BANN relinquished their grip on the Irish Hockey League title last Saturday when they lost out to Glenanne in Dublin in a bizarre encounter.
In contrast to the previous weeks excitement at Havelock this game was played at a ground totally bereft of atmosphere which appeared to suit the home side who seemed content to slow the game down to try to annul Bann’s attacking threat.
It was Bann who opened the game the stronger and looked particularly dangerous on the right hand flank with Stephen Dowds and Bruce McCandless looking threatening. Therefore it came as a complete surprise when the home team took the lead when a hard hit cross from the right was deflected home past the unsighted Gareth Lennox.
Despite this reverse Bann continued to press, knowing that they needed to match or better Monkstown score to progress to the semifinals.
Two minutes from the end of the first quarter this task was effectively taken out of their reach when a long pass into the circle took a cruel deflection off a defenders stick to wrong foot Lennox for a fortuitous own goal.
To their credit the Bann players applied themselves to trying to get back into the game and forced several penalty corners, however, the dryness of the pitch made flicking these a complete lottery and it was not possible to work the home keeper.
The second half took on a similiar pattern to the first with Bann doing most of the attacking and Glenanne defending in depth and relying on the quick break to create any chances.
Bann’s hopes died when after a free on the left of the circle, which did not appear to travel the required five metres before entering the circle, the Glenanne centre forward forced the bouncing ball past Lennox.
Bann reshuffled the team and went to three in defence in search of an improbable recovery but were caught out when the home centre forward again found space to easily score his third and the home teams fourth.
Bann, by now totally shellshocked, continued to look for a consolation but again were unable to convert any of their eight penalty corners or open play chances.
On another day the outcome of this game could have been very different as Bann won 8 penalty corners to none from the home side and also created most of the open play chances.
Team: G. Lennox, Philip Brown, M. Bell, Stephen Forbes, D. Carlisle, B.McCandless, Peter Brown, O. Magee, S. Dowds, C. Dowds, D. Ward, S. Caruth, Scott Forbes, B. Cosgrove, R. Beattie, J. Moffett.
This weekend Bann are on the road again when they travel to Cork Harlequins in the quater final of the Irish Senior Cup. Match starts at 2pm.