Kyle Marshall is being tipped to be Banbridge’s newest hockey star.
The 15 year-old netted his first senior goal during the club’s Champions Challenge success in the Czech Republic last week and Bann Head Coach Mark Tumilty says the Markethill High School lad will play a regular role for the first team next season.
“Kyle was fantastic in Europe,” he said. “For a 15 year-old to play like he did was fantastic. His ability to find space and make the right decisions was way beyond his age. He’s probably as good as I’ve seen at that age when it comes to making decisions.
“Everybody was impressed with him. He was up there with being our player of the tournament, that’s how good he was.
“His dad was out there so he was pleased to see him scoring his first goal.
“He’s a talented individual. He’ll definitely play for the firsts on a regular basis next season, there’s no question about that.
“We have to give him a chance but manage him in the right way. Will he play every Saturday? No but he’ll play a lot of games. Will he play in some of the big games? Yes, he’s good enough to play in those, without a doubt.”
Banbridge had a 100% record at last weekend’s tournament, despite playing in the hottest temperatures the boss had ever experienced for a hockey match. Tumilty reckons it was a worthwhile trip as he targets more silverware next season:
“I think we got more out of the tournament than just winning it. We got a lot from it in relation to team-building and it’s great to get pitch time for some of the younger players.
“It’s good to play against different systems. The team we played against in the final game were very hard to face. They were totally unorthodox. They got the ball and hit it up the pitch as hard as they could and deflected it on a bit further.
“It’s good for younger players to play against that.
“The standard was better than I had expected. The Grammarians game showed that we hadn’t played together for six weeks but the Slavia Prague game was tough. They had a few Czech internationals and they drew 3-3 with Ireland in the last Europeans.
“We played well that day and had to work hard. It was at a standard close to home.
“Against Croatia, we played well but we struggled with the heat during the final game. Stevie scored a couple of corners to make it 4-2 though and it was plain-sailing after that.
“All in all, it was an excellent trip. The players were good, the fans were good and it was well-hosted.”