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Thread: Dinny Hannon

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    Dinny Hannon

    Just thought I'd post this piece that was in local historian Gearoid O'Brien's weekly Athlone Miscellany piece in the Westmeath Independent in case anyone was interested.

    THE GREAT DINNY HANNON. [Gearoid O'Brien, Westmeath Independent]

    Connaught Street has had many famous sons (and daughters) but few could equal the success of Denis J (Dinny) Hannon, the fourth child of William and Kate Hannon of Connaught Street. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest ever footballers to come out of the town of Athlone. Dinny Hannon was born in 1888 and was a pupil in Summerhill'College Sligo at the same time as another great Athlonian, John McCormack. As a law student in Dublin he joined Bohemians F.C. in 1906 and what may have been his first amateur cap for Ireland was announced in this paper [Westmeath Independent] in November 1907 when it was revealed that he had been "selected to play for Ireland against England next Saturday in Tottenham". The following month the paper described him as "the youngest and the gamiest of the Irish players".

    Hannon had a meteoric rise with Bohs quickly graduating from the 3rd to the 1st team. He was on the amateurs team that won the Irish cup in 1908. He captained several Irish times in matches against England, Scotland and Wales. The late Frank Lynch in his History of Athlone Town F.C. published in 1991 quotes from a Westmeath Independent report of 9th September 1907 on a Bohemians v. Glentoran match. In it the reporter states "The outstanding feature of the team on Saturday was undoubtedly the display of Hannon, who at the close of last season, played a couple of fine matches for the first eleven. In the arduous position of Pivot on Saturday, he more than flattered and with football in him, should prove one of the greatest captures that 'Bohs' have had for some time". It went on to predict international success for Hannon and suggested that he would be an "encouragement to the younger men of Athlone to establish a good team in the town". These were prophetic words because over the coming years he was to be capped for Ireland several times he was also to become one of the great Athlone Town F.C. players. He was on the Irish Football Association Eleven that made history in 1913 by beating England's professional team in a series that had begun with a 13-nil victory to England in 1882.


    In June 1915 the Westmeath Independent announced that Denis Hannon of Connaught Street had been successful in his recent final examinations. He had served his apprenticeship with Mr P.R. Kelly, clerk of the Crown & Peace. Having qualified he continued to play with Bohemians until the formation of the F.A.I. He practised as a solicitor in Athlone and acted as solicitor to Roscommon County Council. Next week: Hannon's continued.

    The Great Dinny Hannon (continued) Denis J. Hannon, a native of Connaught Street, was one of the most distinguished footballers ever to hail from the town of Athlone. Having started his footballing career with Bohemians F.C. he later returned to Athlone to join the Athlone Town F.C. thus giving a much needed lease of life to the club. One of the great highlights in the history of Athlone Town F.C. was their great victory over Fordson of Cork in the final of the Free State Cup on St. Patrick's Day, 1924. A reporter writing in The Westmeath Independent stated: "I have been speaking to a great many eye witnesses of the final, including some who happened to be present at a large number of matches played by Bohemians when Denis [Hannon] was with the Dalymount team and one and all agree that, never in his life has Hannon given such an exhibition of all round skill. Many indeed of his numerous supporters are still wondering how he managed to beat O'Hagan, with the shot that meant undeniable victory.

    Determination, however, was written in capital letters over his every feature on Monday as it was over every man in the light blue team and this probably had a great deal to do with the thrilling win over Fordsons. That Denis Hannon should be the one to score the winning goal signifies nothing, if not the fact that it was a grand and fitting finale, to a still grander career". The correspondent, who signed himself MJJ was a bit premature in seeing this victory as the finale of Hannon's career.


    Arising out of their great victory in the Free State Cup no fewer than five of the Athlone Town team members were selected for the Irish team to play in the Olympic Games in Paris that year. One of those selected was, of course, Dinny Hannon (then aged 36) the others were Paddy Reilly, John-Joe Dykes, Tommy Muldoon and Frank Ghent. They were drawn in a group which included Bulgaria, the Netherlands and Estonia. In their opening match the Irish team beat Bulgaria by one goal to nil but the team from the Netherlands beat them two goals to one in extra time thus putting an end to the hopes of an Irish win. The experience at the Olympic Games was a great occasion for Hannon a man who had represented his country so well and on so many occasions. During their visit to Paris the Irish team placed a wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier mih a inscription in both French and Irish. While Dinny Hannon continued to play for Athlone for another season or two the year 1924 was to stand out as the 'grand and fitting finale, to a still grander career'. It was a significant year for him also because in August of that year he married Mary Molly (Naughton), the daughter of another Connaught Street merchant family.

    Dinny Hannon continued to practise as a solicitor in Athlone for many years and served as an official of the Athlone Town F.C. He was a long serving President of the Club and active board member. He retired from the club in 1972 insisting that 'younger blood was needed". Dinny Hannon died in August 1971 and is buried in Cornamagh Cemetery, his wife had predeceased him in 1949.

    Despite other sporting claims to fame for Connaught Street including a connection with the legendary John Aldridge -Dinny Hannon will forever be remembered in the annals of Connaught Street. He was a member of a distinguished business family and a sportsman who contributed greatly to both his home club and to the world of International soccer.
    Last edited by atfconline; 10/01/2003 at 6:24 PM.
    Celebrating 130 Years of Athlone Town Football Club - Pride of the Midlands Since 1887

  2. #2
    International Prospect
    Jun 2001
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    Re: Dinny Hannon

    Originally posted by atfconline
    He retired from the club in 1972
    Originally posted by atfconline
    Dinny Hannon died in August 1971

    good article btw

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