Bann boys help Ireland to beat the old enemy

Drew Carlisle, who is over the moon after beating England. Pic:  ROWLAND WHITE / PRESSEYE
Drew Carlisle, who is over the moon after beating England. Pic: ROWLAND WHITE / PRESSEYE

Banbridge lad Drew Carlisle says it was a “very proud moment” to be on the field as Ireland beat England for only the 13th time in 101 meetings.

He was joined by Bann team-mate Bruce McCandless but for Ireland’s most capped player, the wait goes on.

Eugene Magee played in the 3-2 defeat to England on Friday but missed out on the 2-1 win as he was rested following his recent injury.

“I was gutted,” he said.

“In 10 years of playing for Ireland, I have never beaten England and I’m still waiting.

“I played on Friday and then I was rested as I’m just coming back from injury. The problem was a tendon in my knee but it’s probably just old age!”

He has the chance to put that right this week as he was named as Bann’s only representative in the Ireland squad to take on England, South Africa and Scotland in the Investec London Cup at the Olympic Park.

The tournament begins on Wednesday as Ireland face South Africa. The big game for Magee is on Saturday at noon when Ireland again face England.

“England and South Africa will be the big tests for us,” he said. “It’s really just a building block for us. Although it’s an important tournament, we see it as a way to advance ourselves.”

For Drew Carlisle, the defeat of England is a game that will live long in the memory.

“It was a fantastic experience,” he said. “It’s the first time we’ve beaten them since 2002 and to do it on home soil was an extremely proud moment. It’s something I’ll enjoy telling the grandkids about.”

Carlisle’s Ireland team were certainly made to work for what was a historic victory:

“It was a hard battle. They went one up and it was tight but Mikey Watts did the business for us with the two goals. There was a lot of holding on after that but it was a great feeling shaking their hands after the game.

“It’s great to be pushing against those teams. We know we can do it.”

Carlisle and Bruce McCandless both look set to miss out on this week’s tournament, named as non-travelling reserves.

“The squad is a very talented one and you have to be on form to get a spot,” he said. “It will give me more impetus to keep pushing on next season.”