Rooney, James Peter (J.P.R.)

Mr. J. P. Rooney F.J.L. (Journalist) 1877 (est.) – 1947

An Irish Times journalist and member of the Milltown Golf Club. Honorary member of Royal Dublin, Portmarnock, Milltown, Castle, Hermitage, Lucan, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Louth, Newlands and St. Anne’s. Founding member of the Dublin Newspapers Golfing Society.

The Irish Golf Directory refers to him having learned the game from books and watching professionals.

According to the ‘Blue Book’ he attributes himself with giving the first golf talk on Radio Eireann in 1937 and presumably by extension the first in Ireland. the topic, ‘Irish Golf and the Men who Made It’.

J. P. Rooney, the doyen of golf journalism in Ireland, wasn’t afraid to speak his mind or use his golfing knowledge and experience in predicting a Reddan–Garvey duel in the 1946 Irish Ladies championship but was incensed that the match would finish on the thirty-ninth hole with a stymie.

The young Baltray stylist, who plays her irons with the snap and skill of a professional.… Her length with the wood must have astonished even the Castle (golf club) men who followed her.

J. P. Rooney (in reference to Philomena Garvey)

“After my second championship at Portrush in 1947 old J.P. Rooney (the Irish Times journalist) said to me, ‘Phil, if you’re nine up after nine, put your foot on their neck, kill ‘em’.” In competition you have to play to win and Phil has very much followed this mantra.

Philomena Garvey

Play Good Golf is one of the first books that allowed an insight into the methods and thoughts of early Irish professional golfers. Interviews with; Lionel Munn, Dr. J.D. McCormack, Willie Nolan, Paddy Mahon, Eddie Hackett, Tom Travers, Harry Bradshaw, William Kinsella, Jack O’Neill, Willie Holley, Tom Gaffney, Pat O’Connor, Tom Shannon, Hughie McNeill and Fred and Bertie Smyth. All proceeds from the book when to the Irish Professionals benevolent fund. JPR died not long after to book was published.

Robert M. Smyllie, the larger than life editor of the Irish Times and great friend of J.P.R., gave both the book and its author a glowing tribute and a little insight into the writer. Rooney have obviously gone some way at being proficient at the game despite have taken it up relatively late in life and was a match for anyone on the subject.

“Having had some experience of what is entailed by the production of various “Irish Golfing Directories”. I opened the new Irish Golfing Directory with some curiosity. It was late in its arrival and well I knew why (the author had continuously delayed his own earlier directories and cancelled his last attempt). The responses of club secretaries to appeals for information are slow and too often fail to come at all. The editor is to be congratulated on the general result, and all being well, future editions would see improvements. The series of articles by various golfers are most interesting. To Lionel Munn one accords the palm, for it is sound and provides plenty of food for thought, as one reads it, one can hear him talking, so to speak, and who has listened to his slow drolleries without amusement”

Lionel Hewson (Irish Golf ) 1939 (in reference to J.P. Rooney ‘s Irish Golfer’ Blue Book ).