McKee on the mark but Caruth breaks Bann hearts

@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 6th April 2014''Mandatory Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye''Monkstown v Banbridge Men's Irish Hockey League Final 2014 ''Banbridge's Johnny McKee celebrates as he takes the scores level  ''Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland- 6th April 2014''Mandatory Credit - Kevin Scott / Presseye''Monkstown v Banbridge Men's Irish Hockey League Final 2014 ''Banbridge's Johnny McKee celebrates as he takes the scores level ''Picture by Kevin Scott / Presseye

It was a case of de ja vu for Banbridge at last weekend’s Irish Hockey League finals weekend.

Mark Tumilty’s men were again beaten at the final hurdle by Dublin side Monkstown, Ulsterman and Irish international Peter Caruth bagging both goals in his side’s 2-1 victory.

His was, for Banbridge, an untimely return as the classy player was taking to the field in only his sixth game of the season having struggled with a foot-injury after his return from playing semi-professionally on the continent.

It was he who opened the scoring just 24 seconds into the third quarter, set up by the out-standing Kyle Good. His pass found its way past two Bann players and Caruth ruthlessly converted past Gareth Lennox.

The hosts, however, came rushing back into the game as 17 year-old Banbridge Academy captain Johnny McKee levelled the scores toward the end of the third period. Magee started off a neat move which Matthew Bell carried forward and McKee slotted home the finish.

However, Bann didn’t see out the quarter on level terms as Monkstown raced back up the pitch and regained their slender advantage. Again it was that man Caruth who proved their undoing. He converted a short-corner and challenged Banbridge to up their game.

They fought to try and find a telling equaliser to send the match into extra-time in the final quarter. However, it just wasn’t to be, as much as they may try.

They were given one final chance to make it 2-2 with the last play of the game as they earned a short-corner. A packed Havelock Park fell silent but Steven Dowds shot was well closed down and so it was Monkstown who held onto the IHL crown, breaking Bann hearts at the end of a great weekend’s hockey.