Mourne Golfing Characters
How good were the Golfing Greats of Mourne in the early years? Memories can sometimes play tricks and the past is sometimes viewed by members through rose tinted glasses. It is better to have an independent view. In 1947, the East of Ireland championship was sandwiched between the West of Ireland and the trials for places on the International Team. It was anticipated that the Baltray event would suffer as a consequence. An article in the Irish Press, however, had the following paragraph.
The support accorded by Ulster Clubs and especially by Mourne and Warrenpoint Clubs has been remarkably good and though their main strength is in point of numbers, they include a number of very useful players, notably J. Toner, Brian McManus and Willie Hulme all of whom are just about international class.
Praise indeed. Unfortunately, only W Hulme became an international and that was only achieved in the autumn of his career. Nevertheless, Mourne’s representatives were of international class and proved it time and again in Irish golf.
The establishment of the Ulster Golfers’ Alliance in the 1940’s to improve professional and amateur golf in Ulster certainly worked as far as Mourne was concerned and the names of Toner and McManus appear very often in the prize lists. Playing alongside professionals such as Fred Daly certainly had a beneficial effect on the competitive qualities of the above named players.