Wesley and St Andrew’s returned to the semi-finals of the All-Ireland Schoolboys Championships as they got the wins they needed against Ashton and Friends, respectively.
It means the Ballinteer boys will face Ian Sloan and his Cookstown HS team mates in the final four early on Friday morning while the Andrew’s play Banbridge Academy in a repeat of the 2010 final.
Their progression was far from comfortable, though. Ashton lost the cutting edge which marked their 6-1 morning win over Sullivan Upper and let slip seven penalty corner chances. Ian Stewart, meanwhile, snapped up the chances which came his way, netting in the first minute of the tie and got an insurance goal later on to punish the Blackrock Road school’s profligacy.
It leaves Conor Motyer and Kyle Good in a decent position to add a coaching All-Ireland title to the playing crown they earned a couple of years ago when they co-captained the side. They are part of the Wesley set-up along with Brian Delany.
Andrew’s corner prowess helped them through against Friends. Needing just a draw, the first half was tight for the Booterstown side as the Ulster school held more possession and clipped a post and the bar.
After a scoreless first half, though, Andrew’s stepped up as Fiachra Maher twice slid onto disguised David Cole corner flicks, sandwiching a straight Cole drag. Friends did pull one back but Lee Cole’s solo effort capped a solid win, over-turning a 4-3 loss to the same opposition a month ago in a friendly tie.
The Leinster duo join Bann and Cookstown in the final four. The two Ulster sides were virtually assured of progression barring large defeats going into their third group games but both completed wins.
Cookstown almost fell to a huge shock as Keith O’Hare, Jack Spain and Jack Ryan built a 3-1 lead for Sutton Park but a four-star second half saw the Co Tyrone school bounce back in style.
Banbridge played out one of the highest quality ties of the tournament against RBAI. The goal which settled it was of the fortuitous kind as Michael Colussi’s reach shot, rescuing the ball from just before the endline, was going across goal until an unlucky defender could only redirect into the backboard.
This tie was decided by Bann’s late show against Midleton in the morning when Matthew Bell struck with the last touch of the game for a 2-1 win. And the East Cork side were out on their feet but still held out for a 1-1 draw against St Columba’s for whom Ross Canning dragged home his second goal of the competition.
All-Ireland Schoolboys Championships, game three results and final pool standings
Group One: Cookstown 5 Sutton Park 3 (J Spain, J Ryan, K O’Hare); Campbell College 4 (M West 3, J Cox) Newpark 0
Standings: 1. Cookstown 6pts (+12) 2. Campbell College 4pts (-6) 3. Sutton Park 1pt (-3) 4. Newpark 1pt (-11)
Group Two: St Andrew’s 4 (F Maher 2, D Cole, L Cole) Friends 1 (Getty); Bandon 3 Regent House 3
Standings: 1. St Andrew’s 6pts (+12) 2. Friends 4pts (-1) 3. Bandon GS 1pt (-4) 4. Regent House 1pt (-7)
Group Three: Wesley 2 (I Stewart 2) Ashton 0; Wallace vs Sullivan Upper, result TBC
Standings: 1. Wesley 6pts (+5) 2. Ashton 4pts (+7) 3. Wallace 0pts (-4) 4. Sullivan 0pts (-8)
Group Four: Banbridge Academy 1 (M Colussi) RBAI 0; Midleton 1 (N Hodson) St Columba’s 1 (R Canning)
Standings: 1. Banbridge 6pts (+10) 2. Midleton 3pts (0) 3. RBAI 2pts (-1) 4. St Columba’s 1pt (-9)
Semi-final draw (both at 9.30am): St Andrews vs Banbridge Academy; Wesley vs Cookstown HS