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Bann can catch Garvey in title race, says McKee



Retaining belief: Johnny McKee insists Banbridge can still taste title joy this season

Retaining belief: Johnny McKee insists Banbridge can still taste title joy this season

�INPHO/Bryan Keane

Retaining belief: Johnny McKee insists Banbridge can still taste title joy this season

Banbridgehaven't given up hope of catching Lisnagarvey in the race for the EY Irish Hockey League title after continuing their impressive form with a 7-4 win over Glenanne in dreadful conditions in Dublin on Saturday.

Garvey, who came from 2-0 down to beat YMCA 3-2, preserved their five-point lead at the top of the standings, with Monkstown, 6-0 winners at bottom club Annadale, sitting second.

But Bann are in ominously good fettle at the moment, having scored 15 goals in their two outings since the mid-season break.

At the halfway stage, they are four points behind Monkstown and have nine to make up on their Ulster rivals.

Bann striker Johnny McKee said: "We have three massive games coming up against Monkstown, UCD and Three Rock Rovers, so we will know better after that if we can catch Garvey.

"At the moment, they are grinding out wins week after week, so it's maybe their title to lose but we will keep plugging away.

"Our form has been very pleasing after we made a slow start and I think that was down to having a new coach on board in Gordon Cracknell and it's taken time for us to put his strategies into place."

Bann swept aside Glenanne with a blistering first-half display as they built up a 6-2 lead after trailing early on with Pete Brown, Josh Moffett, Robbie Scott, Eugene Magee and Jamie Wright (2) also on target.

Irish international McKee added: "I've never seen wind like it and, at one point, the goals even blew over but we had the gale behind us in the first half and then it was their turn to have the benefit of the elements."

Garvey also had to weather a storm in more than one sense as they came from 2-0 down to beat YMCA, who had shipped eight goals against Bann the previous week.

The Dubliners led 2-0 after the first quarter but Garvey hit back with two goals from Andy Williamson before Mark McNellis netted the winner.

Instonians remain top of the Ulster Premier League after goals from Stephen Hamill and Stephen Kelso sealed a 2-0 win over Queen's at the Dub.

However, Cookstown, who are four points off the pace but have three games in hand, remain slight favourites to lift the title.

The Tyrone side made it eight wins from eight starts with a 3-1 victory at Mossley where Jack Haycock, Max Anderson and Stuart Smyth were on target.

Second-placed Kilkeel, who are a point behind Inst but have played a game fewer, stayed in contention after beating Bangor 8-0.

Bangor and Ballynahinch, who went down 5-0 to Raphoe in Donegal, are still without a point to their names.

Results: EYIHL: Glenanne 4 Banbridge 7; Annadale 0 Monkstown 6; Dublin YMCA 2 Lisnagarvey 3; Pembroke 2 Three Rock Rovers 5; UCD 3 Corinthian 4. Ulster Premier League: Kilkeel 8 Bangor 0; Mossley 1 Cookstown 3; North Down 2 Newry Olympic 3; Portadown 0 South Antrim 3; Queen's 0 Instonians 3; Raphoe 5 Ballynahinch 0. Ulster Sussex Regiment Cup: Armagh 4 Parkview 1; PSNI 2 Civil Service 8; Irish Hockey Challenge: Antrim 2 Portrush 3; Middleton 2 Limerick 1.

Belfast Telegraph