Seapatrick are the District Cup champions

Seapatrick celebrate winning the Banbridge District Cup.
Seapatrick celebrate winning the Banbridge District Cup.

Seapatrick got their hands on the Banbridge District Cup last Thursday for the first time in seven years.

It took a dramatic comeback to seal a 3-2 victory over a young Banbridge Town side.

Heatwaves NI sponsored Banbridge District Cup For Cancer Research UK. Johnny Kerr is pictured with organisers Marjorie Dale and Bazil Brown.

Heatwaves NI sponsored Banbridge District Cup For Cancer Research UK. Johnny Kerr is pictured with organisers Marjorie Dale and Bazil Brown.

The competition, which raises funds for Cancer Research UK, is in its 10th year and is still proving to be popular with over £1,100 raised for the charity through gate donations and sponsorship.

This year’s primary sponsor to cover operating costs was Heatwaves NI and the Banbridge CRUK Committee would like to express their sincere thanks to Johnny Kerr for his generosity.

Seapatrick were the most impressive team throughout the competition this year and fully deserved to lift the Banbridge District Cup. David Dawson’s men began with a 4-1 win over the Youth Club Old Boys in the Quarter Finals.

A stunning free kick in the 13th minute from Adam McBurney followed an early opener by winger William Davidson and the Village never looked back.

Goals either side of half time from Andy McLarty and Adam McBurney put the Quarter Final put of site with YCOB defender Liam Devlin heading in a late consolation.

The first semi-final saw the biggest turnout of spectators with around 300 local fans coming out to see Banbridge Rangers vs Town at Cheney Park. The Town had decided to go with half of their first team squad and the rest complimented with some of the up and coming talent within the club.

Town opened the scoring through McParland midway through the first half but Rangers were level almost immediately through striker Colin Cunningham.

Just before half time a mistimed clearance from Ivon Blevins in the Rangers goal allowed Town forward Conor Downey to put his side head with the simplest of tap ins. Banbridge Town then created daylight between the teams when Stephen McCavitt struck home a thunderous penalty kick in the 63rd minute.

Within five minutes the arrears were reduced by Jonny Porter who drilled home when presented fortuitously with the ball on the six yard line. A late surge from Rangers never materialised into a goal with Banbridge Town making the Final for the first time since 2012.

The other semi-final was played by Seapatrick and Rathfriland in torrential rain and it was the whites who were trailing 2-0 by half time. A 27th minute penalty was dispatched by Martin Buchanan and a strike by Keith McVitty followed into the roof of the net.

Rathfriland brought the score back to 2-1 with half an hour remaining when Chris Frazer slotted under Village keeper McGrath after being played in by Ally Wilson.

Frazer then missed a glorious opportunity to equalise ten minutes later and would prove to be costly as the resultant clearance was sent high into the path of Seapatrick winger William Davidson who watched the ball drop over his shoulder and executed a stunning half volley from 30 yards into the far top corner.

A low strike into the bottom corner by Rathfriland midfielder Steven Coulter gave the defending champions some hope of a comeback but that man Davidson was on hand to make it 4-2 after confidently finishing off a one on one.

The final had one of the most dramatic endings ever seen in a Banbridge District Cup game. Banbridge Town had sent their Under 20 Development team to the Final as their first team squad was hosting Annagh United in a pre season friendly.

The young Town team just about held onto a scoreless at half-time against a more experienced Seapatrick team who were wasteful in front of goal. Then in the 57th minute Stephen McCavitt was on hand to turn in a sliced clearance and give the Town a 1-0 lead. Things got even better for Banbridge Town who doubled their advantage ten minutes later with a fine volleyed finish by Rossi Fitzpatrick from inside the box.

With ten minutes to go the comeback from Seapatrick began when substitute Andy McLarty bundled a cross in from close range at the back post. Within sixty seconds the game was level as McBurney turned in a Buchanan free kick with the deftest of touches.

Seapatrick then scored their third goal in six minutes when Adam McBurney tucked away the winning penalty after a handball in the box.

Tony Graham collected the Banbridge District Cup on behalf of Seapatrick who also had winger William Davidson named as the Player of the Tournament.

The Banbridge CRUK Committee would like to thank all of the clubs, players and spectators who supported this year’s tournament and a special note of thanks to the officials who volunteered their services; Damien Basketfield, Kenny Tipping, David Smylie, Neil Barr and Wayne Beggs who refereed both a Semi Final and the Final. Thanks also to Shoefair Sports for sponsoring the match balls and to Heatwaves NI for covering the operating costs.