The Banbridge Academy First XI Girls’ hockey squad has been crowned the National Tournament Trophy winners for the second consecutive year.
A Lauren McGaw double sealed a 2-0 success over Strathearn Grammar in a tough final after the girls had begun the campaign at the regional tournament held at Edenvilla, Portadown.
It was a great start for Banbridge as they kicked off the tournament with a 1-0 win over hosts Portadown, Charley Brush and her well marshalled defence ensuring a clean sheet.
Next was an extremely challenging match, resulting in a 1-1 draw with Armagh Royal School, Emma Gregson shining in midfield.
Another win followed for Banbridge, with a 2-0 score against Dungannon Royal before Bann secured a 0-0 draw against Lurgan College.
That ensured Banbridge went through to the semi-final, which they won at a canter, 3-0 over Regent House, all three goals coming in the first half.
Nadia Benallal got the first with a crisp reverse shot. Lauren McGaw slotted in a second with a slick deflection on the right post and Sarah Russell picked up on an attempted clearing of the ball by Regent, to hit into the corner for the third.
In the second half, Banbridge kept composure and defended Regents’ bursts of attack, with defender Alex Taylor letting nothing in down the right hand side. The full time whistle blew and Banbridge Academy was once again through to the final.
Bann faced extremely tough opposition in the final, as they battled for the Trophy with Strathearn Grammar.
Both teams showed determination to win with an intense 0-0 score in the first half, centre back Gina Woods having to mark tightly and cut out attacking play from Strathearn’s skilled forwards.
Banbridge had centre pass to begin the second half, where Katie McKee showed skills that Strathearn couldn’t defend against, running the ball up the pitch to make a lovely reverse pass in the circle finding Lauren McGaw to score the first goal.
Minutes later, Banbridge scored a second, with fantastic passing between the midfield of Orla Thompson, Emma Gregson and Katie McKee progressing up the pitch to once again find McGaw at the right post to put the ball in the net and ensure a second successive Trophy win for the Academy.