Bann Secure IHL Semi Spot for Home Finals!

With victory over Annadale at Lough Moss at the weekend Bann not only maintained their 100% record in Group B of this season’s All Ireland League but they also secured their place, with a group game still to go, in the semi-finals of this year’s competition which they will host as part of the IHL finals weekend on Sat 5th April 2014 and Sun 6th April 2014 at Havelock Park.  Bann travel to Dublin next week for a top spot shoot-out with Monkstown.

Not since the halcyon days of the European Cup hosted by Bann on their grass pitches at Castlewellan Road in 1985, have the locals staged such a high profile club tournament.  The locals applied to host the series and their ambitious plans to host an event like no club event staged in Ireland saw favour with the Irish hockey Association and plans are now in full swing to showcase Havelock Park as a future venue for future club and international events.

Havelock Park will see Bann, current IHL holders Monkstown, and two teams from Three Rock Rovers, Pembroke Wanderers, and Lisnagarvey do battle for the men’s title.  While Dublin’s UCD, Railway Union, and Loreto will take on Ulster kingpins Pegasus to see who will lift the blue ribbon event in Irish club hockey.  Whoever secures victory in either event will not only be crowned Irish champions but will also qualify to take Europe’s elite in next season’s Euro Hockey League.

Havelock Park will be transformed into a major hockey venue with a 170 seater stand, a fenced marquee entrance, bouncy castles, premium spec cars on display, restaurant quality food from the Halfway House, DJ music, tuck shop, and a coffee dock all on offer to the large number of spectators expected to descend on the Lurgan Road venue. 

Play will begin on Saturday at 10.30am with the two ladies semi-finals and then followed by the two men’s semis at 3pm and 5pm.  The finals are then scheduled for the Sunday with the ladies playing at 1.30pm followed by the men at 4pm.  It is unclear at this stage what time and whom Bann will play on the Saturday but whatever the time and the opposition the locals will be looking for the support of the entire district as they bid to add to the All-Ireland crown their won in 2012. 

Spectators are asked to note that car parking will be limited in Havelock Park however an overflow car park is available in the grounds of Banbridge Academy. A drop off area is available at Havelock Park for those cars having to be redirected to the Academy.  The clubhouse will be open from 9am on the Saturday morning for those spectators looking to enjoy a cup of coffee before taking their seats for the day’s hockey action.  

Bann are indebted to the support they have received from Banbridge District Council and Banbridge Academy for without their assistance and expertise, the event would not be the success it hopefully will be.  The club are also indebted to the services of their large band of volunteers who will give up their time to ensure everyone visiting enjoys the Havelock experience.

To add to the event the locals are also planning to host a mini-hockey blitz for those competing clubs after the semis action on Saturday night.  This will be a chance for the stars of the future to enjoy the big stage and show what they can do.  Admission to this is free and all parents are welcome to come along and support the stars of tomorrow!

Further details on the match times, admission prices, and spectator facilities on offer are all available in the IHL finals section of the Banbridge Hockey Club website  One thing is certain, Havelock Park will be no place for the faint hearted as Bann seek to triumph on their own hallowed patch in front of their own support – be a part of it!