THE late Billy Good has been hailed as ‘a driving force’ in the ongoing success of his beloved Bandon Athletic Club.
One of the founding fathers of the club, Good passed away last Saturday, but his legacy will live on as Bandon AC continues to go from strength to strength.
Last weekend, the club won three gold medals at the national junior championships in Dublin and the club’s most famous athlete, Phil Healy, will fly the Bandon AC flag at the Olympics next month – and all these successes are possible thanks to the vision, dedication and hard work from Good, the club’s President whose fingerprints are all over its history since the very start.
His contribution to the club he helped set up in January 1964 – initially named as St Patrick’s – will never be forgotten, and neither will his contribution to athletics in general, and this was recognised when he was named the 2020 Celtic Ross Hotel West Cork Sports Star Hall of Fame Award winner earlier this year. It was a fitting honour for a local sporting legend.
Leading the many tributes to Good was his friend, Brendan Crowley.
‘Billy Good was a most respected person on the Irish athletics scene,’ Crowley wrote.
‘He started his involvement in athletics as a highly successful athlete in the sixties, also finding time to set up his beloved Bandon AC.
‘He held officership at club, division, county , provincial and national levels. He was selfless and thorough in all projects he undertook.
‘No task was too small for Billy and he was as happy cutting the grass and lining the track in the Town Park, preparing and undoing cross-country courses, collecting for funds as he was officiating as race director or chief judge and timekeeper at major athletics events or being a keen debater at National Congress.
‘He was a driving force in the successes of the club over the years and in setting in motion the groundwork for the new all-weather track which, alas, he will not get the chance to enjoy.’
Crowley added: ‘From a personal point of view I was so lucky to have enjoyed a wonderful friendship with Billy over the years as we travelled the length and breadth of the country to competitions and meetings. He was a true gentleman.’
Good’s incredible involvement in athletics spans well over half a century, from first becoming involved in the sport when he attended Hamilton High School to becoming an active member of Knocknacurra AC before he was part of the group that decided to set up Bandon AC in 1964.
On and off the track, he made an impact. Good won county titles, but also made an impression in the administrative side of athletics – and this is where he came into his own. He held important roles at West Cork and county levels, and his contribution to athletics stretched far and wide.
Good promoted, organised and officiated, but home is where the heart is, and Bandon AC was always central to him, to the extent that he wrote a book, ‘Lemon and White – 50 Years of Bandon Athletic Club, a brief history’.
His club recently announced details of an exciting new development that will transform Bandon AC and take the club to a new level as it plans to build a state-of-the-art facility on an eight-acre site it has purchased just outside Bandon.
It’s no surprise to learn that Good played an important role here, too, helping the club obtain the site at Clancoolbeg as well as the associated planning permissions.
Billy Good’s role in Bandon AC and the local athletics scene will never be forgotten, and his legacy will endure and create sporting opportunities for generations to come.