between those who could play golf and those who thought they could play golf, as evidenced by the results!

Ciaran Smyth who has always been near the top of our leaderboards lifted the Trophy with a fantastic score of 42pts. Runner-up was Noel Garland with the holder Eddie Cogan in third place

The rest of us seemed to have played a different course (probably those who thought they could play golf!)

Michael D. Lynch who had crossed the Atlantic to join us for his very first re-union took the Best Gross. He said he’s definitely coming back next year.

After a respectable interval, (for showering, beautifying, afternoon napping for some, re-fuelling for others), all convened (well most of us anyway) for the AGM, controlled as always by the ever present Paul Kerrigan. Under his direction the usual plethora of business was swiftly dealt with culminating in the re-election of the council members (yawn) and the nomination and election of John (The Ussher) Connolly as incoming President for 2011. He has a hard act to follow particularly with a Munster man handing over the reins.

The management (God love them) tried to get the dinner going after the AGM but the wait staff had some difficulty finding everyone. This despite the fact that the AGM was held in the same room as the dinner! That’s definitely not a first! At over 70 sitting down to dinner another record was set this being the highest attendance for a re-union outside those that were held for special occasions in the College. Quite an achievement by any stretch of the imagination when you consider that we haven’t had a new member since 1975 and that our youngest member must by now have reached the 50 mark. It’s indeed a credit to everyone present for making the time and effort to support this event and long may it continue.

A feature of this year’s event and another first for the sheer numbers present was the inclusion of the Class of ’65 who combined their own 45th year re-union with the annual dinner. There’s a nice picture of all of them in the slideshow. Many of the class travelled from afar to be there and with a turnout of over 80% it was in it’s own right a great success. Thanks to Paul Malone, John Connolly and of course the President for leaning heavily on so many of their classmates to attend. There must be a lesson in there somewhere!

Where would we be without the J’s. To their eternal credit once more they were there in force. We had Fr Senan Timoney who travelled from Belfast, Frs Joe Brennan and Michael Sheil who came from Dublin and Fr Brendan Carmody (Class of ’65) who came over from London. Also present were two ex J’s in Tommy (Shorty) Galvin and David Deighan (Class of ’65).

After dinner Fr. Joe gave an off the cuff talk on one of his favourite topics which had the audience spellbound for nearly 15 minutes. He finished to a standing ovation. Must be another first keeping that lot quite for 15 minutes!

The evening, as is the norm at these events, went on into the early hours gradually becoming morning for some of the usual suspects. We managed to keep the club house open well beyond it’s bed time but eventually management prevailed and those who were left repaired to the hotel proper and promptly got stuck into the remnants of a wedding party, singing and giving it loads of you know what.

When it comes to loyalty to the cause you don’t have to look any farther then the Garland Family, and it would be remiss of us not to give them a special mention. All five brothers Paddy, Brian, Frank, Noel and Kevin played in the golf and attended the dinner. It doesn’t get much better than that!

To the fore as usual with their brilliant organisational skills were those ‘terrible twins’ Karl & Stewart Roche ably assisted by the indefatigable John Power. Almost singlehandedly Karl set the whole thing up and then Stewart and John proved invaluable on the ground whilst we were there. John making sure we all made it out on to the golf course in a timely fashion with golf clubs and in the correct attire, and Stewart with incredible sleight of hand relieving us of a lot of our hard earned and balancing (of course) the books for the week-end.

This year saw the introduction of a special Presidents tie. Another first! Council felt that it was appropriate that Presidents should have something to mark their year in office and it was agreed that a tie would be appropriate. All past Presidents present were presented with their ties and this will be carried forward annually.

Also this year a very special past pupil reached a very special milestone. ‘Young’ Karl Roche who has over the years tirelessly worked to make these events happen and indeed to keep the very fabric of the union together was attending his 40th consecutive annual dinner. Not alone that, he was at the helm in organising every one of them. We made a small presentation to Karl to mark the occasion. The President when making the presentation said that it was long overdue and a truly remarkable journey down the years. He went on to say that the union owed him a great debt of gratitude, as contrary to what people think, events like these ‘just don’t happen’.

Belvedere College was represented by Cian O’Carroll, Clongowes by Union President Larry Shields and Gonzaga by Fr Joe Brennan.

In conclusion then this event was an unparalleled success drawing past pupils from all over with feedback being excellent and those attending already looking forward to next years event.

Finally, please keep your eye on this space as our venue and dates will shortly be posted for Outing 2011 hosted by our new President John Connolly.