for bann

Owen Magee scoring for Banbridge in the Kirk Cup Semi-Final. Pic by Rowland White/Presseye
Owen Magee scoring for Banbridge in the Kirk Cup Semi-Final. Pic by Rowland White/Presseye

A penalty corner silver-goal booked Annadale a place in the Boxing Day Kirk Cup Final as they sent red hot favourites Banbridge crashing out of the cup after a 3-3 draw on Saturday.

Bann, who are unbeaten in the league, and look strong contenders to retain their title were odds on to reach the final, especially against a ‘Dale side who have not been firing on all cylinders this season.

But form goes out the window when it comes to cup matches and Annadale proved just that.

Yes Bann dominated the game for long spells but once again, failure to convert penalty corners proved their downfall, as they won 10 and scored once and at this level, that is not good enough.

Speaking after the game, a delighted Annadale coach Andy Smyth said: “We took our chances and converted them and they didn’t, it’s as simple as that.

“Bann are the best team in the league and there is no doubt about that. But just because you are the best doesn’t mean that you are going to win everything.”

John Edgar opened Annadale’s account in the 19th minute and two minutes from half time Matthew McCord doubled their lead tucking the ball in at the far post.

But two minutes after the restart Stephen Dowds reduced the deficit slotting home a penalty corner and in the 58th minute Owen Magee levelled the score.

Then with four minutes remaining, McCord edged ‘Dale back into the lead only to see it snuffed out one minute from time with an own goal.

So it was into extra time and with only two minutes played, Michael Robson tucked home Annadale’s first penalty corner of the game, to send ‘Dale’s young guns into the final.

As a mark of respect, in memory of Sam McCullough who passed away recently, a minute’s silence was held just before both semi-finals got underway. Sam has been associated with Ulster hockey for over 50 years.