Banbridge strike force ‘likely’ to feature in Kirk Cup final

Banbridge's Stephen Dowds (centre)
Banbridge's Stephen Dowds (centre)

Banbridge will have several players carrying knocks into the Boxing day showdown with Cookstown at Lisnagarvey, including two of their most talented strikers.

Leading scorer Stephen Dowds and Jonny McKee both had to sit out a training session at the weekend but are expected to play even if they are not 100 per cent fit.

“Stephen got hit on the knee at an Ireland training session last weekend, ironically by his fellow Ulster man Mikey Watt.” explained Bann coach Mark Tumelty.

“Jonny injured his calf and had to come off during the Academy’s McCullough Cup final win but, again, I expect him to play at least some part of the game on Friday.”

“Philip Brown has fluid on his knee and Dane Ward has a troublesome hamstring so we have had our fair share of injuries but we have strength in depth this season so we’ll be okay.”

Tumelty concedes - reluctantly like most coaches would - that people will make his team favourites but he has been around long enough to know that the tag means next to nothing in finals.

He also paid tribute to his opposite number Stephen Cuddy who masterminded that shock semi final win over Lisnagarvey a few weeks ago.

“Stephen is a shrewd operator as he proved with that win and although we have beaten them three times this season that will mean nothing on Friday.” added the Bann coach.

“They impressed me in the league game when they were leading us before we played a lot better in the second half to win.

“But I have been delighted with our form this season and we are really looking forward to the final.

“Hopefully, both teams give it a real go and that will make it a great spectacle for the huge crowd that always makes it such a special occasion.”