Denis Pritchard’s side, defeated by North Down in last year’s decider, were leading 2-1 in the closing minute at Belfield when goalkeeper Ian Hosford was yellow-carded for kicking the ball away.
A penalty corner was also awarded but the umpires did not permit Bandon to replace Hosford with substitute netminder Conor Robinson, despite the rules allowing them to do so.
Clontarf took full advantage of Bandon’s lack of a keeper to equalise and force extra-time.
The misery for the West Cork men was compounded when Clontarf were awarded a contentious penalty stroke on the half-time hooter in silver goal extra-time. Gareth Borland converted to spark wild celebrations from the Dubliners.
As the decision was made on the pitch Bandon seemingly will not have any recourse to appeal the result, but they are likely to write to the IHA seeking an explanation as to how a technical rule error was allowed to occur in a national cup final.
That result completed a day to forget for Bandon, whose ladies had earlier been defeated 3-1 by Pembroke — captained by Clonakilty woman Fiona O’Donovan — in the Irish Junior Cup final.
There was some cup joy for Munster as Cork C of I retained the ladies Irish Hockey Trophy in style. A four-goal, 15-minute salvo in the second half laid waste to Galway’s ambitions as Eddie Kirwan’s side won 5-1.
Elsewhere, four Midleton College alumni — Owen Chambers, Adam Colton, Alex Simonin and David Stead — featured in Dublin University’s 9-0 thumping of Armagh in the men’s Irish Hockey Challenge final. Wexford won the women’s equivalent while Monkstown won a lively men’s Irish Junior Cup decider 6-2 after running away from Three Rock Rovers in the second half. Clonakilty’s remarkable rise up the Munster ranks continues after Trish Moloney gave them a 1-0 win over Limerick in the Division 1 Challenge title playoff.