Tumilty hails top class Bann squad after narrow final defeat

Mandatory Credit: ROWLAND WHITE / PRESSEYE'Men's Irish Hockey League Semi-Final'Teams: Banbridge (red) v Lisnagarvey (blue)'Venue: Banbridge'Date: 5th April 2014'Caption: Drew Carlisle, Banbridge and Daniel Buser, Lisnagarvey
Mandatory Credit: ROWLAND WHITE / PRESSEYE'Men's Irish Hockey League Semi-Final'Teams: Banbridge (red) v Lisnagarvey (blue)'Venue: Banbridge'Date: 5th April 2014'Caption: Drew Carlisle, Banbridge and Daniel Buser, Lisnagarvey

It was a top class performance by everyone connected with Banbridge Hockey Club this weekend and Head Coach Mark Tumilty has hailed his players after their narrow final defeat.

“It would have been great to win it but I couldn’t have asked any more of the players,” he said.

“Eugene Magee was top drawer. I thought he and Monkstown’s Kyle Goode were the stand-out players. Gareth Lennox was brilliant as well but I just thought that Eugene showed his class over the weekend.

“Johnny McKee was very good as well. To play like that in the IHL finals as a 17 year-old was fantastic. He has a lot of talent. Those are only a few. The whole group were very, very good.

“I thought we played well and we deserved more out of the final.

“Last year, the best team won on the day but it was closer this time. In the second half, we played inside their half. They just had that bit more experience and scored at important times during the game.

“They lost finals before they finally won the Cup. That’s now three finals in four years we’ve been to and we’ve won one of them. We have a young enough squad and hopefully we’ll add a few players to that. We’ll probably lose a few as well but a lot of teams seem to rotate like that.”

Hosting the men’s and ladies’ IHL finals, Bann put on a top class spectacle with supporters turning out in force, particularly for the Banbridge games and Tumilty has again heaped praise on the club’s dedicated and vociferous support.

“The club put on a fantastic show on and off the pitch,” he said.

“The club has set a standard off the pitch. I wouldn’t want to be the club hosting the finals next year after that. A lot of it was down to the people who came to watch. At other grounds, people wouldn’t come out like that. We have the best supporters in the country. They were second to none this weekend.”

Bann, of course, beat Ulster rivals Lisnagarvey in Saturday’s semi-final, much to their coach’s delight.

“We deserved to win on Saturday,” he said. “We created more chances and the best team went through. It was a big win for us.

“There had been a lot of talk about the 8-2 game before Christmas. It dented our confidence and it ruined my Christmas so it was great to put that to bed. We showed how much we wanted it on Saturday.

“Now we’ll take a bit of a break, get through Europe and then back in for next season.”