Cookstown miss out on Kirk Cup three-in-a-row

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Kirk Cup final

Cookstown 2 Banbridge 4

HALFWAY through their match with Banbridge on Saturday, it looked for all the world like Cookstown were going to claim a historic third Kirk Cup in a row.

But unfortunately for the players and supporters, the Reds could not replicate their stunning start to the game in the second period and the trophy was claimed by the Co. Down team.

Cookstown might have been 3-0 up at half time, but Banbridge only trailed 1-0 at the break, during the sun-drenched final at Stormont.

Strong words from Banbridge coach, Mark Tumilty. during the interval, inspired his side to produce a magnificent second half performance, to lift the Kirk for the 20th time in the club’s history.

After dominating the first half, Cookstown wondered how they were only 1-0 ahead going into the turn, thanks to a 25th minute goal from Mark Crooks.

The half time hooter was welcome respite for a Banbridge side who were on the ropes.

But 90 seconds into the second, Ross McCandless levelled the score and six mutes later Ward tucked home a superb run from Scott McCandless to make it 2-1.

Greg Allen responded with an unstoppable shot from the edge of the circle, to level it for Cookstown in the 55th minute.

But in a devastating 10 minute spell, Banbridge completely turned the game on its head, with a goal from Colin Dowds and when Ward turned the defender in the circle to crash home his second, the Kirk was on its way to Banbridge.

Cookstown: Ian Hughes, Matthew Rollins, Godfrey Irwin, Gareth Cuddy, Thomas Hutchinson, Ewan Butler, Ian Sloan, Andy Barbour, Mark Crooks, David Best, Greg Allen, Timmy Smyth, Stuart Smyth, Keith Black, Paul Thompson ans Steven Stewart