Banbridge clinch title with extra-time winner in hard-fought contest
Cork Church of Ireland in it until the end but Wright goal seals victory for Ulster team
Banbridge’s Stephen Dowds celebrates scoring the first goal against Cork Church of Ireland in the Irish Senior Cup men’s final at the National Hockey Stadium in UCD. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Banbridge sneaked the winner in this game shortly after the match had been extended by five minutes. Following the Ulster team pressing and Cork Church of Ireland responding with their own dangerous counter-attacks, Jamie Wright finally found the space that had been eluding his side for more than 70 minutes, spun in the circle and hit past Lynch for 2-1 and just a couple of minutes of the game to play.
It was a killer blow for the Cork side after they had chased Banbridge in the first half after an early goal on three minutes, a drag flick from Stephen Dowds giving the Ulster side the lead.
Banbridge will rightly claim the lion’s share of possession, territory and shots on goal but Cork were always threatening to break out, although with three yellow cards their robust defence paid a heavy price.
Cork’s Neil Gilmore may have tilted the game in their favour at 1-1 late in the second half with on a one-on-one with Banbridge goalkeeper Gareth Lennnox. But he opted for a blind pass that ran to safety.
Even as Banbridge forced their 11th corner with zero seconds remaining on the clock, Cork kept them out with nerveless defending and a series of reaction saves from Lynch.
Finally, the hole opened in injury time as a ball was rolled into space. Wright turned and scored, putting the cup on the bus to Ulster