Bann coach Mark Tumilty is backing his star forward to push on to his top form.
Stephen Dowds pulled his side out of a hole on Saturday with his two last gasp goals to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
They took his tally to five in five games this season. For anyone else, that would be a healthy return. But Dowds’ stunning levels of last season, in which he netted over 60 goals, have brought high expectations.
Failing to score in successive games against Garvey and UCD didn’t match up to those exploits but on Saturday, he proved was still a man who could be relied upon.
“Stevie’s had a difficult time with his international decision so it was a big boost for him and hopefully he can kick on now. I have no doubt that he will,” said coach Mark Tumilty, after Dowds had ruled himself out of Ireland’s Olympic squad.
His double could scarcely have come at a better time, with Bann 2-1 behind against Dublin side Pembroke with five minutes to play.
“We didn’t deserve to be 2-1 down to be honest,” said Tumilty. “We started the game well and then they got a couple of corners but we defended well. Eugene (Magee) made a good clearance off the line and Gareth (Lennox) made a couple of good saves.
“We had the best of the game from then on but at this level, there is always a chance of being caught.
“We made two individual errors and were caught to go behind in the fourth quarter.
“As soon as that happened, we went three at the back. Fair play to Stevie for putting away two excellent corners.
“With Three Rock getting a draw against Monkstown, it was important to get the win and set us up for a big weekend coming up.
“It was a great game of hockey, played at a great pace. That’s the reason we joined the IHL, for games like this. There was a good buzz about the club as well and a good crowd at the game. Our support is great and we’ll have a bus going down to Three Rock as well.”