Banbridge’s chances of winning the Senior Cowdy Cup for three years in a row are all over after an agonisingly close defeat.
They have a large number of very capable category one players who looked all set to win itagain but they were overcome by Mannan Castle in the quarter-finals.
For the first leg, a lot of the key players were not available. Team captain, Jonathan Shannon, was forced to call in a number of young inexperienced players.
The first leg was away at the beautiful Mannan Castle course that is also very tight, particularly off the tee.
Young Jonathan Brush was the star man. He got the maximum four points, the only player on the team to do so.
Mark McCoy got a creditable half match and two points.
William Malcolmson, Richard Lytle and Matthew Mallon got half a point each.
Josh Lockhart, Conor Mulholland and Paul McAleavey got zero points.
The score, after the first leg, was Mannan Castle 24.5, Banbridge 7.5.
It was a precarious situation from the Banbridge viewpoint.
The second leg was played at Banbridge last Sunday and Jonathan Shannon made five changes to his team. The experienced men were called up to rescue the situation and they came within a whisker of pulling it off.
Rory Madeley won three and one and got three points while Luke Woods won four and two and got all four.
Jonathan Brush won seven and six and, once again, got all four points. What a debut it was for Jonathan in the Senior Cowdy.
Jonathan Burns also won seven and six and he too got the maximum 4 points.
Josh Lockhart was one up playing the 18th and looked a certainty to get the win but he slipped up and Mannan Castle got a half.
At this stage, Mannan Castle had two and a half points. They needed another 5.5 points to win.
They were not going to get any from Paul Magennis. He was playing brilliantly and coasted to another four points.
Mannan Castle were struggling, big time, but they still had two players out on the course and both were playing well.
The first one beat Mark McCoy three and one and he got three points and the second beat Jonathan Ward four and three to bag all four points.
The sting was in the tail, that’s for sure. Mannan Castle got 9.5 points and that was god enough to see them through.
It was a sad day once again for Banbridge and you had to feel sorry for them. We hope Mannan Castle now go on to win the cup. Banbridge will be back to regain their trophy next season.