History of the Father & Son Matchplay
It all started in 1961 when some Juveniles got together and proposed the idea of a competition in which they could participate on a Saturday. The Captain of the day Gerry Garland suggested a Father and Son Foursomes and that was it. The first year it was an internal affair confined to Castle members. The inaugural winners were Dick and Tom Lenehan and it was played over 18 holes stroke play. The following year it was opened to other Clubs and it continued as stroke play until 1964 when it altered to its present format of matchplay. The first winners in that year were Davey and Bryan Knott. The Rules of theCompetitin have remained the same ever since.
3 generations of the Scott family who first entered in 1970, pictured.
As years passed the event became more and more popular and to accomodate the increasing numbers a pre-qualifying round was introduced. The timesheet started at 6:00am, still there was a waiting list so in recent years the qualifying had to be extended to Saturday and Sunday. Over the years many Irish Internationals and current professionals have taken part. Mark Bloom (and his father Jack, the donor of the Bloom Cup), Jody Fanagan, Tom Craddock, Noel Fox to mention a few.
Of course themost famous winners in 1967 were the late Joe Carr and son Roddy. J B Carr was a very busy golfer in those days, so to facilitate him a special parking spot was reserved beside the clubhouse. At the recent Pro-am in Castle Phillip Walton recalled how he caddied for his father in 1973 when the Waltons were successful. Martin Sludds, now a professional in the south of England was a beaten finalist. The McKennas from Bray twice and the Powers from Stackstown three times are the only multiple winners. In the early '80's a regular entry came from the then President of Ireland Dr. Paddy Hillary and son John, sadly they never made the match play.
Over the years we have had entries from all over Ireland and from time to time from across the water. Every year since 1961 in early July, the All Ireland Father and Son Competition takes place without interrruption.....there was one exception, in 1973 during the qualifying round, the Gardai arrived to announce there was a bomb scare, (maybe someone who could not get on the timesheet!!!) and the clubhouse and course were to be evacuated. Competitors were told to mark their place on the fairways and greens, vacate the grounds and only continue when the search had been completed. When the all clear was sounded, after almost three hours, play continued. Quite a few groups did not help their chances of making it to the matchplay rounds after retiring to the local ale house during the break. It speaks volumes for the popularity of the All Ireland Father and Son that it grows from strength to strength and it has never been found necessary to alter the format since 1964.