The highlight of Banbridge hockey club’s 2013 was getting their hands back on the Ulster Premier League trophy.
There was no better place to do it than in their greatest rivals’ back yard.
They secured the point they needed to see them over the finish line in Lisnagarvey back in March thanks to a second-half equaliser from ace goal-scorer Steven Dowds, who slammed home a trademark drag-flick.
After thefinal-whistle, Head Coach Mark Tumilty told the Leader:
“I’m absolutely delighted to have won the title. At the end of every season people always say that the best team wins the league, and I believe that we were the best team in Ulster this year.
“Over the years we hadn’t been as consistent as we would have liked. This year we were and we’ve reaped the benefits. There’s a lot of work goes into the league in terms of match preparation and for that a lot of credit has to go to the coaching staff.
“I am absolutely delighted with the result, but we didn’t play at all in the first half. Thankfully we put that right in the second half. Fair play to Garvey they came at us but we deserved the point. It is a huge achievement by everyone and we will enjoy tonight and I will enjoy it as much as everyone else. To go 17 games unbeaten is no mean feat.”
Tumilty’s squad made it 18 as they also won their final league match of the season, much to their boss’s delighted
“This should only be the start of something amazing at Banbridge,” he had said.
“I think the key to our success this season has been that we identified very early on how we wanted to play and, thankfully, it all came together for us. “We’ve not had as many schoolboys who were involved in games on a Saturday morning, plus we haven’t struggled as badly this season with injuries. In fact everything just seemed to go right for us whether it was on or off the pitch. It’s been a fantastic season for us.”
Speaking after that game, Steven Dowds, who had scored the all important second-half goal for Bann said: “It wasn’t one of our prettiest performances of the season but I am just delighted that we have done it. It was good to get the goal. It was a nice way to win it and a nice place to win to. We got there and that’s what’s most important.”