We were at Havelock Park on Saturday to chat to some of Banbridge Ladies’ stars after they collected the Senior Cup trophy.
They cruised past Ballymena 3-0 a before picking up the prize to celebrate their promotion.
Two goals from top scorer Rachel Kerr and another from Elayne Brown kept up Bann’s chances of finishing the league season unbeaten.
Not only that, but it underlined the squad’s potential as the overcame the Senior Cup champions in such convincing fashion.
Captain McConnell thinks their first ever season in the Premier League is the start of something - but most of all she’s just happy they can wrestle the spotlight off the men!
“It feels like now at the dinner-dances and the awards nights it won’t be all about the men,” she laughed. “Now we’ll have the attention as well. That feels pretty good.”
McConnell is sure that the team’s move up to the top level of Ulster Hockey will usher is a new era for the ladies’ section of the club.
“It’s a big thing for us,” she said. “We have young players coming through and a lot of the time they would filter to different clubs around us like Lurgan or Armagh because they are all Premier League or IHL teams.
“This means that they will maybe now stay at Banbridge and make the club as a whole stronger.
“We already have one player playing for Ulster and another few playing Under 15 hockey for Ulster. Over the next couple of years, I think the standard here is going to get to a very high level and everybody is going to have to fight for their place on the team.”
And she’s confident that she and her team-mates have what it takes to make the grade.
She said: “We played a couple of friendlies and matched Premier League teams. If we train well and play to our potential, there’s no reason why we couldn’t be up with the top teams, especially with a few additions and keeping our current squad fit.
“We’re all looking to train hard to prepare for next season. Robin (Madeley - coach) always says you play as you train. So we know if we train hard, we will play hard and we will win. Hopefully we can build on this promotion.
“It was just nice to get a win on Saturday when we were getting our cup as well.”
Bann now have two away games to finish the season - in Ballymena on Wednesday 16th March and at Rainey the following Saturday.