Dowds targets an end to almost 30 years of Irish Senior Cup hurt for Bann

Stevie Dowds is hoping he can help usher the Irish Senior Cup back to Havelock this season.
Stevie Dowds is hoping he can help usher the Irish Senior Cup back to Havelock this season.

Banbridge’s top scorer and stand-in captain Steven Dowds is hoping he can help bring the Irish Senior Cup to Havelock for the first time in his lifetime.

Bann last won the trophy way back in 1986, but, having dispatched Kilkeel 12-3 in the opening round, they can take another step towards ending that wait this weekend when they host Cookstown at Havelock (pass-back 2.45pm).

Mark Tumilty’s side have already beaten their opponents this season, 3-1 in the Kirk Cup last month. However, Dowds isn’t taking anything for granted this time around.

“It’s going to be a tough game for us, as it was the last time we played them,” he said.

“That was a hard win and they’ve also drawn with Garvey this year so we know it won’t be easy. They’ll be going all out to cause an upset. It’s the best tie of the round.

“The advantage of it is getting another home draw. It’s a whole lot nicer than having to go down to Cork at this stage of the competition, as we have had to do in the last couple of seasons.”

Bann have made a 100% start to the full season and Dowds knows, with the squad they have, they must target more silverware to add to the Anderson Cup.

“We couldn’t really have asked for a much better start to the season than the one we have had,” he said.

“We haven’t even been in the Irish Senior Cup final for 20 years so that’s definitely the priority for us this season.

“We have to look at it with the view that we have a good chance. It’s so far so good at the minute but the game on Saturday will be tough.

“I think we definitely need to be aiming high for this season given the squad that we have and also the way that we have started off. To still be in all five competition at this stage is a huge plus for us.”

Things have started just as well for Dowds on a personal level. He’s already hit 30 goals this season.

“I’m really pleased with the way things are going so far,” he said. “The goals are going in and I’m injury-free so long may that continue.

“It’s been a huge honour to captain Banbridge, especially with the squad that we have this year.”