The Irish Senior Cup is finally back in Banbridge

Eugene Magee finally got his hands on the Irish Senior Cup on Sunday afternoon.
Eugene Magee finally got his hands on the Irish Senior Cup on Sunday afternoon.

The Irish Senior Cup is back in Banbridge.

Those words have been 29 years in waiting but, thanks to Jamie Wright’s extra-time clincher, the trophy has finally returned.

It marks one of the biggest achievements in the club’s history and keeps the door open on a possible clean sweep.

“I’m very proud of that achievement,” said club Head Coach Mark Tumilty. “We’ve worked hard with the group. It’s all about the hard work the coaches have put in. John, Simon and Paddy and the work Scott McCadnelss has done in the past. Neil Madeley was involved with the group.

“The players deserve the majority of the credit though. They’ve bought into what we’re trying to do and they’ve delivered on it.

“There’s other people as well. The support we get from the club, from parents, wives and girlfriends is huge. It’s a team effort. It’s more than just the 16 guys on the pitch.”

The Cup was the trophy Bann wanted more than any other this season. When they crushed Pembroke 4-0 in the semi-final, some would have said Banbridge were Cup champions elect.

Cork Church of Ireland certainly made things difficult and could even have snatched the win late in normal time but Bann edged a tense game much to their travelling support’s delight.

“It was a nervy day and there was always that fear that they would break away and score,” said Tumilty.

“Credit to our boys, they kept playing and kept their discipline, which was important. They went down to nine men at one stage and, although we didn’t score, we kept our discipline, which was important.

“Eventually Jamie pulled out a great finish for us and we’re all absolutely delighted.”

It’s the first time since 1986 that the trophy has made its way back to the town. Surely this success underlines this side’s place alongside the great team of the 80s.

“There’s a bit of relief there,” said Tumilty. “It’s another monkey off our backs. We got the league off our back two years ago and now this. We can’t talk about 20 years since we’ve won something anymore. That’s the league, the IHL and the Irish Cup sorted out in the last three years so I’m delighted. It’s a very, very proud moment.”

SEE THIS WEEK’S LEADER FOR ALL THE REACTION.