‘Nice to get off to a win’ says Tumilty

Banbridge Hockey Club Head Coach Mark Tumilty said it was nice to put last season ‘to bed’ as Banbridge gained some revenge on Lisnagarvey when they edged a seven goal thriller at Comber Road last Saturday.

Last season the title was contested between the two clubs with Banbridge winning the first match at Havelock Park but in April, Garvey inflicted a massive 8-2 victory at Comber Road and that result clinched the Keightly Cup on goal difference.

Banbridge open the scoring during Saturday's season opener against Lisnagarvey at Comber Road. Pic by Rowland White / PessEye

Banbridge open the scoring during Saturday's season opener against Lisnagarvey at Comber Road. Pic by Rowland White / PessEye

For Banbridge, Saturday’s win went some way to easing the pain of defeat last season.

Tumilty commented: “It’s always nice to get off to a win. Comber Road is always a difficult place to go and it was nice to put last year to bed.

“It’s a big start and the whole team put in a big performance,” he said.

“I was pleased with the performance. We started well and then they came back into it, but we won it at the end.”

A Steven Dowds hat-trick and a goal from new signing Neil Gilmore secured the three points for Banbridge in the tightly fought contest which gave Bann the perfect start to the Premier League.

Speaking about his players, Tumilty added: “I was very pleased with everyone. Steven’s performance was excellent on Saturday. He scored three goals, none from corners. Neil Gilmore was excellent all day and he got his goal, but we also had Jamie Wright coming in who performed well, as well as Gareth in goal.”

Whilst Banbridge have their eyes set on gaining silverware this year, and especially looking to perform well in the All Ireland competitions, Tumility says it is still important to perform in the league, which is won over a season.

“It’s nice to get silverware,” he said. “We have the two All Ireland’s, but in the league we lost last year on goal difference, that’s something we want to rectify.

“There is a lot of work to be done and there is room for improvement, but this was another big step in development for us. To go to Garvey and win is something special.”

Bann now face Cookstown at Havelock Park in the Kirk Cup tonight (Tuesday), whilst there is another home fixture against Harlequins on Saturday.

“Cookstown are always difficult to play against,” Tumilty said. “They beat us last year in the Kirk Cup group stage, but this time we’re at home. It’s another game to get up to the level we want to be at. The Kirk Cup is something I want to win this year. A Boxing Day final is always a good final to get to. We have a good chance, especially to get to the semi final.

“Harlequins have developed a lot to become a competitive side. We have a lot of work to do to produce our best hockey but I’d like to think we’d win.”