One of Cork’s most impressive golfing groups have finalised plans for their 2023 season. The Cope Golf Alliance is now in it’s 46th year and the group plan to have another busy year where as well as plenty of golf, they’ll also continue to raise funds for Cope Foundation. Since the late 1970’s the alliance has raised over €1.7million and this year they expect to add over €40,000 to that total.
Mens Captain James Doolan is looking forward to the season, his 20th year as a member. “Everyone involved with the Cope Golf Alliance is looking forward to the 2023 season, which kicks off for the Ladies on April 3rd at Cork G.C., and on April 24th for the Men, at Monkstown. The Alliance members are drawn from Cork, Douglas, Monkstown and Muskerry Golf Clubs. Because the four clubs give their courses free of charge for Alliance competitions, the entire amount collected from members (€75 each), goes to the COPE Foundation. We also have generous, long-standing sponsors who take care of the prizes for each outing, and at our recent AGM, we presented a cheque for €43,500 to the Cope Foundation.”“There is great camaraderie between the members of the Alliance, as historically, there has been strong bond between the four “old Cork clubs.” Apart from the Alliance’s fund-raising aspect, our golf outings generate a lot of friendly rivalry too, and the Golfer of the Year titles are keenly contested affairs” added the Captain. “There is also a social aspect to it, with many members enjoying the clubs’ restaurant and bar facilities, and a friendly chat after their round of golf. We always have golfers looking to join the alliance whenever a vacancy for membership arises.”
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The point James makes about membership is a key one. Although there are close to 500 members, it is limited to 60 men and 60 ladies from each of the four Cork clubs, a rule which dates back to the founding of the alliance in 1977. While the members benefit from the use of the four host clubs, there are also a number of sponsors who support the alliance by providing prizes for each of the 11 annual events. In 2023 the list of sponsors will include Hitchmough Kinnear & Co, Sean Keane Fencing Ltd, AOS & Sons Co Ltd, Allied Irish Bank, Keanes Jewellers, Phelans Pharmacy, Dr. Ted Murphy & the late Tessa Murphy, Ecco Shoes, Hanley’s Home & Garden Centre, Liam Ryan SuperValu and ESB Networks. In addition to four singles competitions in each of the clubs, the alliance also holds a gents team event, a ladies team event and a mixed event at the end of the season.
The Officers of the Alliance rotate annually with one member from each club holding an office each, and the Captain is looking forward to seeing some familiar faces on the fairways over the coming season. “It is a great honour for me to represent Douglas as Men’s Alliance Captain for 2023, succeeding my friend, John Phillips, who was Captain of Cork GC in 2007, when I was Captain of Douglas. Another friend of mine, Leo McCarthy from Muskerry, is President for 2023. Leo and myself have been members of the Cork Teachers’ Society for years. Maeve Russell from Cork is Lady President, and Lillian Nagle Walsh from Monkstown is Lady Captain. Our Hon. Sec is Maryll McCarthy from Muskerry and the Hon. Treasurer is Brendan Howley from Cork.”
Like many Cork people, James has a close association with Cope Foundation and he was delighted to be invited to join the Alliance in 2004. “I was first invited to join the alliance back around 2004, and was delighted to do so as my sister, Caroline, had availed of Cope’s services in the 60’s and 70’s. Many Alliance members have a similar connection to the Foundation, and I know that some of them contribute a little extra every year, because of this. 46 years on from its establishment, the founding members are very proud to see what a success story the Cope Golf Alliance is today.”
For any golfer who is not joined the alliance, there are still a number of ways to Cope Foundation on the course. The annual Cope Foundation Golf Classic has been on the fundraising calendar for over two decades. Originally it was held over two days in Rathasllagh but since 2014 it has been held in Cork. Last year Lee Valley hosted two busy days for the charity and details of the 2023 classic will be held in Monkstown and will be launched in the near future.