Bann looking out for number one ahead of league run-in

Eugene Magee set up Ireland's second goal against South Africa on Saturday. Next up for his side is a double-header against Holland on Wednesday and Thursday before they take on Belgium on Saturday and Sunday. Pic: Rowland White / Presseye.
Eugene Magee set up Ireland's second goal against South Africa on Saturday. Next up for his side is a double-header against Holland on Wednesday and Thursday before they take on Belgium on Saturday and Sunday. Pic: Rowland White / Presseye.

Banbridge will be seeing out the season looking out for number one.

That’s according to Head Coach Mark Tumilty after last week’s fixture confusion caused a social media row.

Now that the dust has settled, Bann will get back to Ulster Premier league action on Saturday as they host Mossley (pass-back 2.30pm).

And as the side return to action, Tumilty is more determined than ever to see his team lift the league title.

“We’ve come to a mindset as a group that we’ll just focus on ourselves,” he said. “We want to have our internationals available for as many games as possible between now and the end of the season but if we don’t, we’ll just have to get on with it.”

As regards Saturday’s game, Bann are heavy favourites against a Mossley team coached by ex-Banbridge Academy VP Fergie Cosgrove and propping up the league table with just one point from their eight games.

However, Tumilty is taking nothing for granted.

“Mossley will be difficult to beat,” he said. “They were only beaten 4-1 by Instonians on Saturday and it will be a tough one for us. It’s a game that we just have to make sure we get the points from. It would be another step closer.”

With weather warnings issued for the latter end of the week, there could yet be another call-off, something Tumilty is keen to avoid with a key IHL game at Railway Union coming up on 7 February.

Weather permitting, Bann will play the game without their four internationals, whose Ireland side began their South African tour with a 2-2 draw with the hosts at the weekend. Bann skipper Eugene Magee set up the second goal with a greay reverse.

“In an ideal world, I’d prefer we weren’t playing without them,” reiterated Tumilty.

“As I said before, I don’t see why we should play without internationals.

“Other people have their own opinions on that but I don’t understand why we should put a league title at risk. It should be aboutt he best team winning.

“We developed those players and they’ve worked hard aas a good and made sacrifices to get into the shape they’re in.

“We still have Matthew Bell, Kyle Marshall and Phil Brown to flick the corners. We have enough options there and we have two two Portadown guys and other who can add goals. It’s an opporunity for those guys to step up and make sure we get the win.”

Returning to the squad will be Scott Forbes, Ross Beattie and Dane Ward.

Meanwhile, there could be further fixture confusion on the way as Bann are currently scheduled to play Lisnagarvey in a key Premier League match on 14th February, when the sides could well be without international players with the World League 2 in San Diego fast approaching.”