Banbridge skipper Eugene Magee led by example on Saturday with a stunning display to help his side to victory.
That’s the view of Head Coach Mark Tumilty, who is confident his side are hitting form at the right time after they thrashed Three Rock Rovers 5-2 to top Pool B and set up a semi-final tie against Pembroke Wanderers.
“Eugene was just electric,” he said.
“He is such a big part of the squad. He has a huge presence and brings other guys on with him. I saw a real step up from the guys around him last weekend.
“There were some great goals scored as well. Dane Ward got two fantastic goals, Neil Gilmore scored a team goal after it was played the length of the pitch and Owen Magee finished a great team goal that came off a bit of skill from Peter Brown.
“All of the goals had something really good about them. I was delighted with the performance and we came through without any injuries.
“It was fantastic. It’s probably up there with the best hockey that we have produced. It came at the right time as well. That was one of the goals on Saturday, to show where we are.
“Everybody did their jobs very well. The bit that pleased me most was that we didn’t panic when we fell behind.
“The guys were excellent against a very good side. It was a really enjoyable game of hockey. We all loved it and there was a good buzz around the club with the good, competitive hockey. I think it’s further evidence that a full IHL is the way to go.”
On a day the club held a reception to officially open the new kitchen at Havelock, the team delivered on the pitch and showed the character that they will need in the coming weeks as they had to come back from falling behind very early on.
Three Rock opened the stronger and took the lead from a penalty corner variation in the fourth minute with Joe Brennan deflecting home.
After this though, the home side gradually gained a foothold in the match and pressed the visitors into their own half for long periods. Bann failed to create any clear cut chances for some time but the equaliser finally arrived three minutes from half time when Dane Ward created space for himself before slotting the ball under West in the TRR goal.
Bann took the game by the scruff of the neck in a six minute spell in the third quarter. Firstly Stephen Dowds fired home a penalty corner and then Neil Gilmore deflected home after Bann turned defence into attack in scintillating fashion. Three Rock got a foothold in the game again from a penalty corner midway through the third quarter when Peter Blakeney slotted home.
Bann sealed victory late in the final quarter when first Owen Magee almost took the net off its supports with a bullet of a reverse strike and then as Three Rock pressed, Dane Ward neatly finished his second of the game to leave the final score at 5-2.
Banbridge and Three Rock Rovers both qualify for the finals weekend with TRR set to face Pool A winners Monkstown.