Sporting Profiles: Cathal Butler
Name: Cathal Butler
Kinsale Golf Club, has over the years, produced some fine young golfers who have gone on to compete at the highest levels of competitive golf in Ireland. John Murphy and Gary Ward are stand-out names but Cathal Butler is someone in particular who is destined to have a future in the sport.
Writes Ciaran Dineen
Having played with Cathal myself from as young as Cork U13’s I have experienced at first hand both the character and talent of the Maynooth student. During my time on the panel with Cathal, I, along with others were amazed, as to how far ahead he was compared to the rest of us. However, having spoken to him recently for the first time in years it now makes sense as to why he progressed much quicker than the rest of us. “I always took golf seriously,” Cathal explains, “even from those U13 days I would never just go out and play a few holes without thinking, I would always know what my score was and would always try to improve.”
Now playing off a handicap of plus one and in his second year of a scholarship law degree in Maynooth, everything seems to be falling into place for the 19 year-old. “Maynooth was the only place I really looked into,” Cathal says, “I didn’t really want to go to America because I have a really good relationship with Paul Kiely, who’s been coaching me since the U13 panel and I didn’t want to give that up. To be fair other than the weather I have everything I need in Maynooth and moving abroad was never really an option for me and I’m delighted that I chose to stay.”
With winter rules now enforced, Cathal’s handicap cannot change until February of next year. However, certain goals for next year remain keenly on the mind of the young man. “The goal now for 2017 is to win an All-Ireland with Kinsale. We have an incredible Senior Cup team for next year with the likes of Gary Ward, John Murphy and a couple of other lads, so the goal is to win the Munster’s and then the All-Ireland.” As well as representing Cork and Munster at youth levels over the years, Cathal has also been selected for Ireland at U16 and U18 level, while also being on the Irish Men’s Development panel. “At Munster level this year it was pretty disappointing in the Interprovincial competition so hopefully I’ll get on that team again and can set things right, and then at Ireland level, this year was great, I was at the World University Championships which were on in Brive in France and we won a silver medal. I really want to get onto the Irish Home International Men’s team next year, there’s 11 on the team but I’ll probably have to win a National Championship if I want to get on it.”
Among his long list of honours is an All-Ireland winner’s medal with Kinsale Community School in the U15 category, something which Cathal remembers fondly. “Aww yeah that was a great one with Kinsale. You know there’s nothing better than playing on a team with your friends and winning something with them because you grow up with them and yeah that was class and definitely was one of my personal highlights from underage golf.”
Over the next couple of years Butler’s plan is to continue his progress and try to make that next step towards becoming a professional golfer. “Over the next two years my aim is to just prepare myself to turn pro and prepare myself for qualifying school. I need to try and up my ranking on the World Amateur circuit, I think I’m about 1700th in the World at the moment and at the start of the year I was about 4000th, so I just want to work my way up that and then maybe make the Home International team and win some titles and maybe even some titles abroad. To be honest I think if you can dominate competitions here you can dominate them abroad, such is the quality in Ireland at the moment.”
When asked at what stage he began to take the sport seriously, with the vision of a possible future career in golf, Cathal replies, “From day one really at 13 or 14, I’m the kind of person that will put everything into a sport and even when I was younger I did a lot of gymnastics so that would have helped big time with my core and that gave that foundation to start with. At the moment I’d be in the gym two or three times a week just basically doing a lot of mobility work, flexibility and then strength to try and up my speed. Food wise I’m just watching what I eat, I’m not going mad by counting my calories but at the same time it’s hard cooking at college, especially when the mother isn’t there to give you those home-cooked meals,” he laughs.
Speaking about his parents, Cathal mentions how supportive they have been during his early career. “I can’t really thank them enough to be honest they have just been so supportive in everything that I do. They’ve always been there for me through the ups and downs and I’ll be forever grateful to them for that.”
On behalf of the Carrigdhoun I would like to wish Cathal the best in both his studies and his hopes of becoming one of Ireland’s next top golfers