Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Magee targets European venture

Irish international Eugene Magee has the travel bug again.

But Banbridge players and fans needn’t worry that their star turn is ready to head off to faraway shores - he has had club spells in Holland and Australia in the past and also played in many countries with the international team.

This time, though, it’s a case of Bann’s talisman wanting to get his first taste of European club hockey with his home-town team.

That’s why Eugene has been keeping his fingers crossed that the thumb broken three weeks ago in a league game against Mossley will not restrict him when Bann line out today in the Irish Hockey League semi-final against Leinster runners-up Glenanne at Three Rock’s Grange Road.

He knows that if Bann can progress against the Tallaght men, then there is every chance they will get a crack at Europe next season - the first time in over 20 years.

Pembroke, of course, are hot favourites to clinch the IHL crown - just as they did the Leinster League title, the Irish Senior Cup and the Eurohockey Trophy.

If Pembroke take the glory as expected, then the IHL runners-up will get the second European slot ... which is why winning the first semi-final is paramount.

Magee is desperately keen that Bann can do the business against Glenanne, for it would be a case of reaching Europe whether they win or lose the final (unless Three Rock cause an upset in the second semi).

Altogether, Grange Road hosts a total of 15 games from today through to Monday - two semi-finals and a final in the Irish Hockey League at both men’s and women’s level, and nine games to sort out the men’s and women’s wild-card play-off slots for next season’s IHL.

Lisnagarvey represent Ulster in the men’s wild-card event and should progress while Belfast Harlequins are in the women’s.