Mournes Other Characters

 

 

J E Marshall was called Bunter from the cartoon character Billy Bunter who had the same portly shape. Bunter, a native of Ballymena, married P J McEvoy’s sister Norah and taught in Annsborough Primary School. He had a remarkably consistent if unspectacular game - down the middle onto the green in regulation and two putts.

He was elected Secretary in 1946 and his administrative duties soon took him over full time to the detriment of his golf and his health.

“I am Mourne Golf Club” was a statement frequently attributed to Bunter. Whether the allegation was apocryphal or true matters not - in many ways he was Mourne Golf Club. Most of our social traditions and the way we organise our Golfing Calendar were his legacy. He was a one man Handicapping Committee, a one man Social Committee and a one man Competition Secretary. However you can’t make omelettes without breaking eggs and he did offend some people with a misdirected barb for he had a short fuse and rarely counted to ten before he let fly, nevertheless from a club point of view the balance comes down heavily on the credit side and his premature death was a sad loss to Mourne Golf Club.

John Doran had a handicap of 4 which he referred to as the working man’s scratch. He was affectionately known as “The Big Wheel” from his own description of his golf swing. It wasn’t, however, his swing that was his greatest attribute. Indeed his long game, especially his long iron play, was somewhat suspect. But missing a green worried John not at all. In spite of the fact that he was a big muscular man with huge hands, he had a delicate touch in and around the greens and his ability to condure three shots into two equalled and sometimes surpassed his great friend and rival Johnny Boden. He was a great match player and captured the Annesley Cup more often than any other player of his time.

John, in addition, was a great philosopher and a master of the apt phrase. His sayings are still quoted around Mourne Golf Club and its a pity they weren’t collected and kept for posterity - it would have made great reading.

Dan Rafferty was the direct opposite to John as a golfer. His nickname was “Long Hitting Dan”. His length off the tee gave his Barton Shield partner a great advantage but his performance on and around the green was more likely to give him a heart attack. Nevertheless he gelled well with Jimmy Toner and the pair won handsomely in the All Ireland semi final of the Barton Shield.

The tradition of good golf persisted into the late fifties when Mourne won the All Ireland final of the Junior Cup at Portmarnock. The Club Captain of that year was Sean Dornan and the team was managed by Hugh King.

One of the above is deserving of a special mention. Johnny Boden was one of the great characters of Mourne and no record of the early years would be complete without him.

Johnny had two great attributes. Like John Doran he had the facility to condense what would normally be three shots into two or even one. The second attribute was his innate ability to be the heart and soul of every Mourne party and he missed very few. His party pieces included ‘ Goldmine in the Sky’ and ‘Carry me back to old Virginny’. These attributes earned him the following verse in one of Stephen Keenan’s parodies to the air of ‘Dublin in the rare oul times’

 

I remember Johnny Boden - a Mourne man and boy

Him singing Oul Virginny and the Goldmine in the Sky

I still can hear his teasing laugh

As he chipped into the hole

When they took him off by ambulance

They took away my soul

Other Characters

 

 

J E Marshall was called Bunter from the cartoon character Billy Bunter who had the same portly shape. Bunter, a native of Ballymena, married P J McEvoy’s sister Norah and taught in Annsborough Primary School. He had a remarkably consistent if unspectacular game - down the middle onto the green in regulation and two putts.

He was elected Secretary in 1946 and his administrative duties soon took him over full time to the detriment of his golf and his health.

“I am Mourne Golf Club” was a statement frequently attributed to Bunter. Whether the allegation was apocryphal or true matters not - in many ways he was Mourne Golf Club. Most of our social traditions and the way we organise our Golfing Calendar were his legacy. He was a one man Handicapping Committee, a one man Social Committee and a one man Competition Secretary. However you can’t make omelettes without breaking eggs and he did offend some people with a misdirected barb for he had a short fuse and rarely counted to ten before he let fly, nevertheless from a club point of view the balance comes down heavily on the credit side and his premature death was a sad loss to Mourne Golf Club.

John Doran had a handicap of 4 which he referred to as the working man’s scratch. He was affectionately known as “The Big Wheel” from his own description of his golf swing. It wasn’t, however, his swing that was his greatest attribute. Indeed his long game, especially his long iron play, was somewhat suspect. But missing a green worried John not at all. In spite of the fact that he was a big muscular man with huge hands, he had a delicate touch in and around the greens and his ability to condure three shots into two equalled and sometimes surpassed his great friend and rival Johnny Boden. He was a great match player and captured the Annesley Cup more often than any other player of his time.

John, in addition, was a great philosopher and a master of the apt phrase. His sayings are still quoted around Mourne Golf Club and its a pity they weren’t collected and kept for posterity - it would have made great reading.

Dan Rafferty was the direct opposite to John as a golfer. His nickname was “Long Hitting Dan”. His length off the tee gave his Barton Shield partner a great advantage but his performance on and around the green was more likely to give him a heart attack. Nevertheless he gelled well with Jimmy Toner and the pair won handsomely in the All Ireland semi final of the Barton Shield.

The tradition of good golf persisted into the late fifties when Mourne won the All Ireland final of the Junior Cup at Portmarnock. The Club Captain of that year was Sean Dornan and the team was managed by Hugh King.

One of the above is deserving of a special mention. Johnny Boden was one of the great characters of Mourne and no record of the early years would be complete without him.

Johnny had two great attributes. Like John Doran he had the facility to condense what would normally be three shots into two or even one. The second attribute was his innate ability to be the heart and soul of every Mourne party and he missed very few. His party pieces included ‘ Goldmine in the Sky’ and ‘Carry me back to old Virginny’. These attributes earned him the following verse in one of Stephen Keenan’s parodies to the air of ‘Dublin in the rare oul times’

 

I remember Johnny Boden - a Mourne man and boy

Him singing Oul Virginny and the Goldmine in the Sky

I still can hear his teasing laugh

As he chipped into the hole

When they took him off by ambulance

They took away my soul