HOCKEY: Make it a five star season boys!

Banbridge Hockey Club are aiming to complete the clean sweep as they take on Pembroke Wanderers in the semi-final on Saturday and could face either Monkstown or Three Rock in Sunday's final. Pic: PressEye.
Banbridge Hockey Club are aiming to complete the clean sweep as they take on Pembroke Wanderers in the semi-final on Saturday and could face either Monkstown or Three Rock in Sunday's final. Pic: PressEye.

Just two matches now stand between Banbridge and the clean sweep.

The Anderson Cup, Kirk Cup, Irish Senior Cup and Ulster Premier League trophies are now all locked up at Havelock and this weekend, they can add the Irish Hockey League.

If they can manage it, Bann would become the first team to win all five since the IHL was introduced and would also become the first team to go unbeaten throughout an entire season in all competitions in living memory. They’re currently 39 not out and would reach 41 without defeat with a win at Three Rock Rovers this weekend.

As if all that wasn’t enough, victory would also bring a chance of qualification for the European Hockey League.

And with all that to play for, it’s a big weekend ahead.

“A win would be massive,” says Head Coach Mark Tumilty. “We focussed on the Irish Cup but to win the IHL this weekend would be an unbelievable achievement for the club and for the players. At the same time, looking at it realistically, the group are good enough to do it so that’s the challenge.

“We’ve had a great season but knowing the group of players I have they’ll be disappointed if they don’t come away with the IHL. That’s the level we’ve reached this year. We have a lot of top players and when you have Eugene Magee in your squad it makes a big, big difference to the group of players.

“The EHL is a big incentive as well. That’s the reward for what you do in Ireland. I’d love to go and win the IHL now. I’d love the guys to produce what they’re capable of.

“We’re in Europe anyway but to get into the EHL is a big target now. Hopefully Three Rock Rovers do enough to guarantee us a place.”