It was a busy year for Lee Valley, but one that they will remember. 2018 marked the 25th anniversary for the club, and while everyone celebrated the milestone the club also went on to win their first Cups and Shields pennant. From the celebrations in January, through to the AGM this month, the club pulled together to celebrate. This time last year the club made Lee Valley owner Jerry Keohane and honorary Life President of the Club, and it was an honour that was very much appreciated by Jerry. He was involved in the consortium who purchased the land and commissioned Christy O’Connor Jnr to design the course. Jerry and his family would later take over full control of the Clashnure venture, and since then they have continued to develop and improve the course with a consistent focus on presenting a championship experience for every golfer. Lee Valley remains a family business with Jerry’s wife Peg and sons Paul and David all involved in the day to day running of the course and bar & restaurant.
It was a year to remember for outgoing Captain Brian O’Donovan. He entered the year knowing that the 25th celebrations would take up some of the focus for the year but as it happened it was the Mixed Foursomes team who ended up taking the limelight. Lee Valley hosted a qualifier for the Irish Mixed Foursomes and they overcame a few tough challenges to reach the area final. There they faced Fota Island, with the Ovens club coming out on top in a very close match. From there it was on to Limerick for the Munster finals. This wasn’t new territory for Lee Valley, they had reached this stage previously in the Barton Shield but never managed to come home with the pennant. In their Munster semi final they beat Doneraile and once word of that filtered back to Cork, there was a large convoy of Lee Valley members on the road to Limerick to see the Munster final. The Cork side started well, it looked as if Lee Valley would win at their ease, but then it looked like it would be their opponents Tipperary who would walk away with the win. In the end it went down to the final match on the final green and it was a brilliant putt on the 18th green from John O’Neill that saw Lee Valley win. The team was managed by Vanessa Fitzgerald and Paul Coleman and the team members were Jason Galway & Colette O’Callaghan, Barry Egan & Helen Hodson, Jack Boyd & Catherine O’Sullivan, James Murray & Marie O’Sullivan, John O’Neill & Jane O’Neill, Ian Bohane & Rosemary O’Driscoll. Although they couldn’t repeat the Limerick heroics at the national finals, Lee Valley now had their breakthrough win.
Looking back on the summer, O’Donovan was a busy man as the Munster adventure continued through August and into September. It was a year to remember for him as he recalled the excitement of the Munster win. “Well what a year we had in 2018, we finally brought our first Munster Pennant to Lee Valley Golf Club” said the Captain. “The Mixed Fours team will always be etched in the club’s history, winning our very first Munster Pennant in our 25th Anniversary year. The key to our success was the preparation and buy-in by all the club members. Being Captain in the 25th Anniversary was very time consuming particularly when our team get to All Irelands Finals. I will always cherish being the 25th Captain of Lee Valley Golf Club. the support and goodwill I received throughout the year from my committee and club members made my job easier.”
With the AGM now complete, it marks and end to their special year and a changing of the guard. Chris O’Sullivan will take over as Captain having spent several years on committee, while past captain Pat Mullins comes back on committee as the Incoming President. “I am looking forward to handing over the reins to incoming Captain Chris O’Sullivan” said O’Donovan. “The club is in safe hands and the future is bright for Lee Valley Golf Club with the redevelopment of our locker room area and the introduction our new practice and training facilities. I am hoping that we can learn from our experience in winning our first Munster Pennant and bring that to all our club teams for next year and the years ahead.”