Ice Hockey: Bann retain league crown - with two games to spare!

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BANBRIDGE are the EY All-Ireland League champions for the second successive season after a comfortable victory over UCD!

University College Dublin 0

Banbridge 5

With results elsewhere going in Bann’s favour, Scott McCandless’ side have retained their league title with two games to spare.

Celebrations for Banbridge men’s 1s and coaching team who have won back-to-back league titles.Celebrations for Banbridge men’s 1s and coaching team who have won back-to-back league titles.
Celebrations for Banbridge men’s 1s and coaching team who have won back-to-back league titles.

Louis Rowe gave the Ulster Carpets’ sponsored home side the lead when he deflected in Tommy Orr’s shot.

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Despite a series of penalty corners for Bann, there was no further scoring before the break. The second half started in the perfect manner when Owen Magee won the ball in midfield and fed Josh Moffett, whose cross was turned in by Matthew McKee.

Minutes later Louis Rowe scored again with another deflection. The final quarter was all about Phillip Brown as the veteran defender scored two goals from penalty corner flicks.

Squad:

Determined defending from Bann.Determined defending from Bann.
Determined defending from Bann.

Luke Roleston (GK), Jake Rowe, Mark Cowan, Phillip Brown, Sam Farson, Ben Walker, Luke Witherow (captain), Charlie Rowe, Owen Magee, Hugh McShane, Tommy Dobson, Josh Moffett, Louis Rowe, Matthew McKee, Tommy Orr, Adam McKee.

Annadale 4

Banbridge 4

With the league title already secured, a diminished Banbridge squad travelled to Belfast on Sunday to play Annadale as they fought against relegation.

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Bann on the attack v Annadale. Pics: Annadale HC.Bann on the attack v Annadale. Pics: Annadale HC.
Bann on the attack v Annadale. Pics: Annadale HC.

Head coach Scott McCandless rung the changes as he was without five regular starting players but his replacements showed character as they fought back from two goals down to secure a point.

The home side took the lead in the opening minutes from open play but Bann equalised from a penalty corner when Louis Rowe fired the ball high past the goalkeeper.

Luke Witherow then looked destined to score but a defender somehow managed to deflect his shot over the bar.

Tommy Orr did give the visitors the lead with a reverse stick shot from Louis Rowe’s pass but Annadale pulled the scores level from a penalty corner on the stroke of half time.

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By the end of the third quarter Annadale were two goals in front after scoring from open play and from another penalty corner.

Tommy Orr’s cross just evaded a diving Charlie Rowe but not to be outdone Rowe smashed home a rebound minutes later after Orr’s shot was blocked.

With six minutes to go, Louis Rowe got the final goal of the game when he drilled the ball into the net giving the goalkeeper no chance of saving it.

Bann will be disappointed not to have won the game as they failed to score from five of their penalty corners.

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One league game remains for the Ulster Carpets’ sponsored Banbridge as they travel to Corinthians in Dublin next Saturday.

Squad: Luke Roleston (GK), Alexander Tinney (captain), Jake Rowe, Bruce McCandless, Ben Walker, Max Nicholson, Mark Cowan, Hugh McShane, Charlie Rowe, Luke Witherow, Tommy Dobson, Josh Moffett, Tommy Orr, Louis Rowe, Matthew McKee, Adam McKee.

RESULTS

Elsewhere, there was disappointment for the Men's 2s as they narrowly missed out in the Irish Junior Cup semi-final to a steadfast Garvey defence.

The Men's 4s signed off their season with a close fought battle and narrow home loss.

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