Bruno and Neil could miss a season-defining month

Philip Brown looks set to miss the rest of the season but (below) Sam Farson has made an impressive step up. Pic: Rowland White / Presseye.
Philip Brown looks set to miss the rest of the season but (below) Sam Farson has made an impressive step up. Pic: Rowland White / Presseye.

Banbridge could be without two of the season’s stars as they hunt for a clean sweep of all five trophies.

Having already secured the Anderson Cup and the Kirk Cup, now Coach Mark Tumilty knows it all comes down to the next few weeks with both Irish Senior Cup and IHL finals weekends fast approaching and the league all but wrapped up.

Sam Farson. Pic: Rowland White / Presseye.

Sam Farson. Pic: Rowland White / Presseye.

And he’s prepari ng for such a massive month without defender Philip Brown and forward Neil Gilmore.

“It’s a huge four weeks,” he said.

“Philip’s probably not going to be back this season,” said the boss.

“That probably means Bruce will play in the back four for a while so he’ll be a miss out of the midfield. We have other options too. Ross Beattie and Scott Forbes can play in the back four.

“There’ll be the odd down over these few weeks because it’s a big task to win them all. In saying that, we’ll give it our best shot. Really, we can’t afford to lose any of these matches coming up.”

Bann, of course, haven’t quite made it through to the IHL finals weekend just yet. On Saturday, they need to avoid any more than a one goal defeat to Three Rock Rovers, who will provide no doubt Bann’s toughest test since the turn of the year.

Tumilty knows he will have to make sure his players are firing on all cylinders.

“That’s the challenge for the group,” he said. “It’s good that we’ve got that game on Monday night away to Cookstown because that is always a good test.

“I’m pretty confident with where the group are and how things are going. We’ve done a bit of work varying how we play up front and we’ve got a few guys back such as Ross Beattie and Kyle Marshall.

“It’s about momentum. The performance is important because we’re trying to get the internationals back into our style and get the other guys used to having them back. It’s a mental thing.

“We have to accept that it won’t be easy to get back to the levels we were at but at the same time, the players have had a week’s rest before the Cookstown game and should be raring to go now.”

Tumilty, meanwhile, is glad to have the next generation breaking through.

“I’ve been really impressed with the school-boys who stepped up while the internationals were away,” he said.

“Sam Farson has been brilliant, Timmy Watt was excellent and Jake Rowe, coming in at just 15, was really pleasing.

“The games we played while the international guys were away were good because a lot of other guys got some good pitch time. It gives them a bit of confidence.”