Banbridge back in EHL as Railway hope for debut spot

Banbridge retained the Irish men’s EY Champions Trophy title and a return to the Euro Hockey League’s next season as they defeated Lisnagarvey in front of their home crowd at Havelock Park.

They survived a big semi-final battle on Saturday to reach the final, defeating YMCA in a shoot-out after normal time ended 0-0.

In the decider, Philip Brown gave Bann an early lead from a corner but Garvey were level by half-time from a corner move of their own, Peter McKibbin scoring from near the baseline.

The winner came in the third quarter with Josh Moffett getting a great touch to a ball fired into the circle, making it 2-1.

And that is how it remained to the final whistle as Luke Roleston made a string of strong corner stops, brilliantly keeping out a low deflection move in the last five minutes.

On the women’s side, Róisín Upton’s penalty stroke one second from time earned Railway Union a spot in Europe as the Irish women’s national winners as they dethroned Loreto with a 1-0 EY Champions Trophy.

Loreto had won the regular season title to earn the other Euro spot with Railway their nearest chasers through the season.

In an extremely close final, it was Railway’s newest addition who got the crucial goal with Upton – who made her debut for the club last month – writing herself quickly into the club’s history books.

They will find out in due course whether this result will be confirmed as bringing them a first Euro Hockey League place.