Incredible Season for Men’s 1st XI

Banbridge Hockey Club Men’s 1st XI have finished runners up in the Irish Hockey League after narrowly losing to Monkstown 2-1 in the IHL final played on Sunday at a packed Three Rock Rovers ground in Dublin. This concluded a fantastic season for Banbridge which saw them lift four trophies; the GOC Estate Agents Kirk Cup, Anderson Cup, GOC Estate Agents Premier League Keightley Cup and the Irish Senior Cup after an incredible run which saw Bann remain unbeaten until their final game of the season.


Speaking after the game BHC President Sheree Totton said; “We are so very proud of what our Men’s 1st XI have achieved.  To win four trophies and to finish runners up in the IHL is really incredible and a massive credit to the coaching team and players.  The whole club is delighted with what they have delivered and , on behalf of all our members, supporters and friends I would like to wholeheartedly congratulate this team on an incredible season.  We now look forward to seeing this talented squad continue to grow and progress as they enter the new Irish Hockey League and play in Europe next season.”


Match report from the Irish Hockey Association Follows


Men’s Irish Hockey League final
Monkstown 2 (R Sykes 2) Banbridge 1 (E Magee)
Richard Sykes’ penalty corner double saw Monkstown win their third successive Irish Hockey League title, inflicting Banbridge’s first defeat in all competitions this season at Grange Road.
The south Dublin outfit were on the back foot for much of the tie, soaking up huge pressure from a Eugene Magee-inspired Bann, but their devastating set piece proved the difference.
Sykes struck four minutes in with a rocket to the roof of the net. His second effort ricocheted off the crossbar soon after as Town made a great start.
Bann, though, were forcing the issue for the most part with David Fitzgerald making a string of saves, primarily from Stephen Dowds. One was particularly impressive from point blank range while he also slid out to keep his Irish international colleague Dowds at bay to maintain a slender 1-0 lead into half-time.
The Co Down side, though, did get back on terms in the 42nd minute as the irrepressible Dowds tore down the right wing and fired across goal. The cross made it all the way to Jamie Wright at the back post who managed to scramble home at the second attempt despite Fitzgerald’s diving lunge.
And they looked the more likely to snatch a second but Matthew Bell miscued a drag-flick while Dane Ward deflected a Magee pass but Fitzgerald moved quickly to his right to tip away.
Monkstown rolled with the punches, however, and they won their first corner of the second half which Sykes planted into the unguarded bottom right hand corner.
It proved the crucial strike as Bann could not break through a teak-tough defence with Lee Cole and Fabian Wullschleger putting in big tackles. Magee once again produced some top skills for their last major chance. His shot at goal took a big deflection with Banbridge appealing vehemently for a penalty stroke, claiming it hit a defensive body en route to goal.
A consultation between the two umpires, though, only yielded a long corner. Jonny McKee won a last ditch corner for Bann but it also went awry and Monkstown had their three in-a-row.
Banbridge: G Lennox, K Marshall, J McKee, P Brown, M Bell, S Dowds, F Mills, R Beattie, D Carlisle, H McShane, E Magee
Subs: S Forbes, S Farson, N Gilmore, D Ward, O Magee, J Wright
Monkstown: D Fitzgerald, L Cole, N Dee, G Groves, A Ward, G Watkins, D Cole, P Caruth, S Cole, R Sykes, F Wullschleger
Subs: J Beirne, I Horsfield, D Carson, G Cole, E Delobelle, J Henry
Umpires: R Donaldson, M Coombes