The Leeside Legends series: Reg Treacy, a Munster hockey star for 27 seasons

The Leeside Legends series: Reg Treacy, a Munster hockey star for 27 seasons

Before the Munster schoolboys hockey semi-final at Glasheen Road, Bandon Grammar School v. Cork Grammar School in 1955. Reg Treacy is far right, front row. 

FEW have helped propel the game of Men’s Hockey to new heights as Corkman the late Reg Treacy as he played at the top-level for three decades as his brilliant technique made him a master at his sport.

Reg was born in 1940 and began to play hockey while attending the Cork Grammar School.

Treacy took an immediate liking to the sport and after playing three years hockey for his school and still only 14 years of age he was chosen to play for the 1954 Munster Schools team.

Later that year he gained schools international recognition and scored two goals when Ireland defeated Scotland 4-1.

Reg played for just two clubs in his long career as after spending one season with Cork Harlequins he transferred to Cork Church of Ireland for the remainder of his club career.

Reg was awarded with his first Munster Senior hockey cap in 1955 and he then went on to represent the province for 27 consecutive seasons before finally bowing out of inter-provincial hockey in 1982.

Known as an attacking player with a sharp eye for goal Reg gained his first Senior International cap in 1959 and five years later toured India with the British and Irish hockey team.

He was eligible for selection on the Great Britain Olympic teams of 1964 and 1968 as he managed to make the pre-tournament squads of 24 for each championship but on both occasions, he was cut from the final squad.

Cork Church of Ireland’s Reg Treacy, on right, in action in the Irish Senior Cup.
Cork Church of Ireland’s Reg Treacy, on right, in action in the Irish Senior Cup.

Despite the setbacks, Treacy continued to enjoy playing hockey.

“I was very disappointed to have never played with the British and Irish Olympic team, but I accepted the decision of the selectors and just got on doing what I did best in the sport,” said Reg.

The Irish Senior Cup in the Blue Ribbon of Hockey in Ireland and in 1967 when Church of Ireland met Pembroke Wanderers in the final the talented Treacy was the star of the game.

He crowned his man of the match performance when scoring the winning goal and three years later he was part of the Irish team that competed in the first European championships.

One of the many highlights of Reg Treacy’s illustrious International career was an eight-nation 1972 tournament in Spain as his brilliance was the principal reason for Ireland’s success.

When the curtain finally came down on Treacy’s international career in 1984 he had amassed a total of 54 caps as the sport of hockey had lost one of its greatest players.

Dedication and the desire to succeed was the secret of Treacy’s long reign as Cork’s best hockey player and he consistently recommended this trait to younger players who wish to play at the top level.

In his time Treacy was concerned about the various Government’s attitude to sports such as hockey.

He said: “Our club facilities at Garryduff never received help from the government in my time playing and although hockey is treated as a minority sport it has helped hundreds of kids not alone in Cork but throughout Ireland.”

Some sports stars leave their chosen sport after retirement and never give anything back to the sport that made them.

That certainly wasn’t the case of Treacy.

“I always get great pleasure in coaching young kids at Garryduff as I would like to think that I could pass on some good positive knowledge and understanding of the game.”

“I do know that many years ago we had a closed membership, but it is now open to anybody who wishes to play hockey or use the facilities we provide.”

On a parting note, Reg looked back on his career with pride.

“I think the good side of any sport is that if you are successful you have some wonderful memories to look back on and even if you are not fortunate to be successful whether you play hockey or football and enjoy it the happy memories will always stay with you as participation is the key.”

Although small in stature the soft-spoken Reg Treacy will always be remembered as a giant in his beloved sport.

FACTFILE: 

  • Reg Treacy played 27 consecutive seasons for the Munster Senior Hockey team from 1955 to 1982;
  • In 1959 Reg gained his first Irish Senior cap that saw him amass a total of 54 during his illustrious career;
  • Treacy played in the first European championship in 1970 at Brussels;
  • Despite making the final 24 players Reg Treacy failed to make the final squad of the British and Irish teams that competed in the 1964 and 1968 Olympic Games;
  • He retired from the sport in 1984 at the age of 44;
  • Reg Treacy died in June 2015.
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