Maurice Moloney, a true friend to golf

Maurice Moloney_1The death occurred recently of Maurice Moloney, the well-known and much-loved proprietor of East Cork Golf Club. Maurice’s untimely passing after a short illness was a terrible shock to his family and the broader community of members in East Cork where he had many, many friends.  The homeliness of East Cork as a club radiated from Maurice’s personality. His infectious laughter was the soundtrack of the clubhouse. He looked for fun in everyone’s company and invariably found it. Golf in East Cork has always been a serious matter but not nearly as important as companionship and craic. In his everyday dealings with people Maurice promoted those priorities, in that order. His smile was the first point of contact. The banter came next: he started it.

In every respect Maurice was immersed in the life of the club. Before he took over the management of East Cork from his late father Eamon in the mid-1990s he worked with the green keeping staff and he never completely resigned from those duties. Early starters on Sunday’s time-sheet were often greeted by the sight of Maurice driving down the ninth fairway on the ride-on mower with half a mornings work already done.

Maurice’s period as proprietor coincided with a time of great growth and expansion in the club. He oversaw the installation of a modern driving range and a major re-development of the clubhouse as well as structural changes to the course itself.

Maurice Moloney_3During his time competition for members and for business was fierce with three major new clubs, including two resort courses, opening within a five mile radius of East Cork. In that environment Maurice’s personality was pivotal to the continued success of East Cork Golf Club. Societies and fundraising golf classics of all kinds returned to East Cork year after year, drawn by the welcome and the warmth and the simplicity of doing business with Maurice.

Because the personality of the club was indivisible from him East Cork had a distinct identity in a tough marketplace. Members who came back year after year felt a loyalty to Maurice that was borne of sincere fondness. He was generous to people in the club in ways that he would never wish to be known even though the generosity in his nature was known by everyone.

Maurice Moloney_2Maurice was captain of East Cork in 2004 and was a selector on various club teams over the years; he was a handy golfer too in his younger days, dangerous off 18 and lethal on the greens according to veterans of his low-stakes fourball.

His passion for sport, though, stretched far beyond golf and took him all over the UK and Europe following Irish international rugby and soccer teams as well as Munster and Liverpool. He attended Euro 88 and Italia 90 and in various qualifying campaigns he followed the team to Scotland and Malta and Turkey and other points in between.

His love of horseracing brought him to Cheltenham and Aintree and into racehorse ownership for a while with a syndicate that didn’t have much success but had a ball in the process. The greyhound he owned was another story.  If you knew Maurice you can imagine what fun it was to share in any of those ventures or be in his company on any of those trips. The details, as you will appreciate, are completely off the record.

Maurice Moloney_4Maurice’s greatest sporting passion outside of East Cork Golf Club, though, was the GAA. He followed Cork teams everywhere and was a huge supporter of his native Midleton. East Cork Golf Club, however, is full of people from other GAA clubs too and Maurice delighted in the friendly fire of those rivalries.

Maurice’s funeral brought the town to a standstill. Such was his popularity and the esteem in which he was held over 4,000 people came to the club to pay their last respects on the night before Maurice was laid to rest.

He was a devoted husband to Clare, a loving father to Muiris, Eamon and Rosin and a dear friend to everyone in East Cork Golf Club. Ar dheis dei go raibh a anam.