Men’s EY Champions Trophy semi-final

Monkstown 3 (D Carson 2, L Cole) Banbridge 3 (O Magee 2, E Magee),

Last Saturday saw Banbridge Mens 1sts, sponsored by Swallow Groupage, play Dublin side Monkstown in the EY Champions Trophy semi final at Grange Road Dublin.

Missing for Bann were Jamie Wright and Gareth Lennox.

The Dubliners were the better side in the first half and took a 1-0 lead going into the break thanks to a Lee Cole Penalty stroke, awarded after a drag-flick hit Owen Magee’s body on the line.

Bann did have major chances, though, with Eugene Magee hooking a close range flick wide while a flurry of shots in succession were also scrambled away in the last minute.

The second half was very different with Bann penning Monkstown in their own 23 metre area for long periods and winning corner after corner. From one, Eugene Magee fired home a brute of a shot for 1-1 and Bann looked set to pile on the pressure.

But within three minutes Bann were playing catch-up once again as Carson got set free one-on-one and scored on his reverse.

With 12 minutes to go, Carson made it 3-1 from another break-out against the run of play. The game looked to be over but this young Bann side don’t ever give up.

Bann kept on pushing, and got one back when Fraser Mills’ cross found Owen Magee at the near post to finish. Owen Magee was then set free on the right in the last minute and swept a rocket into the top left corner for what could become a famous comeback.

With normal time over the match went to penalty shuttles, Monkstown took the early initiative with  a 3-1 lead but Bann hung in there with two brilliant Luke Roleston saves.

Jonny McKee rescued a sudden death chance when his effort was adjudged to have cleared the line before the eight-second whistle.

It meant three rounds of sudden death before McKee was beaten by the whistle on his second attempt. Monkstown won 6-5 on penalties.

Commenting after yesterday’s game Club President Roger Martin said; “Bann finished the season having given their all. The club and supporters are so proud of Head Coach Mark Tumilty, his management and coaching team and all the players who have provided one of the best seasons in the clubs history, winning the Irish Senior Cup, the EY Hockey League and competing at the highest level of club hockey – the EHL. To end the season as Double Irish Champions is fantastic and qualifies them for the EHL next year again. After a hectic few weeks of hockey, we hope the squad takes a well deserved rest and look back with pride on a brilliant season.”