Five star Bann into Irish Cup last eight

Weston 0

Banbridge 5

THREE first half strikes from Dane Ward, Simon Magowan and Ross McCandless were enough for Bann to comfortably take their place in this season Irish Cup Quarter Final.

Bann entered the game as heavy favourites as the Lucan side Weston languished at the bottom of Leinsters Premier League. 

Bann welcomed back Bruce McCandless from international duty while Simon Magowan made his first appearance in over a year with Josh Moffet dropping out.

The game started with Weston employing a high press, somewhat taking Bann by surprise. This helped the home side settle first and Lennox had to be sharp to clear his lines on a couple of occasions in the first five minutes.

Bann slowly settled on a sticky pitch but were soon in their stride and a beautiful break from Stephen Dowds and reverse pass provided Dane Ward to deflect home the first goal after 15 minutes.

Bann quickly started to assert authority on possession with Stephen Dowds should have doubled the lead two minutes later, shooting wide from five yards.

The home side’s goalkeeper made a great save from a Ross McCandless drag flick but eventually the pressure told and a beautiful counter from Bruce McCandless and Stephen Dowds was finished clumsily at the back post by Simon Magowan.

Bann quickly killed the tie moments later when Ross McCandless drilled home number three as the Lucan sides legs started to tire after such an intense start.  Colin Dowds was then released by a delightful Dermy Reay deflection but the big combative midfielder reverse shot was miscued.

Coach Mark Tumilty withdrew the attacking threats of Bruce McCandless and Stephen Dowds at half time and this unsettled Bann’s attacking rhyme at the start of the second period.

However the Bann platform which operated so effectively before Christmas started to showed positive signs and controlled the possession for the majority of the second half with Gareth Lennox, Bann’s number one, being reduced to a spectator.

The locals operated with a more aggressive press in the second period which resulted in the ball being won in the Weston 25 but a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping kept the scoreline untroubled.

The pressure was constant and big defender Stephen Forbes had an effort cleared off the line before Scott McCandless shot from the edge of the circle just missed the target. The home goalkeeper made another excellent stick save to deny Ross McCandless from Bann’s sixth penalty corner.

A beautiful free flowing from Simon Magowan and Owen Magee put Colin Dowds through on goal, but Dermy Reay was unable to deflect home as Dowds unselfishly passed.

The games tempo slowed in the last 10 minutes as Bann controlled possession for long periods with Weston working hard to close the gaps and try to counter, however no notable chances were created and the game finished with Bann progressing to the quarter finals.

Team: Lennox,  Brown, S Forbes, R McCandless, Sc Forbes, B McCandless, C Dowds, S Dowds, Ward, Reay. Subs Magee, Magowan, McShane, S McCandless.

- BANN have been handed a quarter final tie with Civil Service in the Irish Cup following Saturday’s win. The other ties see either Cork C of I or Cookstown at home to Fingal, Annadale hosting Lisnagarvey and Instonians travelling to Monkstown.