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Brown brothers keep Bann on right track for double delight

By Graham Hamilton

Banbridge are in the healthy position of having two routes still open to them as they bid to qualify for the end-of-season play-offs from which tickets to Europe are on offer.

Already sitting joint top of the Irish Hockey League, Bann reached the Irish Senior Cup semi-finals on Saturday when goals from Peter Brown, Johnny McKee and Eugene Magee gave them a 3-0 win over Cork C of I.

The top three from the IHL qualify for the play-offs but the fourth slot is handed to the cup winners, which is why coach Mark Tumilty and his Bann players are keeping their focus on the knockout competition as well as their league programme.

The semi-final draw will be made today and joining them in the hat are Dublin sides UCD and Corinthian, with Instonians and holders Monkstown also going in but still having to sort out their quarter-final which was postponed on Saturday due to a frost-bound pitch.

It was the Brown brothers, Peter and Philip, who played pivotal roles in Bann's success over Cork, which followed the team's 3-2 IHL win against the same opposition six days earlier.

Peter put Bann ahead from a penalty corner rebound and Philip not only proved a tower of strength in defence but was causing the Munster side a host of problems when he powered his way down the flanks.

McKee got Bann's second when his cross was turned in by a defender and Magee wrapped things up when he made his way along the byline and scored on the reverse.

Unfortunately, Ulster Premier League duo Cookstown and Mossley made their exits.

The Tyrone men were held to a 1-1 draw at UCD, with Greg Allen again on the mark, but they lost on penalty strokes.

Mossley felt the full force of Corinthian, losing 4-0.

Meanwhile, Kilkeel and Annadale shared six goals in an Ulster Premier League thriller, a result which probably hampers both as they try to keep pace with favourites Cookstown.

The Mournemen were 3-1 ahead with eight minutes to go but the Dale pulled their keeper for an additional outfield player and immediately pulled one back, and then scored a dramatic equaliser right at the death.

Queen's and Limerick are through to the Irish Hockey Trophy semi-finals but the other two games, which involved three Ulster teams, were hit by the weather.

Finally, Cookstown are the new Ulster indoor champions after finishing level on points with Antrim in yesterday's series, but having a better goal difference.

Irish Senior Cup, quarter-finals: Banbridge 3 (P Brown, J McKee, E Magee) Cork C of I 0; UCD 1 (B McCrea) Cookstown 1 (G Allen) UCD win 4-3 on strokes); Corinthian 4 (D Treacy 2, J Bruton, J Perdue) Mossley 0; Instonians v Monkstown (postponed)

Ulster Premier League: Kilkeel 3 (D Finlay 2, M Stevenson) Annadale 3 (J Cox, A McAllister, B Wallace); Newry 1 (K Fletcher) Portadown 6 (J Curran 2, M Winter, A Stevenson, R Scott, G Titler); Belfast Harlequins v Civil Service (postponed)

Senior One: Portrush 1 Cliftonville 3 (D Hurley, A Cardy, J Allen)

Irish Hockey Trophy, quarter-finals: Bangor 0 Queen's 1 (N Gamble); Limerick 6 Weston 3; Campbellians v South Antrim (postponed); North Down v Ashton (postponed)

Ulster Indoor championships (Queen's): Antrim 6 Civil Service 5; Cookstown 4 Civil Service 2; Antrim 1 Cookstown 1.

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