Banbridge destroy Three Rock Rovers

Stephen Dowds
Stephen Dowds

Banbridge produced a devastating second half performance that took them to their second Irish semi-final this season, as they crushed Three Rock Rovers 5-2.

Bann, who are already in the semi-final of the Irish Senior Cup, will also be Ulster’s only representatives in the last four of the Irish Hockey League.

But they didn’t get off the start they had hoped, as Rovers raced into an early lead when Luke Madeley diverted a PC variation into the goal.

And with Rovers still in the lead after the first quarter, Bann were getting little change out of a superb Rovers defence, in which their keeper, Stephen West, was outstanding.

With three minutes of the half remaining and in delightful move that tore open the Rovers defence, Dane Ward had Bann level when he finished of a three man move, involving Peter Brown and Stephen Dowds.

Right on the whistle for the first half Frazer Mills burst into the Rovers circle only to be upended but Matthew Bell was denied by a brilliant save by Best from the spot.

Four minutes into the second half Dowds put Bann ahead with superb penalty corner which sent the ball high into the roof of the net.

It signalled the start of a Bann onslaught, as in the 46th minute Neil Gilmore made it 3-1 only to see Rovers claw it back five minutes later through another goal from Madeley.

But with less than six minutes remaining Owen Magee smashed home an unstoppable reverse stick shot to restore Bann’s two goal buffer and with three minutes remaining, Ward wrapped up a great day for Bann, as he snatched up his second goal to take the Ulster side to another semi-final.