we want a cup for Christmas

Get your hands on this week's LEADER for all of our Kirk Cup final build-up. INBL1445-276PB
Get your hands on this week's LEADER for all of our Kirk Cup final build-up. INBL1445-276PB

Banbridge Hockey Club are hoping they can make it a very merry festive fortnight by bringing home the Kirk Cup on Boxing Day.

Mark Tumilty’s team take on Cookstown at Lisnagarvey’s Comber Road (pass-back 3.15pm) bidding to win the trophy for the 21st time, but on only the third occasion since 1987.

Tumilty has already guided Bann to Kirk Cup victory and in perhaps a positive omen, it was Cookstown they then beat in the decider.

Trailing 1-0 at the break, it was Tumilty’s harsh words that ensured Banbridge overcame the deficit thanks to goals from Scott McCandless, Ross McCandless and a brace from Dane Ward.

This year, Bann have cruised to the final with ease, netting 30 goals in their five matches so far and conceding just two along the way.

One of those was a 3-1 victory over their final opponents Cookstown during the group stages as Scott Forbes, Fraser Mills and Neil Gilmore struck to earn victory.

This time out, Forbes is sidelined with injury but Bann Head Coach Mark Tumilty is determined that the rest of the squad will make no mistakes come the big match.

“If we perform to the top of our capabilities, we should have enough,” he said. “We would be disappointed to lose it and if we did, as in any cup final, it certainly wouldn’t be very pleasant.

“I would really like to get the Kirk Cup now and then look to the Ulster Premier League and the two other All Ireland competitions.

“As a club, we have only won two Kirk Cups in almost three decades and we certainly want to win it this time.

“It’s an excellent trophy to win and we’ll have to be at our best to do it against a real Cup team.”