BANBRIDGE Men’s firsts traveled down to Cork in the Irish Senior Cup quarter-final in a repeat of the game last year that saw Cork Harlequins beat the Bann men and go on to lift the trophy.
Banbridge were only missing Ross Beattie to work commitments but Owen Magee returned for his first outing in seven weeks.
Drew Carlisle and Bruce McCandless joined up with the team after being away with the Irish men’s squad in Holland during the week.
Banbridge started the game at a high pace, passing the ball with confidence around the back four and within minutes opened the scoring.
A slick passing move down the right saw Phillip Brown, Stephen Dowds and Josh Moffett all link up with Phillip Brown passing the ball into the circle where Simon Magowan was on hand to supply the finishing touch.
Banbridge continued to press and won a short corner that was well saved by the Cork keeper. Cork Harlequins began to get into the game more and more as the half progressed and were aided by a green card to a Banbridge player.
Their pressure resulted in short corners but these were easily dealt with by Banbridge keeper Gareth Lennox.
Banbridge continued to control possession but didn’t threaten the Cork goal and the half finished with Bann leading 1-0
The second half started with much the same pattern, Banbridge controlling the ball well between the back four and midfield.
Cork Harlequins continued to trouble Bann on the break but these were comfortably dealt with by the Banbridge defence.
The game started to open up as Cork chased their equaliser, allowing more space for Banbridge’s front three to operate.
After some good pressure, Banbridge were given a short corner, which Stephen Dowds converted high into the net, to extend Banbridge’s lead to 2-0.
Cork responded and began to push hard to get back into the game, a quick shot was saved well by Lennox as Cork continued to press. A string of short corners for Cork Harlequins were not converted, a mix of some brilliant saves from Lennox and poor conviction allowed Bann to keep their two goal lead.
A few crucial tackles from Drew and Colin Dowds took the pressure off Banbridge and allowed them to retain possession to take the ‘sting’ out of the Cork attack.
The game ended Banbridge 2 Cork Harlequins 0, Banbridge booking their place in the semi-final of the competition, to be played later next year.