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Euro final loss but Banbridge land three awards and join elite

Banbridge 0-4 Cardiff & Met

By Graham Hamilton

Four games in four days finally took its toll as Banbridge crashed 4-0 to Cardiff and Met in the EuroHockey Club Champions Trophy final in Glasgow yesterday afternoon.

But it's not all bad news for Bann - Eugene Magee was named Player of the Tournament, Gareth Lennox was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament and Stephen Dowds was Top Goalscorer of the Tournament.

And it looks almost certain that they will be promoted to Europe's top-flight next season alongside Ulster rivals Lisnagarvey.

Entry to the EuroHockey League comes through ranking points, and Bann finishing runners-up seems to be sufficient enough to warrant Ireland having two teams in the EHL next season, although they'll have to wait a while for confirmation.

Mark Tumilty's lads reached the decider by topping Pool A, following a 2-2 draw with Rotweiss Wettingen (Switzerland), a 4-1 win over Minsk (Belarus) and a 4-0 win over Scottish hosts Kelburne.

But because the Azerbaijan representatives withdrew from the competition, the Welsh side played one game less in Pool B - and it showed as they finished stronger in the second-half during which they scored all four goals from set-pieces.

The first-half was fairly even but then Cardiff broke the deadlock just three minutes into the second period through a Ben Carless penalty corner conversion.

Then came three goals in six minutes late in the game as Bann tried to push for an equaliser.

Luke Hawker got the second from a penalty corner, James Carson the third from a penalty stroke and Jack Pritchard the fourth from another penalty corner.

It was a particularly disappointing day for Bann defender Brad Logan - the South African was hoping to end his stay at Havelock Park with a gold medal, but instead he's returning home with silver, having already got silver at the Irish Champions Trophy finals earlier this month.

"It's a bit bittersweet," admitted Bann captain Magee.

"It's an honour to receive the Player of the Tournament award but it's a small consolation as it would have been nicer to win the tournament.

"However, it seems there is a real likelihood that we will be promoted to the EuroHockey League next season but we must await confirmation on that.

"That's all the club commitments completed for the season, and now the focus turns to the Rio Olympics.

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