Banbridge coach Mark Tumilty hailed his young guns, who came from a goal down to book their place in the Boxing Day Cup final with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Lisnagarvey on Sunday at Shaw’s Bridge.
However, the game was perhaps a little less close than the scoreline suggests as Tumilty’s team were in control for long periods after conceding early on and Garvey’s consolation came with a minute remaining. Having said that, if Garvey could have made better use of their three penalty corners, the result might have been different.
Bann will go on to meet either Cookstown or Annadale in the Boxing Day showpiece after Sunday’s scheduled second semi-final was postponed due to a bereavement. “I was pleased with the performance and we are looking forward to another Kirk Cup Final,” said Tumilty “Garvey started very well and scored an excellent goal. We did very well to regroup after that and I think we deserved our win in the end. “We created plenty of chances in the first half but lacked a ruthless streak in front of goal. “In the second half we continued to create the opportunities and this time, thankfully, we took a few of them. “It was great for young players Eddie Rowe and Mark Barlow to score and it makes it worthwhile bringing the younger players into the larger EYHL squad this year. “Having the Kirk cup final will give us a real focus in December and help with the development of the younger players. “Overall it was a good day for this group of players and we look forward to working with them going forward to fulfil their potential.”
Garvey went ahead in the seventh minute when Troy Chambers shot high into the net after a good passing move. Bann recovered after that poor start to force the pace and Barlow had a shot well saved by James Milliken and then had another effort cleared off the line by James Corry. In the 32nd minute, Milliken again came to the rescue when he stopped Alex Tinney from scoring the equaliser.
Garvey regrouped after the break and forced three corners but failed to get shots on target as Chambers and Timmy Cockram both sent efforts narrowly wide after the first was charged down.
Bann capitalised with 16 minutes left when Rowe showed how it should be done as he hammered in the equaliser from another set-piece. Two minutes later, Barlow made it 2-1 when he swept the ball home from the middle of the circle following a great run by Johnny McKee. Bann made it three goals in the space of just 12 minutes when Josh Moffett scored with a deft deflection from a left wing delivery to virtually kill the game off. But Garvey were in no mood to lie down and Cockram eventually got his reward when he tapped home from close range but it was too little, too late although they tried hard to force a penalty shootout in the last few seconds.
Meanwhile, Mossley and Instonians both won in the Ulster Premier League to kept the pressure on champions Kilkeel who weren’t in action. Simon Todd and Jordan Robinson each scored twice as Mossley won 5-1 away to Civil Service as they moved to the summit for the first time this season.
Inst inflicted a first defeat on Bangor, William Robinson, Gavin Leckey and Stephen ¬Kelso all scoring from penalty corners in the first-half at Shaw’s Bridge. North Down beat Belfast Harlequins 4-1, helped by a brace from Johnny Moore, South Antrim survived a second half comeback from Portadown to win 3-2 in Lisburn while Raphoe were 2-0 home winners over Queen’s.
On the women’s front Shirley McCay’s second-half goal sealed Pegasus a hard-fought 1-0 win over Old Alex and kept the Belfast side within goal difference of Loreto at the top of the EYHL table. The Ireland World Cup silver medallist was also a tower of strength in defence as her team coped well with the Dublin side when they threatened on the break. Pegasus have now lost just once in seven games – a record matched by leaders Loreto who were comfortable 5-1 winners over Belfast Harlequins.
In a hugely entertaining contest in the late slot at the Dub, Lucy McKee had the first chance on 15 minutes when her shot ended up in the side netting. Kate Gourley was next to threaten for the hosts but former Ireland goalkeeper Pamela Smithwick puled off a superb save from point-blank range. McCay cracked in a set-piece two minutes after the restart for what proved to be the winner, her low sweep shot finding the corner of the net. Smithwick kept her team in the game with another fabulous stop when she denied Michelle Harvey, who had looked certain to score from a couple of yards out in the 52nd minute.
Belfast Harlequins have slipped out of the play-off zone after a bright start against Loreto in Dublin. Lizzie Colvin levelled from a penalty corner after Sarah Clarke had put Loreto ahead early on as the teams went toe-to-toe early on. But the roof caved in as Irish international Sarah Torrans scored twice with Ali Meeke and Sarah Evans also on target for the Dubliners
Ards’ frustrating run continued when they went down 4-3 to Pembroke at Londonderry Park and they are now seven points from the safety-zone. Laura Noble scored twice to put the Leinster side in the driving seat early in the second half and Sinead Loughran made it 3-1 after Emily Matchett had pulled one back. Matchett added a second in the 49th minute but Katie-Jane Marshall restored the visitors’ two goal lead before Francesca Brown hit a late consolation.
Lurgan have moved to the top of the Ulster Premier League after Olivia Gibson netted in a 1-0 home win over Randalstown. Lisnagarvey lost 4-3 to Ballymoney after coming back from 3-0 to relinquish their position at the summit as Ireland captain Katie Mullan hit a late winner. Queen’s came from behind to beat Rainey 5-1 with two goals each from Jessica McMaster and Emily McStea and Ireland World Cup star Megan Frazer was among the scorers as Ulster Elks defeated Ballymena 4-0.
In Senior One there is a three-way tie at the top with nothing separating Club KV, Omagh and Raphoe while Coleraine, in their first season back in the second-tier, are going well in fourth place after a 2-2 draw with KV.
EY Irish Hockey League: Ards 3 (E Matchett 2, F Brown) Pembroke 4 (L Noble 2, S Loughran, KJ Marshall); Cork Harlequins 1 (C Perdue) Muckross 0; Loreto 5 (S Torrans 2, S Clarke, A Meeke, S Evans) Belfast Harlequins 1 (L Colvin); Pegasus 1 (S McCay) Old Alex 0; UCD 1 (M Carey) Railway Union 1 (H de Burgh Whyte).
Ulster Premier: Ballymena 0 Ulster Elks 4 (E Quinn, B Kretzmann, M Frazer, J Allen); Lisnagarvey 3 (C Gillard, J McQueen, R Houston) Ballymoney 4 (K MInihan, K Mullan 2, A Kearney); Lurgan 1 (O Gibson) Randalstown 0; Mossley 3 (A Jones 2, M Dougan) Dungannon 3 (L Cassells 3); Rainey 1 (C Beggs) Queen’s 5 (J McMaster 2, E McStea 2, E Getty);
Senior One: Armagh 0 Priorians 1 (J Kennedy); Coleraine 2 (K Caithness, Z Purdy) Club KV 2 (Z Lowry, J Orr); North Down 1 (Z Murphy) Castle 0; Omagh 3 (A McCollum, L McCollum 2) Portadown 0; Raphoe 2 (L Patterson 2) CI 1 (K Willis)
EY Irish Hockey League: Pembroke Wanderers 4 (K O’Hare 2, T Hill, P Shanahan, J Ryan) Dublin YMCA 3 (G Glutz 2, B Campbell)
Irish Senior Cup 3rd round: Monkstown 0 Glenanne 3 (S Boucher, S O’Connor, E O’Malley)
Kirk Cup semi-final: Banbridge 3 (E Rowe, M Barlow, J Moffatt) Lisnagarvey 2 (T Chambers, T Cockram)
Ulster Premier League: Instonians 3 (W Robinson, G Leckey, S Kelso) Bangor 0; Civil Service 1 Mossley 5 (S Todd 2, J Robinson 2, R Lyall); North Down 4 (J Moore 2, J Gilmore, G McKeown) Belfast Harlequins 1 (L McClelland); South Antrim 3 (P Maguire, C Henry, J Brown) Portadown 2 (S Johnston, M Winter); Raphoe 2 (J Watt, J Devenny)
Linden Cup: Antrim 5 Ballynahinch 1; Saintfield 1 PSNI 3; Armagh 1 Portrush 2; CI 4 Down 1