IT was fourth time lucky for Bandon in the men’s Irish Hockey Trophy final on April 7th – and the win provided the perfect sign-off for outgoing Irish Hockey Association president Ivy Dennis.
Having lost finals in 2014, 2015 and 2016, Bandon were up against Dublin side Portrane in the final in Belfield a fortnight ago, seeking to add to the Munster Senior League title they had already won.
While they fell behind to two early goals from Imran Khan, they didn’t wilt and pulled one back through Clinton Sweetnam before Ross Smyth levelled coming up to half-time. With the second half unable to follow the first in terms of goal action, a shootout was required, with Bandon triumphing 2-1, ensuring glory for veteran players Ali Smith, David Smith, Chris Wood, twins Matthew and David Jennings (celebrating their birthday), Mark Deane and Ivor Sweetnam.
Fittingly, the honour of presenting the trophy fell to IHA president and Bandon HC honorary life member Ivy Dennis, whose two-year term comes to an end next month.
It marked a double for her, having been in situ when Bandon’s women beat Galway to win the Irish Hockey Trophy a year ago, while she is part of a unique pairing herself – when she became president in 2016, she was following in the footsteps of her husband John.
At the end of the 1990s, just before the merging of the men’s and women’s administrative bodies, John was president of what was then known as the Irish Hockey Union, and he then chaired the new association for nine years.
One of the new rules of the IHA was that the two-year presidential term was to rotate between provinces – previously, Leinster and Ulster dominated, with John the first Munster president since 1983 – and when Munster’s turn came up in 2016, Ivy Dennis was the person chosen to lead the organisation.
Like her husband John, Ivy – a former Ireland women’s U21 team manager – had been president of Bandon and then Munster. Three others from the club – the late Joe Long, Fred Treacy and Mary Walsh – have also been provincial president. For now, the Dennises are the only husband and wife pairing to have both been national presidents.
On the pitch, a great year got even better for Bandon last weekend, as they secured a 4-2 win over Limerick in the final of the Munster Senior Cup to make it a treble for the men’s team this season.
Cian Kingston had them off to a great start with a goal after five minutes and by half-time it was 3-1 as Ali Jennings and David Smith added further goals. While Limerick did bring it back to 3-2 in the second half, Clinton Sweetnam secured the win late on.