Hockey: Banbridge breach Cookstown’s Steelweld fortress

MY BALL... Cookstown's Stuart Smyth breaks from midfield.INMM4313-333SR
MY BALL... Cookstown's Stuart Smyth breaks from midfield.INMM4313-333SR

Cookstown were comprehensively beaten by champions elect Banbridge at Steelweld Park on Saturday.

In a first half mauling by the visitors, the Reds simply could not cope with the pacier and far more accurate passing game of Bann.

Cookstown actually started as the better team and had Bann under pressure for the first 10 minutes without troubling keeper Gareth Lennox.

As expected, Bann finally settled and Magowan scored a good goal - although he was the only Bann forward in the circle, he danced his way past three token tackles before beating Hughes with a well placed flick.

The pressure was now incessant and Bell doubled Bann’s lead after Hughes had saved the initial penalty corner effort only for Bell to sweep the rebound home.

In a few sporadic raids Cookstown won a couple of penalty corners which Lennox sent to safety.

Owen Magee then increasedthe visitors lead with the goal of the game. The young midfielder, who shared an Australian adventure with Greg Allen, worked his way across the edge of the circle before beating Hughes with a sweet upright reverse strike.

As if things weren’t bad enough for the home side their cause wasn’t helped when Stuart Smyth received a 10 minute suspension which wouldleave Cookstown down a man until shortly before half time.

Also Matty Rollins received a facial wound which would meant he took no further part in this game.

Bann then secured the points with a well worked goal, slick passes carving open the Reds defence for Dowds.

With the game lost Cookstown presented Bann with more of a contest during the second half. Penalty corners were won and squandered as the Reds looked to reduce the deficit.

However, in a breakaway move McShane was left with thesimple task to score the final goal.

This was a game that Cookstown will want to forget and they need to get back to winning ways this Saturday when they travel to Dublin to take on Rathgar in the first round of the Irish Senior Cup.