Bann sizzle on their way to Kirk Cup glory

Mark Tumilty must have thought that the Kirk Cup was going to elude him for the fourth year in succession.

Trailing Cookstown 1-0 at half time, in yesterday’s sun-drenched final at Stormont. Strong words from the Banbridge coach during the interval, inspired his side to produce a magnificent second half performance, to lift the ‘Kirk’ for the 20th time in the club’s history.

“Harsh words had to be said at half-time,” explained Tumilty.

“I’m not going to deny it, they needed to be said – it is not a style that I use that often, but I just felt there had to be some straight talking done.

“They didn’t do what they were asked in the first half but we got it sorted at half time.

“Dane Ward made a big difference and to have him back from injury and score two excellent goals was just a top drawer performance.

“We were lucky to be in the game, as we could have easily been three or four down by half time.

“Ross McCandless gave us a dream start to the second half and we never looked back.

“I am just delighted for everyone at Banbridge and there will be a few beers taken later.”

After dominating the first half, Cookstown must have wondered how they were only 1-0 ahead going into the turn, thanks to a 25th minute goal from Mark Crooks.

The half time hooter was welcome respite for a Banbridge side who were on the ropes.

But 90 seconds into the second, Ross McCandless levelled the score and six mutes later Ward tucked home a superb run from Scott McCandless to make it 2-1.

Greg Allen responded with an unstoppable shot from the edge of the circle, to level it for Cookstown in the 55th minute.

But in a devastating 10 minute spell, Banbridge completely turned the game on its head, with a goal from Colin Dowds and when Ward turned the defender in the circle to crash home his second, the Kirk was on its way to Banbridge.

TEAM: G.Lennox, Sc.Forbes, R.McCandless, S.McCandless, Ph.Brown, B.McCandless, C.Dowds, D.Carlisle, H.McShane, D.Reay, J.Moffett