A Golfing History

Image of personJim McGlynn is our former Director of Organisation Support and Development but also a long-standing member of our Golf Society. Jim was one of the original founders in 1993 and was elected Secretary, a position he has held ever since. Although recently retired, Jim continues as an active member of the Society and is currently the Society Captain. In this blog, he looks back at the history of the Golf Society.

Given that the former Co. Donegal VEC, now Donegal ETB, has always been a large employer, it wasn’t surprising that quite a number of staff and VEC/Board Members play Golf. Arising from conversations I had in early 1990 with then VEC members and staff colleagues, the idea of holding a golf outing under the aegis of Donegal VEC was mooted. Following favourable responses from local banks and suppliers to requests for sponsorship, we decided to commission a perpetual Cup and a fitting array of prizes for participating VEC Members, Staff and visitors. I assembled a small organising committee to put arrangements in place and all was set for the staging of the inaugural event at Donegal Golf Club, Murvagh on Saturday, 7 April 1990. It is worth noting that the Entry Fee payable to the hosting Golf Club was IR£4! The response was excellent with 28 staff and members and 24 visitors from the Home Club competing on the day with Denis Boyce from the then Milford Vocational School winning the Cup.

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Donegal VEC Golf Society’s annual outing in 1991 (published in the Donegal News).

Given the success of the inaugural outing, it was decided to hold the 1991 outing in Letterkenny Golf Club on Saturday, 8 June when 24 players competed and Eithne Conliffe from Letterkenny RTC, then part of Donegal VEC, was the winner. The 1992 outing was held in Ballybofey & Stranorlar Golf Club on the 8 June with 33 players and Paddy Cleary from the then Letterkenny Vocational School took the honours. On the October Bank Holiday that year, we collected IR£500 and selected a team from a pre-qualifying outing to play in a fundraising Golf Classic in aid of the famine that was raging in Somalia at that time.

Such was the enjoyment of those annual outings and the camaraderie that was building among staff and VEC Members, we decided to formally establish a VEC Golf Society. The inaugural AGM was held in the VEC Offices on Thursday, 18 February 1993 at which it was agreed that the position of Society President would rotate in line with the succession of VEC Members to the position of VEC Chairperson. Michael Fox, then Adult Education Officer was elected as our first Captain, a position which has also rotated annually on the nomination of the outgoing Captain. Yours truly was elected Society Secretary, a position I continue to hold. Charlie Cannon, recently retired Principal of Errigal College, was elected Treasurer, a position which has also rotated over the years. We also appointed Society Committee members for each school and centre to coordinate communications given that we didn’t have access to emails, group texting and WhatsApp etc in those days!

The Society decided to schedule six outings within the calendar year, excluding the summer months and also decided to incorporate a Golfer of the Year competition with points being awarded to the top 8 players at each outing, later increased to the top 10. The perpetual Cup, first introduced in 1990, has been awarded to the winner ever since and is definitely harder earned!

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Winners of the Seán Ó Longáin Cup 2019/20 – ETB Admin Offices Team of Jim McGlynn, Society Captain 2020-2022 and Marcel McCafferty pictured with Seán Ó Longáin.

The calendar of outings also includes a very competitive Team event with teams representing each school, centre and office competing for the annual bragging rights. There was a good spread of winners over the years with Finn Valley College featuring prominently!

Thanks to the initiative of our 2009 Captain, Éanna Ó Mainín, Donegal Sports sponsored a Cup for the annual Team event and Seán Ó Longáin, retired CEO agreed to have the Cup named after him, “Corn Sheáin Uí Longáin Comórtas Foirne”.

Similarly, 2013 Captain, Rory White designed and introduced a Magnificent 7 Signature Hole competition and trophy to be competed for annually in memory of our dearly departed, CEO and 2008 Captain, Mary Ann Kane. We also have plans to dedicate one of our annual outings to the memory of the late Michael McGrath and all deceased Society members.

Society Membership was initially set at IR£10 and now stands at €30 while entry fees for each outing have increased over the years from the initial IR£4 to a current average of €25. The Society year was changed to coincide with the school year from August 2016 and the number of outings was increased to seven. We have also managed to include a few overnight stays and two rounds of golf at various locations inside and outside the county which were really enjoyed by all attendees.

Membership numbers varied over the years from a peak of 73 to an average of 40. It’s hard to believe that our Society is now heading towards its 29th year and, although playing activity has been restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are looking forward to the resumption of our outings.

ETB logoOur Society reaches across the entire ETB and, not only does it offer its members the opportunity to play a superb array of golf courses, it also affords members the chance to meet new people, relax in friendly company and enjoy the craic and banter that this Society offers. Our Society caters for all comers, the old pro, the young pretender and both high and low handicappers.  New members are always welcome!

Finally, we would like to acknowledge the continued support of Chief Executive, Anne McHugh and the Board of Donegal ETB which is much appreciated.

Staff, Board, Committee or Board of Management members who would like to join the Society, should contact Jim (Captain 2020-2022 and Society Secretary) by calling 086 2271435 or emailing jimmcglynn7@gmail.com.