BANDON Athletic Club’s Billy Good is the most deserving winner of the 2020 Celtic Ross Hotel West Cork Sports Star Hall of Fame Award.
Every sports club has at least one unsung hero who shuns the limelight and works diligently in the background, and it’s fair to say there might not be a Bandon AC in existence today were it not for Billy Good.
Only a few days to go until we crowned the 2020 West Cork Sports Star of the Year on Sunday night.
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A driving force in Cork athletics for over half a century, Good first developed an interest in the sport while attending Hamilton High School. He became an active member of Knocknacurra AC which sourced young athletes from the school. On January 30th 1964, a decision was made by the younger Bandon-based members of Knocknacurra to form their own club and Bandon AC – initially named as St Patrick’s – was born.
Good was a founding member, and Brendan Crowley details how his great friend ensured the newly-formed club would get up and running in the proper manner.
‘Billy had to get the six o’clock bus to Cork and walked straight to the county secretary’s house,’ Crowley explained.
‘He had all the relevant documentation to ensure the club was registered before the next board meeting. Billy was the club’s first board delegate, a position he has held up to this year and was also elected club (novice) captain.
‘Billy was a successful athlete in his day, winning many races over ‘440’ and ‘880’ as well as cross-country. He won the county 880 title in 1964. Billy’s individual performances played a major role in helping Bandon win the Dagg Cup for the most improved club in 1965.’
Since then, the Bandon AC stalwart has become one of Cork athletics’ best-known names by accepting numerous West Cork and county board roles. Good played a major role in the setting up and organising of the Cork City Marathon as well as becoming race director of the ladies mini-marathon.
As vice-chairman of the county athletics board, Good was instrumental in setting up graded track and field leagues which became an important part of the track and field season. Not content with facilitating those county roles, Good also officiated as timekeeper or judge at hundreds of athletics meetings and championships throughout the country. He also assumed the chief judge and main timekeeper roles at the annual Cork City Sports meet.
Yet throughout all his years dedicated to promoting, organising and officiating at various athletics meets, Bandon AC remained closest to Good’s heart. So much so, that he put pen to paper and wrote a book entitled ‘Lemon and White – 50 Years of Bandon Athletic Club, a brief history’.
Away from the track, he has dedicated a huge amount of his life to preparing and maintaining the Town Park, making it one of the country’s best grass-tracks. Whenever a cross-country event took place in the Bandon area, he would be heavily involved in setting out the track and dismantling it afterwards.
As for personal highlights, recent and not-so-recent track successes brought the widest of smiles to Good’s face.
‘I know that one of Billy’s proudest moments came in October 1979,’ Brendan Crowley said.
‘It was in Upton where, for the first time in the club’s history, our novice cross-country team lifted the county championship cup. That victory came after a hard-fought contest with a Leevale team led by Marcus O’Sullivan who would go on to represent his country at four Olympic Games. The victory sparked spontaneous celebrations involving visits to many a watering holes in Bandon that lasted late into the night.
‘More recently, he was so proud to see one of his fellow club members, Phil Healy, go close to winning a medal at the European Indoor Championships.
‘It is fair to say that Billy has selflessly devoted much of his free time to ensuring that his beloved Bandon AC maintains its place as one of the most vibrant clubs in the country.’
This year’s West Cork Sports Star awards – an online show this Sunday night, starting at 7.30pm – will be different to all those that have preceded it. Yet, the virtual event will continue its tradition of crowning the most deserving of Hall of Fame award winners. Every sports club deserves a Billy Good.