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Bann one win away from league and cup double

 

By Graham Hamilton

Banbridge chalked up a win and a draw over the weekend and now are within one win of landing the EY Irish Hockey League title.

However, Mark Tumilty's side must wait until after Easter before they can complete what would be a memorable all-Ireland league and cup double.

And in what was a particularly good weekend for Ulster clubs, Lisnagarvey ran up a double-figure win to guarantee third place in the IHL to join Bann in the end-of-season play-offs while Annadale won the provincial round-robin first round play-offs and now join Cookstown in the final play-offs which offer places in the IHL next season.

First those two Bann games over the weekend, which leaves them level with main rivals Three Rock Rovers at the top of the table - but ahead on a superior goal difference of six - and with just one game remaining.

Eugene Magee put Bann on their way to a 3-2 win over UCD on Saturday with a fine goal after just 30 seconds and Dane Ward and Bruce McCandless wrapped up what turned out to be closer than predicted.

But yesterday they were held to a 1-1 home draw against Glenanne, and it needed another strike from Eugene Magee to salvage the point, although they did enough to have deserved a win.

Bann face third bottom Railway Union at home in their final game on April 22 while Three Rock host Instonians, and both are expected to win.

Garvey's 10-0 success at Instonians on Saturday was the final nail in the Shaw's Bridge club's coffin as it means the trapdoor opens and they slip back into the Ulster Premier League.

Andy Williamson grabbed himself a hat-trick but the game also saw Michael Robson score his first goal since returning from the broken ankle which had him sidelined for three months.

With Monkstown also beating Instonians 3-1 yesterday, it means the Dubliners are now up to fourth, which would put them into the play-offs with Bann, Three Rock and Garvey.

Annadale moved closer to a return to the IHL after they ran up four wins from four in the Provincial Play-offs first round.

Player/coach Peter Caruth led the way with a hat-trick in the 6-0 win over Cork Harlequins and a goal each in the 4-0 win over Belfast Harlequins and 2-0 win over Clontarf, with the other a 2-1 win over YMCA.

It means they will face Bandon and Cookstown will face Corinthian in the play-off semi-finals to see who replaces Instonians in the IHL next season, with the runner-up taking on UCD or Railway for the final place.

Finally, Antrim need one point from their final two Senior One games, against Bangor and South Antrim, to finish runners-up and earn a promotion/relegation play-off against Campbellians.

IHL: Saturday: Banbridge 3 (Magee, Ward, McCandless) UCD 2 ( Meates, Duncan); Instonians 0 Lisnagarvey 10 ( Williamson 3, Robson, McNellis, Gleghorne, Nelson, Arneill, Cockram, Buser); Cork C of I 0 Three Rock 3 (Darling, Empey, Walker); Glenanne 2 (O'Malley, Ronan) Monkstown 1 (Carson); Railway Union 4 (English 2, McKeever, Springett) Pembroke 5 (Sothern 4, Brownlow)

Sunday: Banbridge 1 (Magee) Glenanne 1 (O'Donoghue); Monkstown 3 (Carson, K Good, Cole) Instonians 1 (Corry)

Provincial Play-offs: Saturday: Annadale 4 (Caruth, Bland, Wallace, McElhinney) Belfast H'quins 0; Clontarf 1 YMCA 7; YMCA 2 Belfast H'quins 1 (McClelland); Cork H'quins 1 Clontarf 2; Annadale 6 (Caruth 3, Gibson 2, Wallace) Cork H'quins 0

Sunday: Clontarf 1 Belfast H'quins 1; Annadale 2 (Brown, Robson) YMCA 1; Clontarf 0 Annadale 2 (Caruth, Heath)

Senior 1: Bangor 1 (McComb) Antrim 3 (D Wilson 2, McIlroy); Queen's 1 South Antrim 5 (Watt 2, Henry, Brown, Glass)

Anderson Cup: Civil Service 1 (Barnes) Campbellians 4 (Brown, Easlea, Bannister, A Burnside)

Belfast Telegraph

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