Banbridge signalled their intent in this season’s IHL with an emphatic 7-2 victory over Cork Church of Ireland at Havelock Park on Saturday afternoon, much to their coach’s delight.
Mark Tumilty has made no secret that the Irish Hockey League is his priority this season and he was pleased to kick-off the campaign in such convincing manner.
“It’s a good start,” he said,
“We didn’t play as well as we can but when we scored seven goals and won the first game, I can’t complain too much,
“The first game’s always important. We started well and it was good to get players like Josh Moffett and Colly Dowds back in the squad and getting time on the pitch.”
Bann opened the scoring in only the second minute when Matthew Bell and Owen Magee combined for Magee to finish from close range.
After seven minutes, Bruce McCandless took advantage of slack marking in the Cork defence to score Bann’s second. On thirteen, Eugene Magee almost put the game beyond doubt when his reverse stick shot flashed past the upright.
Bann did extend their lead at the start of the second quarter when Eugene Magee finished expertly from a very tight angle. Cork opened their account and gave themselves very slim home of a comeback when a hard-hit free into the circle deflected into the net off Gareth Lennox’s pads. Lennox was called into action almost immediately when he made a superb stick save from a John Jermyn penalty corner.
Great work from Bruce McCandless resulted in a penalty stroke being awarded to the home side and top-scorer Stephen Dowds duly obliged, dispatching the shot.
Following a scoreless third quarter, Bann finally put the game beyond any doubt with a rapid three goal burst in only three minutes. The goals came in the 62nd, 63rd and 64th minutes through Owen Magee, a great deflected effort from Jonny McKee and a great team goal finished by Bruce McCandless. To their credit, Cork kept trying to attack and were rewarded when Simon Wolfe finished well from mid-circle but it was just a consolation as Bann begun the IHL in confident style.