Banbridge coach Tumilty hits out at goal difference ruling

Lisnagarvey's Tim Cockham celebrates scoring
Lisnagarvey's Tim Cockham celebrates scoring

New league leaders Banbridge put nine past relegation favourites Raphoe, in an effort to improve their goal difference and put the pressure back on Lisnagarvey.

After losing their vital match to fellow relegation strugglers Civil Service 3-2, a visit to Havelock Park to face Bann is the last place Richard Eaton’s side wanted to go.

Banbridge took the lead twelve minutes in. A well worked corner which was dinked into Irish International Eugene Magee and expertly finished.

Raphoe were being forced to defend very deep but to their credit, they frustrated the home side until Stephen Dowds fired past Rankin midway through the half.

In the final play of the half Bann made it 3-0, again from a penalty corner, this time Magee the suppler for Frazer Mills to deflect in.

Gavin Leckey registered Raphoe’s only chance of the game but dragged his shot wide of Lennox’s goal. However, it was not long before Bann found their rhythm.

After seeing his first effort from a penalty corner denied by Rankin, top scorer Stephen Dowds grabbed his second of the game finishing the rebound.

Banbridge were really turning the screw and minutes later Stephen Dowds completed his hat-trick from another penalty corner.

Bann continued to score as many as possible, Ireland star Bruce McCandless played in Ross Beattie.

Simon Magowan and Eugene Magee rounded off the game with goals, Banbridge ran out comfortable winners but left frustrated by three missed chances in the final minutes.

Banbridge head coach Mark Tumilty said: “Part of me doesn’t like chasing goals, it doesn’t do us or Raphoe any good, but Ulster Hockey have created that with a league decided by goal difference.”

“I was shocked that it was, I was under the impression that if tied the league would be decided by a play-off and I think that is the better option.

“There are two sides to it. You shouldn’t be chasing goals and the second thing is developing young players.”

He believes that the title is set to leave Havelock at the end of the season but insists his side will continue to fight.

“Do I think we will win it? No, I think Garvey have scored enough goals but I can’t fault the players.”

Tumilty also sent out a warning to teams for next season. “If the league stays in its current format, we will chase goals every game so that we don’t leave ourselves in this position.”