BANN WIN IRISH SENIOR CUP
Banbridge Hockey Club President Sheree Totton has congratulated the Men’s 1st XI on becoming Irish Senior Cup champions today. Banbridge overcame Cork C of I in extra time to win 2-1 and claim the Irish Cup, bringing it back to Bann for the first time in twenty nine years.
Congratulating the team Sheree said; “Congratulations to the Men’s 1st XI on this fantastic achievement. The club are absolutely delighted with this win today. It has been twenty nine years since the Irish Senior Cup was lifted by a Banbridge side and it is great to be bringing it home to Havelock Park again.”
“I would like to pay tribute to Head Coach Mark Tumilty, the coaching team and of course the boys for all their hard work this season. They have had a tremendous season to date having already lifted the Kirk and Anderson Cups and they still remain unbeaten in the league, but I know this is the trophy they have been longing for and it is great to see the long wait for it, is finally over.”
“Thanks also to our team sponsors Swallow Groupage and all our supporters. So many travelled to Dublin to watch this momentous occasion and we know many more were watching from near and far online. The whole Banbridge hockey family are celebrating tonight.”
Tonight is about marking this success but with further opportunities for Banbridge to add to the trophy cabinet this season the Men’s 1st XI will soon be refocusing on the finals weekend of the Irish Hockey League on 11/12 April and their upcoming Premier League fixtures.
Match report follows by Stephen Findlater
Men’s Irish Senior Cup final
Banbridge 2 (S Dowds, J Wright) Cork C of I 1 (S Sweetnam), after silver goal extra time
Jamie Wright struck two minutes into silver goal extra time to end Banbridge’s 29 year wait for the Irish Senior Cup title, thrashing home from mid-circle for a famous 2-1 win at Belfield.
For a long time, the winner looked like it would never come as Cork C of I goalkeeper Billy Lynch put in the performance of his life to save a wealth of penalty corners as well a string of big chances.
But Wright – in his first year with the club since moving from Portadown – nipped in at the death to win it, making Bann the seventh different winner of the title in seven years, denying C of I a fifth title.
Early on, Bann looked in good control and took the lead in the third minute as Stephen Dowds was felled down the right wing. He dusted himself off to score from the ensuing penalty corner for an early lead.
From there, though, the Co Down side came up against a brick wall as Lynch made save after save while Andy Gray, Richard Sweetnam and Philip Smith got through a wealth of work in defence.
Lynch denied Dowds a second on the 11 minute mark while Owen Magee was a constant presence in attack, creating numerous attacks with his pace and guile.
And C of I proved efficient when they got the chance to attack. They levelled despite being down to 10 players when Andrew Daunt won their second penalty corner as Stephen Sweetnam’s low push picked its way through the Bann defence.
The second half followed a similar pattern with Bann pushing the tempo but found C of I impregnable in a fast furious 35 minutes of hockey.
The Cork side did have a couple of chances to nick it, Simon Wolfe sent through one on one with Gareth Lennox from Stephen Sweetnam’s immaculate pass. He opted to cross instead of shoot and the chance was gone.
From there, Bann had a wealth of chances, especially from penalty corners but found Lynch equal to everything they threw at him.
When Eugene Magee looked to have him beaten, Daunt came up with a stunning tackle. Two last minute corners were also defended, sending the game into extra-time.
And that is where the game was won as Bann probed the circle and crashed one in down the middle. It popped into the path of Wright and he rounded on it perfectly to score the biggest goal of his career.
The win adds to Bann’s Anderson and Kirk Cup successes and they could yet add the Ulster Premier League and Irish Hockey League crowns in the near future as part of an amazing season.
Banbridge: G Lennox, D Carlisle, H McShane, P Brown, S Dowds, M Bell, E Magee, B McCandless, F Mills, K Marshall, O Magee
Subs: D Ward, J Wright, J McKee, R Beattie, S Forbes, S Farson, A Reid
Cork C of I: B Lynch, R Lynch, A Gray, P Smith, S Sweetnam, S Parker, J Jermyn, A Moffett, D Hobbs, R Sweetnam, A Daunt
Subs: D Hales, S Wolfe, P Sweetnam, A Burns, P Brownlow
Umpires: A Groves, C Hutchinson