NO fewer than six Banbridge players have been named in the Men’s Ulster U-21 Squad which was announced by Ulster Hockey.
Stephen Dowds, Hugh McShane, Peter Brown, Josh Moffett, Matthew Bell and Owen Magee have all made the squad for the forthcoming inter-provincials which will take place at Lisnagarvey Hockey Club from 1-3 February 2013.
Stephen Dowds has added to his increasing reputation by being named captain of the side, and his accuracy from penalty corners could be pivotal as Ulster look to win the last interpro tournament of the season.
The local involvement doesn’t end there as the squad also includes ex-Banbridge player Michael Anderson, whilst the team will be managed by Paddy Grimes and the physio for the squad is local girl Ciara Magee.
Meanwhile Banbridge’s top of the table clash away to Instonians this week has been cancelled due to the players’ involvement in the Ulster squad.
Head Coach Mark Tumilty explained that due to so many players being unavailable, the match has been called off.
“There’s a ruling within the branch that if there’s three or more players involved then the match is cancelled.
“There are quite a few large games that need to be reorganised, two against Instonians and one against Garvey.
“It’s not ideal to go three weeks without a game, and then we also face Cookstown and Annadale so it will not be in anyway straight forward.”
With fixtures adding up and players away on provincial duty, Bann’s current position is one which is both a blessing and a curse.
“Between the weather and having players missing, we’ve missed a few matches, and whilst it is both a blessing to have such a busy schedule and a curse, it is just one of those things,” Tumily commented. “It is good to have players at that level, to see them progress and develop. It also gives us a chance to work with the rest of the group, so we’ll be ready to go against Cookstwon on Saturday week. That’s at home, so I’ll be looking for three points.
“We have a lot of big games to be played, with the league and the Irish Cup semi final. There will be points dropped, I understand that, hopefully we’ll drop less.”
Tumilty added: “I’m looking forward to getting back to league hockey, it’s a good place to be.”