Union Cup Interview

Union Cup Interview

The Rockwell College Union was pleased to announce this year the return of the Union Cup this year, giving members the opportunity to compete in the high quality surrounds of Kilkenny Golf Club.

Given the high profile of the competition, we are happy to present an interview with Donal Higgins, president of the Union, on the return of the Union Cup.


Questions by Cormac English Final Year 2014

Answers by Donal Higgins Rockwell College Union President and organiser of the Union Cup


Q What influenced the Union’s decision to host the Union Cup this year?

The decision to hold a golf competition this year was part of a 3-year strategy. As a group last year’s president, Dearbhail Gildea; next years’ president, Brian Kavanagh, and I decided that we would look holistically at the Union over the three years of our respective presidencies. In that context we agreed that we'd support each other on our endeavours. During Dearbhail's term we agreed to change the location and emphasis of the business lunch - which was accomplished to great acclaim. During my presidential year we decided to reignite the union's golf society and host a competition for the union perpetual challenge cup. In addition, we agreed to have next year’s gala dinner outside the pale - in Cahir - for the first time (possibly since the founding of the Union). It is hoped then by year three of the strategy that both the business lunch and the golf will have achieved a sustainable momentum such that they become key events for Union members to attend, in addition to the very successful gala dinner which is held annually.


Q Could you explain a little of the history behind the Union Cup?
A The Rockwell college Union golf society was started soon after the founding of the Union, which was founded in 1925. The first winner of the perpetual challenge cup was recorded on the cup in 1950. The cup itself, played for annually up until 2004, is a masterpiece of handcraft. The interest in golf within the Union waned for a number of years during the noughties and at one stage the exact location of the cup was actually unknow. It was, however, rediscovered in 2014. A small group of union members played a competition in 2014, with Billy Lee from the 1958 class (based in the US) the winner. In 2015, a group of golfers celebrating their golden jubilee leaving the school, competed for the cup and the eventual winner was Peter Clerkin from the 1965 class. This year more than 25 players competed (with each decade 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90, noughties and 10's all represented) and it was won by Brian McGoey from the 1985 class. Ladies, for the first time ever, competed in the competition this year. Jill Pierse from the 2010 class and Sarah Crowe from the 2008 class came 2nd and 3rd respectively.


Q What led the Union to choose Kilkenny Golf club as the venue for this year’s cup?

A The Kilkenny golf course was chosen as the venue for this year’s competition for a number of reasons. Not only am I based in Kilkenny and a member of the KK golf course but the current captain of the club, Frank Dalton, also attended Rockwell (81), as did the club chef Barry Joyce (89). Kilkenny has a lot to offer and is of course very convenient for all locations within the country. It was appropriate therefore to have the event here and support other past pupils of the school -a major tenet of the Union. Having the prize giving meal in the nearby hotel, the Newpark hotel, owned by the Flynn Family (past pupils of the school) also made sense. We also had pupils from US, Canada and UK flying over for the event.


Q Finally, what are your aspirations for the Union cup. Do you hope for it to become a recurring fixture of the Rockwell Calendar?
A As mentioned above the hope is that, having had the success that we had this year with over 25 golfers, and over 40 for the prize giving meal. there are good reasons to believe that the golf event will become an annual event once again. This is something that I obviously strongly support.


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With thanks to Donal Higgins for his contribution