Senior Irish Internationals
An International roll of Banbridge players reveals Club representatives gaining coveted Irish caps since the first year of the last century when Edgar McCall became the first of thirty-nine Banbridge players to wear the green shirt in an international played against England in Belfast which Ireland lost 2-1. His feat was all the more remarkable if one bears in mind that his cap was awarded only three years after the inception of the club in 1897. How different must the game have been in those distant days when “For the first twenty minutes of the game the Irish forwards played the ball in the air, volleying from man to man in the most surprising manner.”
Others were to succeed McCall up until 1914 when the Great War claimed the lives of eight Banbridge players, four of whom were Irish Internationals. One of the fallen was J G Anderson who held the distinction of having also represented Scotland whilst studying at Edinburgh University. The Anderson Cup was later presented to the Ulster Branch by his family and is still played for today.
Throughout the decades, some familial links emerge; the Coburn brothers who played in the twenties being direct forebears of the Madeley brothers of the nineties era, one of whom Robin gained 42 caps. The legendary Aubrey Allister gained 24 caps during a ten year Irish career, whilst his son Colin followed him as an incisive right winner representing Ireland 59 times. The renowned George McElroy played at International level for eleven years winning 39 Irish caps, and also a place on the Great Britain team for the 1956 Olympics. During their era only three Internationals were played each year, making their achievements all the more distinguished.
We have also been enthralled over the years by the performances of the likes of Mark Sinnamon, Norman “Frankie” McGladdery, Lee Tumilty and of course the inimitable ”Macko”, David McAnulty, who made an impressive 91 Irish appearancestowards the end of the last century.
The modern era of increased levels of international hockey has seen the number of Banbridge players to represent Ireland increase rapidly. Currently the Club provides a large proportion of the Irish Senior Mens’ squad with nine members of the club’s current mens’ first team having gained International caps to date, namely Matthew Bell, Peter Brown, Phillip Brown, Drew Carlisle, Stephen Dowds, Gareth Lennox, Eugene Magee, Owen Magee and Bruce McCandless; and given the abilities of many of our emerging young players, the long succession of Club International representation appears to be secure.
Of course the inevitable comparisons arise in the course of conversation with some of the Club stalwarts. How good were all those mythical figures from the past, and how would they fare in the modern era of artificial pitches and drag flickers? Old photographs reveal battles fought on muddy pitches by players in knee length shorts wielding huge hooked sticks, attacking goals defended by ’keepers dressed only in jumpers, leather gloves and cane pads. An entirely different range of skills has now evolved as the game has progressed into an era of modern pitch technology and intensive coaching regimes.
Some qualities however remain as constants – skill, athleticism, dedication, will to win and pride in one’s shirt are still the common essentials linking all those who had, and do have the honour of representing Club and Country at the highest level. Without these, victory and success at either International or Club level become unattainable.
A full list of the Club’s international representatives is as follows:
|1900||45||E. McCall||10/03/00 v England (Belfast) – lost 1-2||1|
|2005-07||459||G.H.J. Lennox||25/05/05 v Italy (Dublin) – drew 3-3||13||0|
|2005-||460||E. Magee||09/03/05 v Belgium (Dublin) – lost 2-4||190*^||43^|
|2006-||471||W.G. McCabe||28/07/06 v Poland (Gniezno) – lost 4-2||119*^||9^|
|2009-||487||B.R. McCandless||26/06/09 v France (Edinburgh) – won 1-3||71^||3^|
|2011-||503||S. Dowds||30/06/11 v Egypt (Dublin) – lost 2-3||23^||5^|
|2011-||P.A. Brown||30/06/11 v Egypt (Dublin) – lost 2-3||14^||0^|
|2012-||509||D.R. Carlisle||12/06/12 v Spain (Santander) – lost 1-2||25^||1^|
|2013-||513||P.F. Brown||10/02/13 v Malaysia (Kuala Lumpar) – lost 2-4||29*^||3^|
|2013-||516||M.J. Bell||25/07/13 v Germany (Hamburg) – lost 0-6||13^||0^|
|2015-||O. Magee||10/02/15 v France (Dublin) – drew 1-1||1^||0^|
*Indicates that a number of caps were gained whilst the player was playing for other clubs.
^Details correct as at 28 February 2015.