Brown ruled out as Bann chase silverware

Philip Brown, Banbridge
Philip Brown, Banbridge

Philip Brown is simply gutted that he will not be playing for his beloved Banbridge this weekend, as they are on the verge of creating club history - they are poised to win a possible Irish Trophy double.

Bann are Ulster’s only representatives in the semi-finals of the Irish Senior Cup and Irish Hockey League.

But a knee injury sustained by Brown just before Christmas has sidelined him and all that he can do is look on and hope that his team mates can complete the double without him.

“I am just gutted,” said Brown. “This is something all players strive for, we have worked hard all season and now I will miss the most important end of the season.

“I picked up the injury about three months ago and I had hoped that I would have been back by now. But the injury is not responding the way it should be and it looks likely that I will be sitting the rest of the season out.

“I have been playing for the firsts for six years and this is the worst injury I have had, apart from a few niggles. I have won an IHL medal but never an ISC medal.

“We have such a good team this season there is every possibility that we could just win the cup and I hope we do.

“There is a slim possibility that I will be back for next month’s IHL finals in three weeks time but I can’t rush it, as it could put me out even longer. But I have to realistic, I haven’t played since before Christmas and it would be difficult getting back a week before such a massive game.”

Brown had been on the verge of breaking into the Ireland team and was due to go with Ireland to South Africa before their successful World League 2 when his injury struck.

“I was so disappointed having to withdraw from the squad; I had to do a fitness test and had to pull out halfway through it, as my knee was playing up. And now I don’t know if I do get back to full fitness, if I would be in the running for the Irish squad.”

But Brown will be with the Bann team when they travel to Dublin tomorrow. He explained: “I will be staying in the team hotel with the guys and will be attending all the training sessions and team meetings, so I will try to be involved as much as possible without playing and I will hopefully be on the pitch when we lift the cup.”

Bann are Ulster’s only representatives in the semi-finals of the Irish Senior Cup and Irish Hockey League and tomorrow they take the first step towards the double when they play Pembroke Wanderers in Dublin.

And if they get over this hurdle they must be favourites against either Cork Church of Ireland or Railway Union.

Could 29 years of waiting to lift the coveted Irish Senior Cup soon be over?


Saturday - Irish Senior Cup Semi-Finals (UCD, Belfield): Cork Church of Ireland v Railway Union (1pm); Banbridge v Pembroke Wanderers (3.15pm)

Sunday - Final (3.30pm).