A Tribute to our departing Office Staff

An acknowledgement of both Michael Murphy and Anne Tighe

A Tribute to our departing Office Staff image

Ahead of their retirement from the office tomorrow, John Manning pays tribute to both Michael Murphy and Anne Tighe in the following piece.

Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy was elected National Secretary of the Pitch and Putt Union of Ireland in Killarney's Gleneagle Hotel on Saturday December 8 2001. The then factory manager from Dublin's Tallaght defeated Billy Bell of Ryston in Newbridge in a straight vote to succeed the legendary Peg Smith, 77 votes to 37.

Michael first started playing Pitch & Putt back in 1967 on commercial courses like Ferndale and the Cuckoo’s Nest. He made the switch to registered Pitch and Putt and Old County in Crumlin in 1976.

In a career, which saw him represent Old County in all grades of the Dublin County Leagues and win the 1999 Dublin Junior Matchplay championship at CYMC/LC, Michael's lowest handicap was 1. He looks back fondly on 1980 when he defeated Anthony Malone in the final Dublin qualifying round at Old County to reach the National Matchplay finals at Navan, where he played Tom O’Sullivan (Ballycotton). Wielding a Ben Hogan Pitching Wedge or a Dunlop Gold Flash Sand Wedge, other on-course achievements were Club Championships and being the first Senior to win the Captain’s Prize in Old County.Although his nickname for a while in Old County was 'Jabber' Murphy, he made many putts in his time with his John Letters blade. His lowest round is a 42!

Club administrative experience was gained as President (in 1998 and 1999), Treasurer (four different stints– ‘84/’85, 1994, 1997, 2000!) and Club Captain (1985). He was centrally involved with a core group that saved Old County from extinctionin a landmark 1990s High Court case regarding tenancy.

In 1999, after many years as Old County's delegate to Dublin County Board meetings, he was elected Vice President of Leinster Council at that body's annual gathering in Navan. After two years as Provincial Vice President, Michael surrendered the position to concentrate on his campaign to become National Secretary. His President during those two years, Sean Breen, is on record that Michael made a huge contribution. During Michael’s two years on the Leinster Council, the Officers had a great working relationship and teamwork was prevalent.

Michael's wife and three sons were also involved in Pitch and Putt. Joan was an enthusiastic player and acted as an excellent Treasurer of Old County and Dublin County Board. Colin played, Neil and Paul could play, albeit Neil was more into Golf and Paul’s major interest was playing music. In the past, Michael and Joan qualified for the finals of the National Mixed Foursomes.

Michael's non Pitch & Putt interests revolve around soccer and Gaelic Football. He's a self-confessed mega Bohemian FC fan and his sporting heroes are former stars of his favourite English side, Manchester City - Colin Bell and Francis Lee. The navy and blue colours of his beloved Dubs are another major inspiration.

Working alongside Kevin Keatinge, Michael secured a Government Grant for fencing around the Old County course in 1987. Co-author with Jim Byrne,that same year, of the Old County 21st Anniversary Book, Michael was awarded Club Person of the Year in 2006 in recognition of all the work he did organising activities to celebrate Old County’s 40th anniversary.

An integral part of the Championship Committee for the 2003 European Team Championship, Michael also acted as a very well-respected National Pitch and Putt Co-ordinator for Special Olympics.

2007 brought about a major change when Michael was appointed Central Office Administrator following the retirement of Eamonn Birchall. Michael was assisted by his sister-in-law Anne Tighe and together they have supplied a first-class service to Pitch and Putt Ireland’s membership for the past decade and a half.

After six successful years at Park West, Michael masterminded the move to Pitch and Putt Ireand’s current nerve centre at Abbotstown in 2013.

One of Michael’s quests as National Secretary was to encourage the thousands who play outside organised Pitch and Putt to affiliate. He also espoused takingcare of our new members and encouraging them to participate and saw coaching, website and social media as essentialdevelopment tools.

A keen photographer, Michael fashioned superb albums of national championships and events, at which he also often acted as a loquacious Master of Ceremonies.

An acknowledged technophile, always first with the latest gadget, Michael produced a huge volume of material (helped by Anne) from Central Office every year, as the number of championships grew and grew.

Other major achievements during Michael’s tenure were a succession of Strategic Plans,the introduction of the online handicap systemin 2016, followed more recently by the rebrand to Pitch and Putt Ireland and a complete overhaul of the organisation’s website.

A combative administrator, never slow to speak his mind, Michael had his disagreements over the years but discord never festered nor was it allowed to stunt Pitch and Putt’s progress.

On international duty, Michael Murphy has long specialised in adventurous Pitch and Putt trips! There have been flight delays, missed connections, wrong hotels and lost baggage to name but a few!

However, whatever the setback, Michael always bounced back, smiling! There have been plenty of memorable trips too.

One of the most memorable was to accompany the late Peggy Campbell RIP to Monte Carlo in 2002 where, along with Peggy’s husband Phil, they met the great and the good, includinggolf legend Gary Player!

Michael was a winning manager of the Irish team that claimed the 2016 World Cup in Andorra. And he looks back fondly on the real sense of comradeship he enjoyed that weekend with co-manager Mark Keohane, players Eamon Gibney, John Ross Crangle and John Walsh along with supporters Weeshie Murphy and Ryan Walsh

Mark and Michael also dovetailed as successful managers of Ireland’s 2018 European Team championship squad (John Ross Crangle, John Cahill, James Cleary, Bryan Delaney, Eamon Gibney and Tommy Hanley) at Urduna. Current Irish President Keohane pays tribute to Michael (who is now a member of 2012 World Cup host club Royal Meath) as follows: “Michael’s preparations were excellent and his wit and sense of humour boundless!” 

A Board Member of EPPA and FIPPA since 2006, Michael acted as Treasurer for many years before his accession to the Presidency at the 2022 General Assembly in Tullamore.

As FIPPA President, Michael hopes to continue where predecessor Victor Moscatel left off and to offer his own inter-personal skills. He looks forward to carrying on the work of all those who have served FIPPA before him.

We wish Michael well on his retirement from the Office and bonne chance in his international role.

Anne Tighe

Delegates to Annual Convention over the past 15 years have been familiar with the welcoming face of Anne Tighe as she greeted all on arrival and ensured they signed the appropriate attendance Register.

Anne Tighe joined her brother-in-law Michael Murphy in Pitch & Putt Ireland’s Central Office in 2007, as a successor to Peg Smith and Dave Hayden II.

Just as Peg had dovetailed with Willie Parker and as Dave had complemented Eamonn Birchall, Anne was a perfect foil to Michael as she fulfilled the duties of Office Assistant most capably alongside Michael in his dual capacity as Office Administrator and National Secretary.

Initially at Park West and more recently in Abbotstown, Anne played a primary role alongside Michael in the smooth running of the Central Office. Visitors and telephone callers were dealt with courtesy and sensitivity.

An acknowledged mentor to the likes of successive Development and Coaching Administrators, Paul Hayes, Pauric Buggy and Shaun O’Donnell, Anne maintained office morale with a constant supply of treats!

Performing all her tasks with good humour and efficiency, Anne’s particular specialty was the maintenance of the membership database and the prompt issuing of registration cards.

Working in tandem with the doyenne of Registrars, Helen McMorrow RIP, and subsequently with Michael, Anne played no small part in the delivery of the detailed annual membership analysis that is pored over so avidly during the Convention cycle.

Credited by all of the National Executive Council Officers since 2007 as being a loyal, industrious and supportive member of staff, Anne will be missed.

We wish her an enjoyable well-deserved retirement.