Monkstown Hockey Club

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Monkstown Hockey Club
Cumann Haca Baile na Manach
Logo of Monkstown Hockey Club

Motto Monkstown Hockey Club Est. 1894
Founded 1894
Grounds Rathdown School,
County Dublin,
53°16′37″N 6°07′55″W / 53.277070°N 6.131873°W / 53.277070; -6.131873
Men's Captain
Ladies' Captain
T. Watkins
S. Farrar
C. Higgins

Monkstown Hockey Club ('town; Irish Cumann Haca Baile na Manach) established in 1894 is one of the oldest in Ireland located at Rathdown School in Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin. The club has both men's and ladies' sections. In 2016, the club merged with Hermes Ladies' Hockey Club.[1]


Origins of the club[edit]

The concept and formation of the club came from Mr C. P. Ball and Mr H. S. Findlater. In response to circulars sent out by them a meeting was held in Kenny's Hotel, Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire), on 17 September 1894. Robert Rice chaired the meeting and in addition to the above named the following also attended: L. G. Barrett, J. W. Ball, W. B. Mitchell, J. D. Freeman, J. W. Galloway, R. G. Boughton, F. Burke, E. C. Wright, F. O. Norwood, C. Barker, C. McCullagh, F. Irwin, W. M. McBlaine, H. Pim, and W. Mercer. It was unanimously agreed that a club be formed named Monkstown Hockey Club. The following officers were then elected: H. S. Findlater as Hon. Secretary; C. P. Ball as Hon. Treasurer; and a committee of R. Rice, J. W. Ball, B. W. Scott, G. R. Symes and R. G. Boughton. At the next meeting the names of W. Egan and R. P. Pim were added to the committee. Mr. Herbert Findlater, who proposed the formation of the club, was a member of an eminent business and professional family in Dublin. He was a solicitor and lost his life in Gallipoli in 1915 during the First World War. His brother, Adam Findlater, became a vice-president of the club. Of the existing clubs in Leinster, Monkstown is the third oldest after Dublin University and Three Rock Rovers, which were founded a year earlier. At that first meeting, a deputation was elected to ask Mr. Bousfield of Corrig School for permission to play on the lower portion of its cricket pitch at Tivoli Terrace. To this he readily agreed, for which he was promptly elected as the first president of the club, and all Corrig Boys' School pupils became honorary members, therefore incurring the club in no financial outlay.

The annual subscription was set at five shillings with an entrance fee of two shillings and sixpence. The following year the subscription was raised to seven shillings and sixpence, except for those living outside a five-mile radius of the club ground, for whom it would remain at five shillings.

The colours of the club were chosen to be "light blue shirt with dark blue pipings and M. H. C. on the pocket in dark blue". Later the Hon. Secretary reported that arrangements had been concluded with "Lynch" of Westmoreland Street, Dublin to supply shirts made of flannel thoroughly shrunk at 7/6 each. Some years elapsed before the standardisation of the colour of shorts took place when white was chosen. This was later changed to navy blue.

The early years[edit]

The beginning[edit]

Monkstown's first match against a Mr. Blair White selection on 20 October 1894 comprised the following: F. Crozier, C. Walker, W. Atkinson, H. Miller, B. W. Scott, R. Rice, H. S. Findlater, W. B. Clarke, H. Kennedy, C. Martin, and R. P. Pim. The substitutes were J. W. Ball, W. Egan, W. Sugrue, J. W. Galloway and H. Pim. The result of this or any of the matches in the early years is not recorded.

The club established itself quickly with regular matches and by January 1895 there was the suggestion of a tour to Kilkenny, and a decision made to enter teams for the Irish Senior Cup and Irish Junior Cup. In addition to the clubs already mentioned, matches took place against the following teams: Kings Hospital, Mountjoy School, High School, Dundrum, Arkendale, Clontarf, Avoca School, Blackrock, Idlers, Corinthians, Donnybrook, Naas and Palmerstown. The latter club had a short but distinguished existence, being founded in 1893 and when disbanded in 1907, a number of their players came to Monkstown including Walter Peterson, J. Peterson and B. H. Peterson, three of the six famous Peterson brothers who had played international hockey for Ireland. Other international players who moved to Monkstown from Palmerstown were W. E. Graham, who later became President of the Irish Hockey Union and J. E. Mills who donated the "Mills Cup" now known as the Leinster Senior Cup. When Ireland beat England for the first time in Dublin on 19 March 1904 to win the triple crown, there were nine Palmerstown players on the team of whom five were Peterson brothers.

The first fund-raising event took place on 10 April 1895. A 'smoking concert' was held at the Royal Marine Hotel, tickets costing one shilling each. Another money spinner was a raffle for a Kapp Pipe valued at 2 pounds ten shillings.

It is not clear whether the club had goal nets in the first year, after which nets were purchased by a whip around amongst the members to cover the costs.

The first team played Trinity in the semi final of the Irish Senior Cup in March 1896 having beaten High School in the first match of the tournament. For this match, all team members wore the club cap, which was made of light blue silk with a dark blue monogram of M. H. C. Two caps were awarded at the end of this season for good play, one for a back and the other for a forward, the difference between these and the standard club cap is that they were stitched in silver.

In these early years, Monkstown progressed efficiently and amicably, the only contentious issue arose when the second team captain had to be quietly told that the committee wished him to start the team as selected by them, changing it only should it afterwards seem fit to do so. Relations between clubs remained most cordial. On one occasion, when Dundrum sent a letter proposing that 'both league matches played between the clubs last Saturday be considered friendlies', Monkstown readily agreed.

On Christmas Day 1986 a match against a team from Surbiton of London attracted such interest that gate money of one shilling was charged with ladies free. A lunch for the visiting team in the Royal Marine Hotel cost the Monkstown members five shillings each.

The groundsman "Casey" received three shillings weekly to look after the ground twice a week with power to the Honorary Secretary to dismiss him if necessary.

Registration of team members is first referred to in the club's minutes in November 1987, when the following names were forwarded to the Honorary Secretary of the League Committee; F. Crozier, W. H. Atkinson, G. M. Sterling, R. Rice, H. Miller, P. O. Byrne and Rev. E. J. Goldsmith. At that time it was only necessary to register seven players on the first team who would, of course, not be eligible to play on the second team.


Monkstown players soon made an impact on the international scene with three of the club's original team gaining their one and only caps. They were R. Rice in 1897, F. R. M. Crozier in 1900 and W. H. Atkinson in 1903. Other players were W. Knapp who got two caps in 1899 and G. M. Sterling three caps between 1900 and 1902. On the Irish team which played England in 1910 were the following five Monkstown players: D. Rowlands, R. Beatty, J. C. Cox, Walter Peterson, T. F. Perrin and a former Monkstown player R. C. Morrison.

The first major trophy was the Irish Junior Cup in 1906 won by the second team. With the influx of Palmerstown players in 1907 the club became a formidable one and enjoyed considerable success winning the following cups within the next seven years.

Irish Senior Cup 1910 , 1914 Senior League 1908 , 1909 Mills Cup 1907 , 1908, 1910 Irish Junior Cup 1906, 1908, 1909 Middle League 1906 , 1908, 1909, 1910 Junior League 1909 , 1910 Minor Cup 1909 Incidentally, in 1910 Monkstown entered two teams in the Mills Cup, and both won through to the final, but to save any embarrassment, the second team scratched from the decider.

These were indeed great years and to put them in perspective, the Senior League was not won again until 1976, the Middle League was not won during the next 59 years until 1969 and the Minor Cup till 1971. The most coveted trophy of all, the Irish Senior Cup, has remained outside the club's grasp since 1914.

From Tivoli Terrace to Royal Terrace[edit]

In 1897, the club arranged to purchase the 'Old Corrig' pavilion for £2. 15. 0. and Mr Hilton's estimate of £6. 10. 0. was accepted for removing it to Tivoli field and painting it. However, in the following year the Tivoli ground became no longer available, owing to the Grammar School requiring it for their own use. The pavilion was sold to the Headmaster for $4. Captain Thomas G. F. McCombie offered the use of a pavilion on his grounds at 'Laurel Bank' Monkstown Avenue, and for his generosity was elected an honorary member of the club. Mr Robert Field who owned a nearby dairy rented a piece of ground to the club as a pitch and the first practice match took place there on Saturday 8 October 1898.

The club's stay at Monkstown Avenue was of a short duration and by 1906 they were back at Tivoli Terrace where they remained until 1919. During the period of the Great War hockey was suspended in Ireland and very many players fought for King and Country. As a consequence no Irish Senior or Irish Junior cup competitions took place from 1915 to 1919 inclusive, and no International matches were played. For a brief period after that, the club was "camped" at Crosthwaite Park before moving to more extensive grounds at Royal Terrace in 1922, when they got a year-to-year agreement with Mrs. Hamilton Reid for use of a field there.

After the war[edit]

On resumption in 1920 of international matches Davy Rowlands continued playing for Ireland where he had left off in 1914.

The game was slow to recover in Leinster and for some years there were as few as six teams in the Senior League only just reaching double figures in 1928. in some years teams played against each other three times in the league in order to make a season of it.

With the supreme dominance by Railway Union of the league in the twenties, it was a very fine achievement of Monkstown to win four 'Mills' cups during the decade. The thirties continued in much the same vein with two 'Mills' wins with, however, a slump to Senior 'B' by 1938.

G. Tyndall and J. Gray were to get on the international team and both of them together with J. S. Prouse and Hector Legge played for Leinster. Hector now in his ninety fourth year provides the following reminiscences:

The lean forties[edit]

The September annual general meeting in 1940 shows the club in good heart and three teams entered in the leagues. However, by November 1941 they could field only one team and occasionally a second, the Mills Cup not being entered for. The following month the first team lost 5–1 to Portrane and only seven players turned up for the seconds match and most of them late.

During that season 1941–42 the club was at an all-time low, several players resigned and the second team lost nearly all its matches. By the beginning of the next season it looked as if the club could not field even one team. The image of the club was also tarnished mainly by over exuberant support at home matches, from an unruly section of the townspeople which eventually saw them banished to the outside of the railings at Royal Terrace where no doubt their exhortations were no less audible.

A special general meeting was called for 9 November 1942 to consider the future of the club and it was only by a majority of five to four with one abstention that they decided to carry on. New officers elected were George Bailey, Captain, and his brother Cecil, Honorary Secretary, and H. Kells, Honorary Treasurer. These together with two other Bailey brothers, Bobby and Gilbert, saw to it that the affiliation fees were paid for that year even though they were unable to field a team.

By September 1943 two teams were entered for the leagues and that season the first XI got to the final of the Irish Junior Cup losing to Mossley. They were in the Middle League. New life and enthusiasm appeared in the club with talk of starting a ladies section and laying down two tennis courts in Royal Terrace, a fresh lease having been arranged over the grounds. Neither project came to fruition. In the same year the following names were given as umpires to the Leinster Branch, Frank Gray, John Gray, T. Barr and George Darcus, but such was the abundance of umpires at that time that only T. Barr was taken.

A curious arrangement whereby the fourteen members of Crescentville Hockey Club joined on condition that they remain together as a team and so made up the formation of a third team. Ernest Mancais joined the club from Hammond Lane in 1944. He went on to serve the club as a most diligent treasurer for twenty-eight years before becoming the Club President for the years 1970–75.

Royal Terrace[edit]

The year-to-year agreement with Mrs Hamilton Reid from 1922 ended in 1929 when her lease expired. The ground landlords, Lords Longford and De Vesci, then entered into an agreement with the club to let them have the grounds containing eight and a half acres approximately, at an annual rent of £32 subject to the club having to "surrender to the landlords the said land or any portion at any time when called upon to do so". This the landlords did piece by piece, the largest chunk containing 4 acres, 1 rood and 25 perches given to the County Council for allotments in 1941. Nevertheless, the club had sufficient land for two pitches. In 1944 a further portion containing 1.25 acres was taken to build houses on what is now known as Myrtle Avenue. A new lease was then drawn up for the remaining 2 acres and 11 perches for a term of not less than ten years nor more than fifteen years. This meant that the club was reduced to one pitch. Later when a road was made from Royal Terrace to Myrtle Park the club had to give up a small piece of land containing a pavilion. For a time after this the club used part of the "Cottage Home" for changing rooms.

In 1949 with the approval and financial assistance of the ground landlords, a new pavilion was erected at a cost of £900. The builders were club members Bailey Brothers, who generously agreed to accept £250 payable by the club over three years, the balance of £650 being paid by the ground landlords who in turn, were to be repaid by the club over a number of years.

The club remained there until the ground was sold to Dún Laoghaire Corporation in 1989. As the club grew it became necessary to hire other pitches in the neighbourhood. The Grammar School pitch being occasionally availed of, later all-weather pitches were rented in turn from the Sacred Heart Convent on Carrickbrennan Road, Cabinteely Community School, Castle Park School, Dalkey, and Glengara Girls' School. The Royal Terrace pitch had at times an indifferent surface due mainly to undulations and a slight slope. In later years it was tenderly cared for by a number of club members with the assistance of the most up to date mowing equipment. Most notable of these was Maurice Martin who gave up much of his spare time and after one such preparation for an Irish Senior Cup tie, prompted the losing Antrim team to pronounce it the best grass pitch they had ever played on.

A period of consolidation[edit]

Up to the early 1950s, the old boys of Kingstown Grammar School, had traditionally gone to the Corinthians club which was originally formed from Kingstown's former pupils. Alan Cox ho lived in Bray, felt the journey to the Corinthians' ground at Templeogue too far to make by public transport, so made the move to the more convenient club of Monkstown when he left that school. This in 1952 marked the beginning of getting a regular supply of hockey playing schoolboys. He influenced many to follow him; players such as David Smith, Dougie Dyer, Neil Stuart and Douglas Hennessy. Standards of play rose thereby encouraging other hockey players to join and by 1954 the club fielded four teams. Later Michael Murdoch and Brian George joined from Kingstown and are still involved with the club. All these players were soon to become regular members of the first team. Still by the end of the decade the only success of merit as the winning of the Irish Junior Cup by the first team in 1951. Jack Megan was captain of that team. Another player on the team, Phil Dolan, had player for Mossley in 1944 in the final of the same cup when they bear Monkstown. Phil, though a Leinster man, never player for the Province, but player for Ulster during his short stay there and some twenty eight times for Connaught. After his playing days he gave great service to the club acting as selector for the first team and travelled with them to nearly all their matches.

In 1952 the first team returned to Senior hockey but with a restructuring of the league in the season 1958–59 they were placed in the 'B' section of the Senior League. On winning this section in 1961 they returned to the top flight of hockey in Leinster.

Dr. O. S. Maunsell who joined the club in 1905 and played on the lower teams for many years, died in 1954. Soon afterwards a cup known as the 'Maunsell' cup was donated to the club and played for at the annual charity match, proceeds of which were divided between the 'Cottage Home for Little Children' and the 'Little Sisters of the Poor'.

In September 1956 R. Satchwell of North Kildare and Connaught joined the club and got five international caps that season.

Golden era 1960–75[edit]


While the Leinster Senior League championship still remained outside the club's grasp during these years, also Irish Senior Cup finals were lost to Lisnagarvey in 1970 (1–0 in extra time) and to Queen's University in 1972 (3–0) it nevertheless was a period of remarkable achievement for the club. Playing strength grew to seven teams and despite the fact that there were no star players, but more than made up for this by an indomitable team spirit and the will to win. On St. Patrick's Day 1965 three teams played in Leinster cup finals. The first team was not fancied against an accomplished Pembroke XI in the Mills Cup, the third team faced a Pembroke team unbeaten all season and likewise an unbeaten fourths seemed reasonably secure against a team from Three Rock Rovers. Form was overturned that day with the firsts, captained by Michael Murdoch, and thirds winning, the fourths losing in extra time.

The next season the club went one better with a team in the final of all four Leinster cups. Only two finals were ready to be played on St Patrick's Day the first and fourths drawing Glenanne (Mills) and Aer Lingus (Minor) respectively. These teams were accompanied on the day of the replays by the second team against Trinity (Railway) and thirds versus Weston (Intermediate). A day of great excitement with supporters torn between venues culminating with an almost perfect climax. All teams won with the exception of the fourths who again drew and subsequently lost in a second replay. The first team was captained by Disney Gray and Michael Murdoch scored the only goal in what was described as a 'dour' match. The seconds led by Victor Hamilton had to go to extra time to win 2–1. In the Intermediate final a hat-trick by Robin Wright was just enough to win 3–2. Peter Werner captained that third team and he went on to collect trophies for the Intermediate League and the Walters Cup.

Another unique feat was the winning of the Irish Junior Cup by the third team in 1969. Given little chance against Belvedere of Cork, who had not conceded a goal on the way to the final, and who had beaten a strong Lisnagarvey seconds in the semi final, Monkstown found themselves two goals up in the early part of the game. During this time Gerry O'Connor scored immediately after an enforced breather, and Don Gowman scored what turned out to be the winning goal. This was a robust match with little style but more than compensated by tension and a heady atmosphere and a truly outstanding performance by goalkeeper Joe Dodd. Despite a late goal by Belvedere, Brian Carnegie proudly accepted the cup, the only third team captain ever to do so.

Sometimes a cup of lesser importance can take some winning and so it proved with the Minor Cup not won by the club since first played for in 1909. Despite the disappointment in the intervening years Willie Stuart astutely led the fifth team of youth and experience to win 3–1 against Lorraine in 1971. It was a deserved triumph for Willie who gave many years of service as office bearer and committee member to the club. Having won the Minor Cup there seemed little difficulty in retaining it for it was won again in the next two seasons.

The Mills Cup was won again in 1974 with Keith McCracken as captain. In the final Pembroke Wanderers found the presentation of two gift goals to Monkstown too big a handicap who went on to twin an exciting final by three goals to two.

To summarise, the following trophies were won during those fifteen years:

Irish Junior Cup 1969 Mills Cup 1965 1966 1974 Middle League 1969 Railway Cup 1966 1967 1972 Intermediate League 1966 1975 Intermediate Cup 1965 1966 1969 Junior League 1962 1965 1967 Minor Cup 1971 1972 1973

A settled senior team[edit]

During the season 1969–70 Trevor and Gordon Watkins joined the club and quickly progressed t the senior team. When Trevor took over the captaincy in 1975, David O'Driscoll had joined and added stability to the midfield, having achieved four international caps while playing with his former club Cork Harlequins. Trevor showed remarkable leadership and dedication which was rewarded by the team winning the Leinster Senior League that season a feat not achieved since 1909. The issue was not decided until the last match against the eventual runners-up, Pembroke Wanderers, when a goal by Roy Scott was sufficient to give Monkstown a 1–1 draw and the title by two points. Trevor went on to captain the team for eight out of the next ten seasons. During the Irish team's tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1979 he got two international caps and holds 40 caps for indoor hockey. The first XI maintained a high position in the Senior League for these years winning the League again in the 1981–82 season and capturing the Neville Cup in its inaugural year. Towards the end of that season Pembroke Wanderers seemed to have the Senior League wrapped up but a late dash by Monkstown with wins in their last six games including Pembroke clinched the title. In the penultimate match against Trinity in Santry on a Sunday afternoon Fred Brady, the Leinster President, had the trophy safely hidden in the boot of his car in case it was won that day. His foresight was not misplaced and amid great jubilation he presented the cup to Monkstown.

In 1979 the Mills Cup was won with Gordon Watkins as captain. Monkstown were very much the underdogs against a YMCA side who went on to win the Senior League that season and the Irish Senior Cup for the second year running. An early goal from Monkstown ensured a close match which went to extra time when a peculiar shot at goal by Crawford Tipping, following a short corner, was helped high into the net by Gordon Watkins for a 3–2 win. Gordon was capped for Ireland in 1976 having earlier been a schoolboy international.[2]

Leinster Senior League Table 1975 – 76

Leinster Senior League Table 1975–76

Indoor hockey[edit]

With the introduction of indoor hockey to Ireland in 1976 Monkstown made an immediate impact on the game. The club, who had Tommy Allen and Trevor Watkins involved in the initial international tournaments, played a leading role in the development of indoor hockey in Leinster and Ireland. Having the opportunity to travel with the national side, meant that Allen and Watkins were bale to bring back the specialised techniques and tactics that were inherent in the indoor sport.

Monkstown won the Leinster league in 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982 and 1983. They won the all-Ireland in 1979 in Limerick and earned the right to represent Ireland in the European club championships held in Zwolle, the Netherlands in 1980. The club also competed in tournaments held in Crystal Palace and Bristol and while they did not regain the all-Ireland Crown subsequent to 1979 were always a force to be reckoned with.

Watkins was subsequently appointed national indoor coach in 1985. The advent of artificial playing pitches in Ireland and changes in the obstruction rule meant that the skills previously learnt in indoor hockey were now being translated to the artificial surface. Due to additional paying and administrative demands, indoor hockey has taken a back seat, but for the period from 1977 to 1985 Monkstown's reputation of playing good hockey and enjoying themselves won the club new friends wherever they played.

Representative Honours:

T. Allen ~ 60 caps T. Watkins ~ 40 caps B. McCabe ~ 1 cap David O'Driscoll and Gordon Watkins also represented the Shamrocks (the unofficial Irish team) in a tournament held in the Netherlands.



In the 1984–85 season Trevor Watkins was again captain of the 1st XI but the problems experienced in the second half of the previous campaign persisted. A disappointing league season yielded just 13 points, two above the relegation zone, and a 1–0 win over Pembroke Wanderers in April, thanks to a goal from a young Mickey Nichols, was a much more significant result than it appeared at the time. However, an excellent run in the Irish Senior Cup brought victories over Antrim and Raphoe and we met Lisnagarvey in the quarter final at Blaris. Disaster struck a few days before this game when David O'Driscoll snapped an achilles tendon in training which kept him out of hockey for over a year. The quarter final developed into a major rearguard action with Tommy Allen and Noel Mclean playing starring roles until substitute Ian Kirk-Smith scored for Lisnagarvey at the end of forty minutes extra time. This match marks the final Irish Senior Cup appearances of two great stalwarts Keith McCracken and John Baker.

In junior ranks Ron Greenlee splendidly led the 5th XI to victory in the Leinster Junior Cup, the Junior League and the Walters Cup. It was also encouraging to see Peter Nichols captain the under-21 team to a 2–1 win over Pembroke Wanderers in the final of the Avoca-Leinster Under-21 Cup.

Tommy Allen was the new captain for the 1985–86 season and in view of the difficulties of the two previous seasons it was decided to introduce a number of young players to the 1st XI. Peter Nichols, at this stage already well established, was joined by this brother Mickey, Richard Dixon and Richard Davis. Despite some early encouraging signs, particularly in an Irish Senior Cup tie with Banbridge which was eventually lost 2–0, the team was in a precautious league position by Christmas. Ironically St. Atas, Avoca (a rare treat in the 80s) and Trinity were beaten in the Neville Cup and Monkstown began the final at Serpentine Avenue against Glenanne as favourites. Glenanne raced into a 4–0 lead after twenty minutes and despite consolation goals from Richard Dixon and Noel McLean we were a well beaten side. A poor run of results in the Senior League in the early part of 1986 left the team requiring a minimum of three points from the last three fixtures to ensure a relegation play-off. A 2–2 draw away to Glenanne, with Gordon Watkins scoring 8 seconds from the final whistle, and a 6–0 demolition of St. Brendan, containing a Shane Hayes hat-trick, brought us face to face with Corinthian in a battle to maintain our senior status. Two goals from Gordon Watkins in an extremely tense game gave Monkstown a 2–1 victory amid scenes of great relief. The 2nd XI reached the Railway Cup Final but were defeated 2–1 by a very strong Trinity side.

In the 1986–87 season, with Noel McLean as the new 1st XI captain, a further introduction of young players began to produce results. Ali Murdoch, Ian Keogh (back after injury), Peter Tipping and Denis O'Reilly were new additions to the side which following a disappointing start had a tremendous run of results after Christmas suffering only two defeats. The highlight of the season was the defeat of Avoca (1–0, A Murdoch) in the semi final of the Mills Cup. Gordon Watkins at sweeper and Tommy Allen producing five star performances. However, a salutary lesson was handed out in the final as Three Rock Rovers came out winners 8–1. A return of 17 points and fifth place in the Senior League proved to be the best performance of the last decade. At the end of the season Tommy Allen announced his retirement from Senior hockey after a long and illustrious career. The club were extremely fortunate to sign Ben McCabe from Lorraine who upheld Monkstown's tradition of high quality goalkeeping and followed in Tommy's footsteps by playing for Ireland at both senior indoor and outdoor levels.

Following the excellent results in the latter part of the 1986–87 season considerable optimism was evident at the beginning of the 1987–88 campaign. Early league results were mixed and included a 2–6 loss to Three Rock Rovers. St Iras were beaten 3–1 in the first round of the Irish Senior Cup but the celebrations became somewhat muted when news filtered through that our opponents in the next round would be Three Rock Rovers away. A new and admittedly defensive system employing two sweepers and a lone front runner was introduced. Total belief in the merits of this approach and an ability to break the Grange Road hoodoo (the previous four results were 2–6, 1–8, 0–6, 1–5) inspired in part by some splendid Tommy Allen rhetoric brought a marvellous 2–1 victory with goals from Paul O'Brien and Ali Murdoch. We were drawn away to the holders, Cookstown, and took this fine side to extra time before losing 0–3.

In 1988 the Leinster Branch decided to reduce the number of teams in the Senior League from ten to eight at the end of the 1988–89 season and to create a new league Senior Two. This meant that the bottom two clubs in the final league table would be relegated. Monkstown struggled to gather points and were in serious trouble by January. At this stage Ramey Parker of Bangor, and a great friend of the club, offered to play for us when available during the remainder of the season. It transpired that Ramey played in four scheduled games and contributed enormously to away victories over Glenanne and St. Brendan in particular. We were finally involved in a four way play-off to decide the two clubs to be relegated and fortunately three draws sufficed to keep the club in Senior One. Coincidentally (as in 1985–86 the other season involving a relegation play-off) the 1st XI reached the Neville Cup Final where, thanks to two goals from the captain, Gordon Watkins, St. Brendan were defeated. In lower ranks Crawford Tipping led a young 5th XI to victory in the Minor A League.

In 1989–90 Noel McLean was again 1st XI captain and during a difficult league season the 1st XI suffered five 0–1 defeats. In one of these games seventeen-year-old Ian Clarke made a very impressive debut in goal. The team, however, proceeded to produce some excellent performances in the cup competitions reaching the Mills Cup semi final before losing to Avoca. In the first round of the Irish Senior Cup Corinthian were defeated 4–0 (G. Watkins 3, M Nichols) and South Antrim were overcome 3–1 (G Watkins 2, P Nichols) after extra-time. We then played Wanderers in Belfast and a solid team performance brought a 2–0 win (G. Watkins 2). Newry Olympic proved too strong in the quarter final and won 2–1 with a late goal and it had now become obvious that an infusion of young players to the 1st XI was necessary for the 1990–91 season. This season marked the last in which Gordon Watkins, David O'Driscoll and Noel McLean were regular members of the 1st XI. It is worth noting the major contribution Gordon's goals made to the side over these six seasons:

  • Total goals 1st XI G. Watkins goals %
  • 1984–85 27 19 70%
  • 1985–86 40 22 55%
  • 1986–87 44 15 34%
  • 1987–88 34 19 56%
  • 1988–89 24 13 54%
  • 1989–90 27 11 41%
  • Totals 196 99 51%

With the advent of all-weather pitches in the 1970s, Monkstown had made several attempts to develop Royal Terrace but all efforts had been frustrated by the planning authority. By the mid-1980s it had become obvious that astroturf pitches were essential for clubs aspiring to a real and long-term future. At this time the Leinster Branch of the Irish Hockey Union had sold their grounds at Templeogue and made a decision to grant four clubs with interest free loans in order to increase the number of astroturf pitches in Dublin significantly. Monkstown made presentation to a special meeting of the Leinster Branch in December 1988 and were fortunate, along with Glenanne, Corinthian and Railway Union, to receive the necessary support to secure an interest free loan of IR£101,000. Don Cowman was heavily involved in all efforts to develop the club at this time and received due recognition of his tremendous contribution at the official opening of the Rathdown facility in September 1991. Michael Murdoch in his period as president from 1984–87 had initiated discussions with the Cabinteely Community School and the original plan was to develop the astroturf pitch and Clubhouse at that venue. However, our planning application was rejected in 1989 and the President, Paul O'Brien and his sub committee approached Rathdown School to investigate the possibility of locating the astroturf pitch adjacent to the existing all-weather surface at Rathdown. We were extremely fortunate that agreement was reached and the pitch was laid and ready for play at the beginning of the 1990–91 season. Naturally this had major financial implications on a small club such as Monkstown as the entire project had cost IR£268,000 at the end of March 1991. This was financed as follows:

Leinster Branch loan 101,000 Sale of Royal Terrace 33,000 Retained earnings from Fund Raising etc. 77,000 Bank Facilities 57,000 Total IR£268,000 In order to fund repayment of the bank facilities and provide a sinking fund for pitch replacement it was projected that fund raising would need to be in the region of IR£21,000 per annum from 1991–92 onwards. The executive committee unanimously agreed to put a proposal of a levy of IR£400 for full members (IR£1,500 interest free loan over 3 years as an alternative) to an extraordinary general meeting. Despite the reservations of some lady members this motion was passed by a comfortable majority. It came, therefore, as a source of considerable disappointment to the new executive committee that the ladies decided not to pay the levy and form a separate club called Glenageary Hockey Club thus absolving themselves from all financial responsibility for the ongoing commitments of Monkstown.

In February 1992 the club received a solicitor's letter from a number of residents in the Hillcourt Estate seeking injunctions to restrict the use of our floodlights and the playing of football. This resulted in a High Court hearing lasting nine and a half days resulting in a marginal restriction of our use of the Astro-Turf pitch. However, the judge decreed that each party would be responsible for its own costs and Monkstown's was a staggering IR£38,000. Following a presentation made by Ben Glascott and Noel McLean to a special General Meeting of the Leinster Branch, financial support was received from both the Branch and Allied Irish Banks which allowed us to discharge the outstanding legal fees.

For the past several years both Don Cowman and Ben Glascott had made representations on the club's behalf to obtain funding from the National Lottery and it was a source of tremendous relief and celebration when we were allocated IR£50,000 in December 1993. This allowed us to repay all out bank borrowings, bring our members loans up to date (repayments had been deferred due to the precarious financial position of the club) and look positively at the provision of a Clubhouse at the Glenageary Park end of the ground. It is hoped that this will be completed in the summer of 1995.

Paul Delany, who had joined from Railway Union in 1988, was the new 1st XI captain for the 1990–91 season and introduced some promising young players in David Jenkins, Paul Argue and David O'Connor. A disappointing league season was somewhat compensated by some fine performances in the Neville Cup as Three Rock Rovers and YMCA were beaten away from home 1–0 and 3–0 respectively to set up a final against Avoca. Johnathan Sellars hit the post in the opening minutes but thereafter Avoca laid siege to the Monkstown goal where Cormac O'Byrne had the game of his life until finally a goal was conceded shortly before the end of extra time. The second XI under the young and imaginative leadership of Neil Maynard proceeded to win the Railway Cup defeating YMCA 2nds 1–0 in the final at Whitechurch. Hugh O'Broin, Chris Van de Lee and Conor Stuart were useful young additions to this side.

The 1991–92 season was generally very disappointing from a playing perspective with all teams finishing near the bottom of their respective leagues.

In 1992–93 Ali Murdoch became the 1st captain but this proved to be a very difficult season resulting in relegation to Senior Two. An inability to score goals and the erosion of confidence following a succession of defeats proved too big a hurdle despite a spirited effort over the last few games of the season. Perhaps it is fair to say that we only had a limited number of players who stood out as obvious Senior One calibre and a large number of players of similar ability. This is reflected to certain degree in the 2nd XI performance of finishing runners up to Glenanne 2nds in the Middle A League.

The main target for the 1993–94 season was naturally to ensure that the 1st XI regained Senior One status where traditionally Monkstown belong. This was achieved. After a number of scares particularly in dropping four points to the eventual champions, Carlow, following a very impressive run in which saw the team win six of its last seven games. Ali Murdoch was again captain and Simon Cox proved a notable acquisition notching 11 goals. Other young players to establish themselves in the 1st XI were Colin Manley and Ian Stuart. The Maunsell Cup was also regained after many years of Avoca domination. The 2nd XI, again led by Noel McLean, failed to repeat the previous season's league performance but good runs in both the Irish Junior and Railway Cups came to a disappointing climax on days when the team did not perform. The major result in a series of nine wins in eleven matches was the defeat of Avoca 2nds in the Irish Junior Cup (3–2) when twice coming from behind and thus reaching the last eight for the first time since 1982. Young players who featured in this team with a bright future included Andrew Groves, Robert MacDonagh, Glen Bailey and Chris Beere. The colts section under the watchful eye of Tommy Allen had an exciting year winning both the Under-16 League and Cup and the Under-14 Cup.

The later years[edit]


2012/2013: A big season[edit]

This season started when Graham Shaw came on board as men's 1st team coach. At the beginning Graham wanted to just don the clipboard but it soon became apparent after the first few league games the young squad needed experience. Graham begin playing as well as coaching and took the team to the top. They won the Leinster Senior Mills Cup, the Irish Senior Cup and the Irish Hockey League.

2013/2014: IHL and Europe[edit]

Peter Caruth joined the team. This season saw the winning of a second Irish Hockey League and after a 32-year wait the Leinster Senior League. Monkstown also won the European B division in Italy and qualified themselves for the A Division the EHL

2014/2015: Three In A Row[edit]

Monkstown competed in its first Euro Hockey League (EHL) in Barcelona

2015/2016: Irish Senior Cup Success[edit]

With Graham Shaw moving on to coach the Senior Women's team Jonny Caren was the man to lead the club into this season. The year started very successful when in the EHL them men's team drew both their games against Club Egar (Spain) and East Grinstead (England). They went on to win the Irish Senior Cup on penalty strokes against Lisnagarvey.


Women's section[edit]

The club logo

Originally formed in 1982, the ladies section of Monkstown disbanded in 1991.

Monkstown Ladies was revived in 2008 by Aileen Kealy, Sarah Lovett, Suzie Murray, Amy McGovern and Grainne Wall and 12 other members. The ladies ethos from the outset was driven by a desire to share in the fun & comradery which was so evident in Monkstown HC. The ambition was to grow a strong and successful ladies section that would complement and mirror the success of the men’s section in Monkstown HC.

The ladies players who formed the initial team in 2008 came from a number of different clubs and levels throughout Leinster and dominated division 14 winning all their matches their inaugural season. In 2009 the team was promoted to division 11 and after just two games the Leinster Hockey Association promoted the team to Division 8 and a second Monkstown Ladies team was introduced.

The ladies sections attitude, skill and dedication building each season and winning promotion throughout the teams had created an appetite for Fillies hockey from families affiliated with Monkstown. In 2010 the first fillies took to the field on a Sunday morning in Rathdown, coached by the ladies & supported by Sharon Cole & Laura Martin.

In 2012 Monkstown HC expanded adding a third and fourth team when they were joined by Dalkey Ladies Hockey Club.

Monkstown Hockey Club now have six teams competing in the Leinster Leagues and the All Ireland EY Hockey League. A vets team was established in 2015 and play in the Leinster Ladies’ Vets league.

From their revival in 2008 the 1st team enjoyed promotion every season (excluding one) until 2016 when the Monkstown Ladies successfully gained promotion into division 2 and the club merged with Hermes Hockey Club cementing its place in the Irish Hockey League.

2016/2017 Current Competitions:

1st XI: EuroHockey Club Champions Cup, EYHL, Irish Senior Cup, Jacqui Potter Cup (as Hermes-Monkstown)

2nd XI: Division 2, Irish Junior Cup, Jacqui Potter Cup

3rd XI: Division 3, Division 3/4 Cup

4th XI: Division 6, Division 5/6 Cup

5th XI: Division 7, Division 7/8 Cup

6th XI: Division 8, Division 7/8 Cup

Vets: Ladies’ Vets League (as Hermes-Monkstown)


Dalkey Ladies Hockey Club was originally set up in 1981 by Hillary Dixon, Berni Nolan, Rachel Kerr and Colleen and Katrina Hogan as an informal team to facilitate school leavers eager to continue playing hockey. In 2000, the club stopped for a season, but was started up again by Gillian Coffey and Mary Jane Mulligan, and quickly became successful again, growing to 4 teams and achieving success in Leinster leagues and cups. Dalkey joined with Monkstown Hockey Club in 2012.


Hermes Hockey Club was founded in 1966 with 48 members. The club has produced numerous senior international players over the years, including many Irish captains and several who have achieved over 150 caps, Jenny Burke (161 caps), Mary Logue (153), Linda Caulfield (151) and others capped whilst playing for Hermes include Gwen Doherty, Daphne Sixsmith, Carol Devine, Tara Browne Catriona Carey, Fiona Connery, Kristin Farrell, Jill Hodgins, Sarah Hilliard, Nicola King, Christine Quinlan. The current crop of Irish players includes Anna O'Flanagan, Nicola Evans, and Chloe Watkins. In 2011 Gwen Doherty became the 1st Hermes player to be inducted to the Irish Hockey Hall of Fame.

Hermes achieved outstanding success in recent years winning the Irish Senior Cup in 1997, 1999, 2005 and 2006, the All Ireland Club Championships in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008 and representing Ireland in European competitions on six occasions. They won the inaugural EYHL in 2016 and qualified for the EuroHockey Club Champions Cup in June 2017. Hermes merged with Monkstown Hockey Club in 2016.

Merger with Hermes[edit]

In 2016, the club merged with Hermes Ladies' Hockey Club (founded 1966), and the ladies' section, playing under the name Monkstown/Hermes took Hermes' place in the Irish Hockey League.[3]



† Won by 2nd XI


† Won by 2nd XI

Club personalities in Irish hockey[edit]

While it is impossible to give anything like a proper picture of all those who gave dedicated service to the club or to the Province of Leinster, some mention of those members of Monkstown who rose to the top of administration of hockey in Ireland through the Irish Hockey Union is appropriate.

Profiles of J. E. Mills (Treasurer and President) and W. E. Graham (President) can be seen here. A lesser known figure is that of W. F. McDonnell, who played for King's Hospital but a serious injury sustained early in his career, compelled him to give up the game. He became an enthusiastic member of Monkstown and acted from 1907 into the thirties as Honorary Treasurer of the club. An Honorary Treasurer of the I. H. U. from 1912 to 1943 he also held the office of their President for the season 1937–38. He was an international selector and senior umpire for many years.

Another personage of interest was J. S. McMahon who played for Royal Hibernians, a British Military School team. On the formation of the Irish Free State in 1922 they returned to base in England after which Mr. McMahon became a very active Vice President of Monkstown. He was international match secretary from 1912 to 1927 when the post merged with that of the secretary. An Honorary Secretary of Leinster Branch for 23 years and a Leinster and Irish selector. He contributed notes on Leinster hockey to "Hockey World" for over twenty years and also umpired. A diminutive figure, he can often be seen in old team photographs posing in the middle of a row of players sometimes in a bowler hat. Apparently, he disliked being placed with other officials at either end of the photograph in case he would be left out of the picture.

Herbie W. Cooper does not appear to have played for Monkstown but was their President from 1954 till his death in 1959, and Honorary Secretary of the I. H. U. from 1953 to 1957.

Of more recent vintage is Brian George a product of Kingstown Grammar School. He joined the club in 1957 and played nearly all his hockey n the senior team at right half. After his playing days he has acted as a senior umpire but remains a keen supporter of the club. He was elected President of the Union for the year 1979–80 and is the youngest to hold that office.

Crawford Tipping played on nearly every team in the club and acted in many capacities, including its president from 1977 to 1982. He was honorary treasurer of the I.H.U. from 1972–77, becoming president for the years 1991 to 1993, the latter year being the centenary of the union. More recently, he was their honorary secretary for a brief period up to a few months ago. He was also an Irish selector. He has frequently during these years been deeply involved in the administration and running of international matches and tournaments in Leinster and is helping with the arrangements in staging the European Cup in Dublin next year.

Jim Gregg started his playing career in 1957 with North Down. He came to Monkstown in 1963 via Corinthian. Except for a brief period with Bangor in the 1970s, he has acted in nearly every captaincy in the club. He was treasurer of the I. H. U. 1981–87. Jim is currently the Patron of the club.

Jimmy O'Connor joined Monkstown in the late 1940s. Always in the peak of fitness due to his great love of cycling, in which capacity he represented Ireland. He took up umpiring in the 1960s and soon graduated to senior status. A strict disciplinarian he was always scrupulously fair. He became Ireland's first class 1 or 'Crown' umpire in 197. Accompanied the Irish team to a number of foreign venues including Buenos Aires and Kuala Lumpur. His name is well known in many countries where Ireland have played. A dedicated representative on the Leinster Branch Council and in the administration of umpiring in Ireland. Now nineteen years on the executive of the I. H. U. his great store of knowledge of rules and procedures and his rare gift in weighing up difficult or complicated problems and by making proposals or recommendations often brought matters to a speedy and satisfactory conclusion. Jimmy served as President of the Irish Hockey Union 1995–1997. David Balbirnie was for a time in his early years a Monkstown player before moving to Avoca. From 1986 to 1993 he served as a painstaking and hard working secretary of the I. H. U. He was Honorary Secretary of the European Hockey Federation from 1992 to 2013, the first Irish person to hold this post. He has also served on the FIH Executive on a number of occasions and is currently a Trustee of The Hockey Museum in London.


The club has served the game well in providing umpires. At the first meeting of the Leinster Hockey Umpires Association in February 1904 the following club member attended: F. R Crozier. J. S. McMahon who was instrumental in starting the Association became its first Honorary Secretary and J. E. Mills a committee member were later members of Monkstown. Mr. Mills was the Association's President from 1912–22.

In the season 1945–46 T. W. (Sam) Beegan was President and later was appointed an international umpire. Likewise Johnny Gray and Bobbie Bailey followed in his footsteps. Two great pals, Jim Carey and Bertie Wright served the Association well and were senior umpires. Both were on the club committee for many years and were club Presidents. Jim Carey's reports as Honorary Secretary of the club to the annual general meetings are a joy to read as they are a comprehensive history of the year under review. When they died in 1970 the Wright Carey Cup was presented to the Leinster Branch in their memory. Jimmy O'Connor is already referred to as Ireland's first Crown Umpire and his nephew Ray O'Connor who is also associated with the club is only Ireland's third 'Crown' umpire. Brian George and Robert Argue are senior umpires.

Player profiles[edit]

J. E. Mills (1895–1910) (13 caps) He started his playing days with Palmerstown and was captain of that club. Played n the first ever international team against Wales in 1895 at Rhyl and was one of the nine Palmerstown players who beat England in 1904 to win the Triple Crown. Quick and full of energy, he could play in any position and represented Ireland in four different positions on the field. When the Palmerstown club folded in 1907 he moved to Monkstown. Irish hockey owes a lot to him for his contribution to the sport. He became a committee member of the Leinster Hockey Umpires Association when it was formed in 1904. From 1908 to 1912 he served as Honorary Treasurer of the Irish Hockey Union and was its President 1925–26 and was an Irish selector for many years. It seems he gave up playing hockey when his international career ended but became president of Monkstown in 1919. An all round sportsman, he excelled at cricket and goal and was also good at sailing. His name is perpetuated in hockey in the very fine trophy which he donated - the "Mills" Leinster Senior Cup.

Walter E. Peterson (1903–14) (23 caps)

Jack Peterson (1901–14) (20 caps) Two of the famous Peterson brothers who played for Palmerstown and Ireland joined Monkstown in 1907 and continued their international career. They were full backs. While strong tacklers it is said that they hit wildly and too hard especially when hard pressed.

W. E. Graham (1907–09) (10 caps) Joined Monkstown from Palmerstown at the same time as Mills and the Peterson brothers. The outstanding left half back of his time, he was known as a hard tackler. Adept at juggling with the ball in the air and running with it on his stick. He learned his hockey at Kingstown Grammar School and was an Irish selector before becoming President of the Union for the year 1933–34. A medical doctor by profession, he was club president for the years 1927–36.

T. F. "Doddy" Perrin (1910–14) (13 caps) He began his hockey career as a goalkeeper for Avoca and as a small schoolboy gave some amazing displays. However, it was at centre half that he really shone for Ireland. Small but sturdy he had a good eye and superb stickwork. An expert at intercepting passes while the clever placing of his passed to his own forwards brought many scores. In his last match against England in 1914 he was given a great ovation after the match by the crowd who called him the "wee marvel". He lost his life in the Great War.

David R. Rowlands (1910–23) (26 caps) Born overlooking the hockey pitch in Tivoli Terrace he became one of the best left halves to represent Ireland. Always in the peak of fitness he worked like a tireless terrier. His marking, intercepting and placing of the ball for his forwards were of the highest order. Unchallenged for the left half position from 1910 to 1923 it is fair to say that he never played badly for Ireland. Had not internationals been suspended during the years 1915–19 because of the war he would have gained many more caps. A year after his last international he gave up hockey on his marriage in 1924.

Tommy Allen (1974–81) (28 caps) Tommy joined the club as a fourteen-year-old in 1960. Following a number of years as goalkeeper on the third and second teams he became a regular first team member in 1968 on the departure of Tony Dodd to Railway Union. The following year he gained his Ireland under-23 international against Wales in Dublin. He got his first full international cap also against Wales in Southampton in 1974. During his international career he played in the Intercontinental Cup in Rome in 1977, the European Cup in Hanover and World Cup Final in Buenos Aires in 1978. The following year he toured Australia and New Zealand with the Irish team. After Ireland's participation in the Intercontinental cup in Malaysia in 1981 he retired from the outdoor international scene. However, he continued to remain on the Irish team at Indoor Hockey getting a record equalling 60 caps of which 52 were consecutive. On the Leinster team for ten years up to 1983 during which the Leinster Regiment Interprovincial cup was won four times. In his years as Monkstown goalkeeper up to 1987, he was on winning league teams in 1976 and 1982 and the Mills Cup winners in 1974 and 1979.

Tommy has been a great servant to Monkstown and his affable and outgoing disposition has endeared him to opposition and teammates alike. Since his retirement from hockey he gives unstintingly of his time encouraging and helping young players, especially the club.

Club presidents[edit]

  • 1894–97 J. Bousfield
  • 1897–1901 R. Blair White
  • 1901–02 C. Atkinson
  • 1902–03 R. Blair White
  • 1903–08 W. H. Atkinson
  • 1908–19 R. J. Roe
  • 1919–22 J. E. Mills
  • 1922–24 J. S. McMahon
  • 1924–26 G. Richardson
  • 1926–27 S. R. Sweetman
  • 1927–36 W. E. Graham
  • 1936–41 W. Richardson
  • 1941–42 H. J. C. Ledge
  • 1942–43 G. Darcus
  • 1943–54 O. S. Maunsell
  • 1954–59 H. W. Cooper
  • 1959–62 T. W. Beegan
  • 1962–67 J. J. Carey
  • 1967–70 H. W. Wright
  • 1970–75 E. J. Mancais
  • 1975–77 M. A. Murdoch
  • 1977–82 C. H. Tipping
  • 1982–84 D. Cowman
  • 1984–87 M. A. Murdoch
  • 1987–88 P. Good
  • 1988–90 P. O'Brien
  • 1990–91 M. A. Murdoch
  • 1991–93 T. J. Allen
  • 1993–96 B. J. Glascott
  • 1996–98 C. O'Byrne
  • 1998–2000 M. A. Murdoch
  • 2000–03 B. R. George
  • 2003–09 G. Watkins
  • 2009–15 D. Varian
  • 2015 to date T.G. Watkins

International players[edit]

  • Tommy Allen
  • Trevor Watkins
  • Gordon Watkins
  • David Fitzgerald
  • Gareth Watkins
  • Stephen Cole
  • Jamie Carr
  • Lee Cole
  • David Cole
  • Kyle Good
  • Peter Caruth
  • Jonny Bruton
  • David Carson

Monkstown families[edit]

Monkstown have had a number of legendary families over the ages, some skillful, some successful and others more social. The current crop of families includes the Cole's; Stephen, David, Lee and Geoff, along with parents Didi and Sharon. The Watkins'; Brothers Trevor and Gordon, who have birthed sons Ross, David and Gareth and daughters Chloe and Courtney. The Groves'; Brian, Speedy and Gavin. But the most exceptional and desirable of all are the O'Halloran clan of Gavin, Shane, Oisin and associate member Jennifer. The O'Halloran's are of blood relation to the infamous Brian H.T. Taylor of Avoca Hockey Club. Other notable families clans are the Allens, Beeres, Nolans, Varians and Ryans.