Banbridge coach Mark Tumilty hailed his young guns, who came from a goal down to book their place in the St Stephen’s Day Cup final with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Lisnagarvey on Sunday in Belfast, writes John Flack.However, the game was perhaps a little less close than the scoreline suggests as Tumilty’s team were in control for long periods after conceding early on and Garvey’s consolation came with a minute remaining.
Having said that, if Garvey could have made better use of their three penalty corners, the result might have been different.
Bann will go on to meet either Cookstown or Annadale in the St Stephen’s Day showpiece after Sunday’s scheduled second semi-final was postponed due to a bereavement.
“I was pleased with the performance and we are looking forward to another Kirk Cup Final,” said Tumilty. “Garvey started very well and scored an excellent goal. We did very well to regroup after that and I think we deserved our win in the end.
“We created plenty of chances in the first half but lacked a ruthless streak in front of goal. In the second half we continued to create the opportunities and this time, thankfully, we took a few of them.
“It was great for young players Eddie Rowe and Mark Barlow to score and it makes it worthwhile bringing the younger players into the larger EYHL squad this year.
“Having the Kirk cup final will give us a real focus in December and help with the development of the younger players.
“Overall it was a good day for this group of players and we look forward to working with them going forward to fulfill their potential.”
Garvey went ahead in the seventh minute when Troy Chambers shot high into the net after a good passing move.Bann recovered after that poor start to force the pace and Barlow had a shot well saved by James Milliken and then had another effort cleared off the line by James Corry.
In the 32nd minute, Milliken again came to the rescue when he prevented Alex Tinney from scoring the equaliser.
Garvey regrouped after the break and forced three corners but failed to get shots on target as Chambers and Timmy Cockram both sent efforts narrowly wide after the first award was charged down.
Bann capitalised with 16 minutes left when Rowe showed how it should be done as he hammered in the equaliser from another set-piece.
Two minutes later, Barlow made it 2-1 when he swept the ball home from the middle of the circle following a menacing run by Johnny McKee down the right.
Bann made it three goals in the space of just 12 minutes when Josh Moffett scored with a deft deflection from a left wing delivery to virtually kill the game off.
But Garvey were in no mood to lie down and Cockram eventually got his reward when he tapped home from close range but it was too little, too late.