St Andrew’s picked up their third Minor title with a thrilling extra-time win over reigning champions Wesley College at Grange Road thanks to Ben Campbell’s fortuitous strike with three minutes to go of time added on.
Campbell had been an immense presence since being sprung from the bench early in the first half and showed great persistence to chase down a rebound off Alan Browne’s pads. There looked little on, though, as he lined up his pull-back from the baseline but a reaching Wesley stick got a touch to agonisingly send Browne the wrong way for the decisive goal.
It was a cruel way to decide a high quality game between two evenly-matched sides – coached by top class internationals Tim Lewis (St Andrew’s) Mitch Darling and Andy McConnell (Wesley).
The Ballinteer school made the first clear-cut opening as Ian Stewart slid the ball past Hugh Mitchell but Mark Loughrey showed remarkable composure to take the ball off the line and pass the ball to safety.
And his team profited soon after when Lee Cole roofed a drag-flick. Jonathon Roberts cracked an equaliser from a set-piece in the 18th minute but Andrew’s had the slight ascendancy. Campbell won a pair of corners from his direct running while Cole’s reverse was well-saved and the rebound fell just beyond Eric Foy’s reach.
Wesley, though, appeared rejuvenated after the break. Luke Madeley won a corner inside a minute of the turnaround before Scott Dagg’s first time half-volley needed to well dealt with by Micthell. They finally got their reward when Alan Oglesby was on hand from close-range in the 40th minute to dig the ball in.
The Saints were far from done, however. Cole’s reverse was solidly blocked before Browne was called on to remarkably pick Jamie Bourne’s thundering shot out of the air with his stick.
But two minutes from the end, their defence was finally breached when an initially awarded penalty corner was upgraded to a stroke after consultation between the umpires.
Cole held his nerve to convert and extra-time was needed. Both sides produced half-chances before Campbell’s effort nipped in at the near post for the decisive moment.
It overturned the two sides U-13 result last year when Wesley took the tie in time added on, leaving Lee Cole to step up and collect the Patterson Trophy from Leinster Branch President David Judge – who played in the minor final for the Avoca school (now Newpark) exactly 60 years ago.
St Andrew’s: Hugh Mitchell, Andrew Browne, Mark Loughrey, Ryan Hohn, Cillian Hynes, Alex Service, Lee Cole (captain), Tim Duffy, Nick Geoghegan, Jamie Bourne, Eric Foy Subs: Matteo Crowley, Scott McDonald, Adam Swift, Eoin Buttonshaw, Ben Campbell
Wesley: Alan Browne, David Wynn, Ben Chadwick, Neil Pelow, Luke Madeley, Aaron Copeland, Jonny Dalrymple, Jonathon Roberts, Ian Stewart, Alan Oglesby, Scott Dagg Subs: Daniel Hunt, Dylan Shirley, Jonathon Nicoll, Daniel Kelly
* For pictures of the Minor final, click here