Dublin University Golfing Society
DUGS V LUGS
Venue: Royal St George’s GC
Date: Fri 21st Feb 2020
Match Captain DUGS: J Conway
Match Captain LUGS: G Yeandle
Match Format: h’cap 4somes
1. Aidan Neill & Fran Quilty beat am Baker & Nick Holt 1 hole
2. Mark Murnane & Will Kelly lost to Mike Kershaw & Neil Falconer 3/2
3. Nicholas Dillon & Michael Gibson beat Jon Lavelle & Mike Edwards 5/4
4. Barry Grundy & John Conway lost to James Bull & Jeremy Smith 5/4
5. Roddy Conway & Paddy O’Sullivan beat oddy Conway & Paddy O’Sullivan 7/6
6. Michael Fleming & Dermot O’Grady halved with Nicola Taylor & George Yeandle
DUGS 3 ½ LUGS 2 ½
1. Aidan Neill & Michael Gibson lost to Mike Kershaw & Jeremy Smith 3/2 (SHOESHINE)
2. Fran Quilty & Roddy Conway beat Nick Holt & Giles Brearley 1 hole
3. John Conway & Nicholas Dillon beat Neil Falconer & Mike Edwards 2/1
4. Mark Murnane & Dermot O’Grady beat James Bull & Mark Conway 1 hole
5. Will Kelly & Paddy O’Sullivan lost to Sam Baker & Nicola Taylor 2/1
6. Michael Fleming & Barry Grundy halved Jon Lavelle & George Yeandlel
DUGS 3 ½ LUGS 2 ½
FINAL RESULT DUGS 7 LUGS 5
LUGS Welcome Speech to DUGS 21 February 2020 (Neil Falconer)
A very good evening to you all – and we are especially delighted to welcome the DUGS back to Royal St George’s on this, the thirtieth anniversary of our first match.
A note on health and safety. You are all familiar with the coronavirus and are doubtless taking all appropriate precautions to prevent its spread. Here, in Sandwich, we have a localised viral issue to guard against – that is trench-foot, the consequence of near biblical rains for some weeks. Symptoms include very pallid facial colouring – we feared that Dermot may have contracted it, but all is well.
Now, this is slightly awkward, but I think I need to start by drawing attention to a very small point of etiquette. As the evening has unfolded, it has become clear to a number of us that our guests appear especially confident this year.
Of course, the DUGS might properly be confident; after all, last time they were here two years ago, they cleaned up at Cheltenham, trounced us comfortably out on these links, and then set off to Twickenham where they won the Grand Slam.
Rugby wise, they come to England unbeaten in this year’s Six Nations. And golf-wise, they bring with them that champion reaper of points and last year’s MVP – Barry Grundy. Who wouldn’t be confident with a fact pattern of that sort?
And in no sense is my point of etiquette about any form of conversational arrogance or conceit; not at all. The issue of etiquette I have is that – looking beneath the table – none of you appear to have polished your shoes for months – a clear sign that you all want to be drawn in the shoe shine match – and all expect to win!
Since we last saw you at the marvellous Island Golf Club, very little appears to have gone on in the Irish golfing world. To be fair, I suppose, there was an excellent Irish Open at Lahinch (Lahinch – for those not familiar with the term, is the Gaelic for ‘town of Conways’). It was won, I am reliably told, by Sean O’Rahm.
Then there was a little amateur competition at Portmarnock won by James Sugrue from Mallow (which I believe may be in Surrey?) – and then, yes, there was the little issue of the Open championship at Portrush.
Until last July, I’d been able to tell everyone for the whole of my life that the reigning Portrush Open champion was called Faulkner. But, although I’m disappointed no longer to be able to make that boast, I must say that the championship was a tremendous success and the golfing world of Ireland (including the many DUGS involved in staging these events) is to be congratulated for putting on such a great show last year.
The comfort we LUGS can take from that success is that Shane Lowry did not attend Trinity College [I’ve checked] so we don’t expect to see him on the first tee tomorrow. That said, from Irish sports reports I’ve read this week, I am fully expecting to see Bono.
But Shane will be here to defend in July when Royal St George’s hosts its 15th Open. The last time it was here, of course, Darren Clarke won and who’s to say that one of Ireland’s finest won’t carry the prize away from Sandwich again.
Many of you are very familiar with this club and golf course so, no longer being on commission from Cubby Broccoli (and even with a movie shortly to be released), I will not relate any 007 stories. But Sandwich, as a town, is not without interest.
The town has a lengthy history, having been one of the leading ports in England from Anglo-Saxon times. By 1100, it was known as one of the Cinque Ports. These ports were enormously important to the English economy because, back in those days, England considered trade with the Continent of Europe to be important.
As the centuries went by and uncontrollable silting led the port to struggle to service larger vessels, the economy dipped. So, in 1561, Elizabeth I granted rights to Flemish people to settle here and the economy was boosted by the introduction of their market gardening techniques; this soon led to Kent being known as the ‘garden of England’. But that was a long time ago when England considered immigration from the Continent of Europe to be important.
As an aside I would note that, though controversial, Elizabeth I, was not a monarch without wisdom – I think she may have established a decent university somewhere or other later in her reign.
In the 18th century, two of Sandwich’s residents changed the world. The first was a gambling addict called John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. He found it virtually impossible to leave the roulette wheel so would nourish himself by charging his butler to bring him a cut of meat between two slices of bread on a regular basis.
Then there was Thomas Paine who lived in New Street and who, having become bored of his trade as a master stay-maker (that being someone that made corsets), decided to take to philosophy and thus helped to inspire the American Revolution and its constitution. Whether you think the food or the philosophy more important, I will leave to you. [Porks; any thoughts? Remember that, though Montagu brought food, Paine could turn his hand to corsets.]
Eventually, towards the end of the 19th century, William Laidlaw Purves, on an archaeological field trip with his brother, spotted this land from the tower of St Clements church and determined to build a golf course here.
Within 7 years of its foundation, the club held its first Open championship won by JH Taylor. Harry Vardon and Walter Hagan have both won twice here; and the Dunlop 65 golf ball got its name from Henry Cotton’s second round in 1934 when he triumphed. So, a links with a rich history.
And tomorrow, the links of Sandwich see our annual tussle. It may not be the best golf the course sees this year – but I expect the course will struggle to see a more cheerful match (even allowing for an occasional tantrum from our captain).
What do we LUGS fear most? Is it he relentlessness of the Grundy; the debonair swagger of the O’Sullivan; the wily selection policy of the Conway; the third loop in the O’Grady swing? Who knows – all of these features have been very effective in their day.
And while, away from this place, we may all find ourselves plunging into an uncertain future, I look to the last lines of a fine book that I occasionally pick up which read as follows:
‘But Trinity and its sportsmen refused to allow [the division of Ireland in 1921] to destroy the ethos that had made students and graduates into friends, partners and participants in the future development of the country [ ]. Sport transcends politics. DUGS has played its unwitting part by uniting sportsmen who were really only looking for a bit of fun, camaraderie and a modicum of competition.’
Well said, Gavin Caldwell – and long may that ethos continue.
So DUGS, you are very welcome. And might I ask the LUGS to rise to toast the DUGS and ‘fun, camaraderie and a modicum of competition’!
 along with Hastings, New Romney, Hythe and Dover – but not, interestingly, Deal (where the RCPGC is) which was simply a limb of much greater Sandwich port