Disappointing end to Bann’s Irish Cup and Anderson Cup campaigns

LAST weekend Bann made the long journey to Farmers Cross to play Cork Harlequins in the quarter final of this season’s Irish Senior Cup.

In an intriguing encounter of the Bann youth up against the experience of Harlequins it was the home side who prevailed by the odd goal in three.

Once again it was a game that Bann will feel they deserved to get something from as they dominated for long periods but failed to capitalise on five penalty corners.

Bann had been forced to travel without Josh Moffett due to a re-occurance of his hamstring injury and then Owen Magee was struck down by a virus the night before the game.

In the early exchanges it was Bann who looked the better side with the back four looking comfortable in possession and able to pick out the midfield with ease. However, as with the recent trend, Bann contrived to go a goal behind when following Harlequins first meaningful attack they took the lead when Lombard scored with a reverse stick shot from the penalty flick spot.

Undeterred Bann stuck to their passing game and following a flowing move Stevie Dowds won their first penalty corner from which the keeper made a good save low to his right and the chance was lost.

Almost immediately Bann had a chance to equalise when following a slick six pass move Dane Ward was just unable to get the finishing touch.

Two minutes later Bann were deservedly back on level terms, when following sublime stick skills by Scott Forbes on the left of the circle, his cross was deflected on by Bruce McCandless for Peter Brown to score at the back post. Bann continued to ask questions of the home defence for the remainder of the half but were unable to force a second goal.

Having ended the stronger team in the first half it was somewhat of a surprise that Harlequins almost took the lead in the first minute of the second half. Turnover ball in midfield lead to a slick attack which resulted in the a home forwards shot hitting Lennox’s right hand post.

Slowly Bann started to dominate possession and field position with Matthew Bell distributing well from the back and the forwards showing quality movement and skill to win a couple of corners.

From the second of these the ball struck a defenders foot in the circle and while Bann awaited the award of another corner the umpire waved play on. Harlequins transferred the ball quickly into the Bann circle to leave Lennox one on one with a Harlequins forward who managed to give his team an undeserved lead.

As the half progressed Harlequins defended deeper and deeper allowing Philip Brown in particular lots of room in which to attack, but no matter what Bann attempted they could not force a way past the home keeper who made several outstanding saves to maintain their slender advantage.

As the clock ran inexorably towards full time Harlequins rode their luck at times but managed to stop Bann creating the clear cut chance they needed to equalise.

Team: G. Lennox, M. Bell, St. Forbes, Sc. Forbes. D. Carlisle, R. Beattie, Ph. Brown, Pt. Brown, C. Dowds, D. Ward, B. McCandless, H. McShane, S. Caruth, S. Dowds, B. Cosgrove, O.Magee.

- A superb hat-trick from Irish international Peter Caruth ensured that Annadale Dragons are the McCausland, Rankin and Light Anderson Cup Super 9s champions, after they roasted Instonians Seahorses 5-1.

Needing a win in the final game of the night at Havelock Park, the Dragons went behind after William Robinson nipped into to give the Seahorses an early lead, but just before the interval Caruth had the game level, with a well executed penalty stroke.

But then in a devastating start to the second half, two goals in as many minutes from Caruth had the Dragons on fire, and when Richard Maybin and Fraser Mills also got on the score sheet, the Cup was going to the Dragons.

The Dragons also gave Banbridge Bears a roasting in the opening game when they won 6-2.

But the punishing pace of the first game saw the Dragons burnt out as they went down 3-0 to Cookstown in the next game.

With the Mavericks expected to follow up their opening win against the Seahorses, they both served up a very rare scoreless draw.

In the next games a solitary goal from Drew Carlisle saw the Bears defeat the Seahorses setting up a mouth-watering game against the Mavericks who needed a victory to take the trophy.

However, in a close battle it was a case of honours even as both sides were locked out 2-2.

So it was advantage Dragons, and needing a win to secure the cup, the young Annadale side were superb as they notched up their 11th goal of the night to win the trophy.

How it finished: 1st Dragons; 2nd Mavericks; 3rd Bears; 4th Seahorses.