Academy keeper to make full IHL debut at Lisnagarvey

Luke Roleston.
Luke Roleston.

Banbridge Academy goalkeeper Luke Roleston has a big week ahead.

Not only is he preparing to take on Wallace in the Burney Cup replay on Wednesday, he is also facing the prospect of making his full IHL debut this weekend.

And what better game to make your bow than against league leaders and Bann’s old rivals Lisnagarvey.

Banbridge travel to Comber Road to take on the pace-setters on Saturday (pass-back 3pm) without regular goalkeeper Gareth Lennox, who has undergone surgery on a shoulder problem and is now likely to be out for between six and eight weeks.

Add to that regular stand-in Peter Bingham’s trip to play indoor hockey for Queen’s and a debut for the 16 year-old Roleston beckons.

“It’s not ideal to be throwing somebody so young into such a big game but goalkeeper is one of those positions,” said Bann coach Mark Tumilty.

“It’s a nice opportunity for him and he will be playing under no pressure at all. He is capable and has a big future in the game so we’ll see what happens in relation to who plays the week after.”

Tumilty did say the door is open for his young keeper to hold his place in the team if he puts in an impressive display at Comber Road.

“Peter (Bingham) has been about the squad for longer but we will look at how Luke plays and how they train next week before making a decision on who will play against Monkstown,” said the coach.

Tumilty also said he hopes to have his regular stopper back in action for the end of season play-offs, should Bann make it.

He said: “Gareth got a cancellation for the surgery. We sat down and discussed it and decided he should go for it. It means, should we make it through, he will be back in for the play-offs.”

Those play-offs, the EY Irish Hockey Champions Trophy, will be played at Havelock on Saturday 30th April and Sunday 1st May.

The top three in the EY IHL will be joined by the Irish Senior Cup winner to battle for Ireland’s top representative spot in Europe next season.