Andrew’s fight back to secure Banbridge showdown

Subway All-Ireland Schoolboys Championships – semi-finals
St Andrew’s 2 (B Walker 2) Wallace HS 1 (B Nelson)
Wesley College 1 (G Gibney) Banbridge Academy 2 (J Rowe, H Lockhart)

Ben Walker’s spectacular double saw St Andrew’s come back from a goal down to beat Wallace HS and take up a place in the Subway All-Ireland Schoolboys Championship final against Banbridge Academy.

The final, though, has been moved to Newpark at 2.30pm due to a sprinkler issue at Grange Road which means that neither pitch can be watered.

On the field, the Booterstown school trailed at the break in their semi-final as Wallace capitalised on a defensive slip that left them with a two-on-one which was calmly dispatched by Ben Nelson.

The Ulster side were in the ascendancy for much of the first half with Jacob Hermon causing problems down the right flank with Scott McCabe pulling the strings.

St Andrew's fought back to beat Wallace HS 2-1. Pic: Adrian Boehm

St Andrew’s fought back to beat Wallace HS 2-1. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Half-time, however, brought a sea change with Andrew’s deploying Guy Sarratt further up the pitch and it paid dividends. Walker got his side back on terms with a piece of class, stealing the ball 30 metres out from goal, weaving through two tackles and slipping the ball home on the slide.

Wallace keeper James Ritchie produced a series of good stops as Andrew’s attacked in waves. The Dubliners, though, always looked the more likely to grab the victory and Walker grabbed it in the final quarter when Harry Craig played him in from the left.

Banbridge, meanwhile, kept alive their title retention hopes with a 2-1 win over Wesley College, withstanding something of a barrage to get over the line.

Jake Rowe continued his powerful drag-flicking form to give Bann an early lead and they went 2-0 ahead when Harry Lockhart’s shot from a narrow angle squeezed home.

Wesley were on top in the second half and got one back via Gavin Gibney’s corner. They had an equaliser ruled out for a back stick in the build-up while Gibney went inches from forcing a shoot-out in the closing minute on the backhand.

For Bann, their discipline in defending the circle – with Kyle Marshall obviously to the fore – meant, after the dramatics of staying in the competition on Thursday, they are still clinging on to the title into one last game.

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