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May Trophy finals are switched to Dublin as Bann's pitch hits delay

By Graham Hamilton

Banbridge have had to give up the opportunity of staging the Irish Champions Trophy finals over the May Bank Holiday weekend after construction work on their new £250,000 pitch at Havelock Park has been delayed.

The series will now be moved to Three Rock's ground in the Dublin foothills while Bann bid to get construction work completed as soon as possible.

It's a body blow to the club who had lined up suppliers for marquees and a stand to be erected for the series which involves both men and women, but Hockey Ireland has indicated that the high-profile event will almost certainly return to Havelock Park next season.

The big issue, though, has been unforeseen difficulties which delayed the laying of the carpet - work was originally to be completed by Easter.

But club stalwart Neil Madeley is confident that talks with suppliers will ensure work will resume soon.

"There has been some soul-searching, but we have to be sympathetic to those clubs who are going to be participating in the series, and also to Three Rock Rovers who are coming in late as the new hosts, and that's why the decision has been made now," he explains.

"Thankfully there is no penalty to us from those suppliers we had organised for the event, as we'll be using them next season.

"But regards the pitch, the projected finishing time will have to be extended.

"We are working with our suppliers to have the continuity maintained.

"We are mindful of getting everything done properly, and not settle for a quick fix.

"After all, this project has to last us for 15 years minimum."

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