HOCKEY: Banbridge Ladies step into Senior Cup in historic double

Banbridge Captain Gail McConnell. INBL1610-227EB
Banbridge Captain Gail McConnell. INBL1610-227EB

Banbridge HC ladies are set to take another huge step into the unknown this weekend.

Captain Gail McConnell will lead her side into their first ever Irish Senior Cup match as the club hosts an historic double.

The men will first host Three Rock Rovers at 1pm on Saturday in their own cup opener before the ladies take on current All-Ireland champions Hermes-Monkstown at Havelock at 2.45pm.

“It’s another step forward for us as a team,” said captain McConnell.

“It’s a big game for us and for the club. There will be a big buzz but I think we’re all a little bit nervous. We played Pegasus in pre-season and we know what sort of standard it’s going to be. They’re going to have a lot of the ball and our gamplan has to be to try and stop them. We’ll be working on that in training this week and we’ll get down to the gym as well to get everybody’s strength up.”

Bann’s opponents roll into town on Saturday with a star studded team littered with current internationals and sit proudly on top of the EY Hockey League with a maximum of eight wins from eight. They go into the game as clear favourites but Robin Madeley’s youthful side can take heart from their away point at Randalstown last Saturday.

That was Bann’s fifth point of their first ever Ulster Premier League campaign after a 3-1 win over North Down and another draw with Dungannon.

“It’s been a big step up for us but we’ve been achieving above our expectations so far,” said McConnell. “It’s all about staying up this season and we’ll set new goals after that and look to move forward again.

“Everybody has been training well and working hard. Everybody has that motivation to do well.”