Brilliant Bradley save completes perfect quadruple season for St Andrew’s

Leinster Boys Senior Cup final
St Andrew’s 2 (J Guilfoyle, G Sarratt) Wesley College 2 (A Sykes, M Samuel), St Andrew’s win 6-5 on strokes

Ben Bradley’s brilliant diving save saw St Andrew’s eventually prevail to complete an amazing schoolboy quadruple as they beat Wesley 6-5 in a shoot-out after an arm-wrestle in normal time ended 2-2.

He guessed correctly in the sudden death shoot-out to deny Jack O’Grady, adding the Leinster Senior Cup to the All-Ireland title won last October and the league won in February as well as the Whiteside Trophy.

Twice Wesley had led; twice they saw goals disallowed but twice, crucially, Andrew’s replied in kind to give themselves their chance at glory.

Early on, Wes went in front via the unlikely source of left-back Andrew Sykes. He was in the perfect position to simply finish after Sam Hyland’s initial strike was saved by Bradley but then returned with interest to the back post.

Andrew’s barely let that lead settle, levelling in the ninth minute via John Guilfoyle. It was a gorgeous move as Ben Walker – who last week was playing for the Irish senior team at the World League Round 2 in Stormont – took in Guy Sarratt’s overhead before crossing from the left.

Ben Bradley makes the winning save. Pic: Rob Micallef

David Shanahan’s touch took the ball away from goalkeeper Michael Herlihy and Guilfoyle slammed home. From there, the game was cat and mouse, Wesley swapping between a high press and a half-court version and looking to counter. Andrew’s were not as fluid but held more of the ball as they probed for openings.

Wesley looked to have gone back in front a minute into the second half when Gavin Quill was set free down the left wing. His backhand cross made it to O’Grady who slid in but was adjudged to have used his body in the process to see the effort disallowed.

They did retake their lead from their third penalty corner as Mark Samuel dove onto the end of a low Gavin Gibney push to flip the ball over Bradley for 2-1. Again, the reply was immediate with Andrew’s winning their first corner which saw Sarratt shoot.

Herlihy blocked it well but the follow-up saw Sarratt felled five metres out from goal and a penalty stroke was awarded.

St Andrew’s celebrate their success. Pic: Rob Micallef

Sarratt dried himself off to score his first of three from the spot on the day. Back at 2-2, Wesley created a couple more openings the pick of which fell to Iain Patterson which he rifled into the roof of the net after a brief hesitation.

It was disallowed, once again, for a foot after a consultation between the two umpires. That left it at 2-2 and it remain unchanged through extra time, the pick of the chances an Andrew’s corner that Herlihy saved well.

That led to the shoot-out where the first five strokes each were all converted. Sarratt netted his third from the spot in the first round of sudden death, giving Bradley the moment to dive, save and celebrate, mobbed by his team and, latterly, the fans from the stands.

Earlier, Wesley College claimed the Leinster Minor Cup title with a composed 2-0 win over Kilkenny College at an icy cold Grange Road on Wednesday.

The side – coached by Olympian Kirk Shimmins – took the lead with ten minutes to go in the first half when Ben Cullen popped up with the finish. Gavin Herlihy then chipped in with the second soon after the break to put them in an unassailable position.

For Kilkenny, it came during a busy week of finals as they nailed down the South East Senior Boys Cup with a shoot-out win against Waterford’s Newtown, a new competition organised by Roger Johnson.

Normal time had ended 1-1 with Max Neill scoring the goal for the cats before they prevailed 4-2 in on penalty strokes.

In the Senior Trophy, High School won out 2-0 against Mount Temple with Jake Pillow scoring in the first half and Peter Lynch grabbing the insurance goal after the break.

St Andrew’s: B Bradley, E Goode, G Sarratt, I Cooke, H Craig, J Guilfoyle, B Walker, M Romoli, B Mannion, J Little, D Shanahan
Subs: C Murphy, C Denvir, G Arrowsmith, S Byrne, R McDonald

Wesley: M Herlihy, A Sykes, H MacMahon, T McLoughlin, M Walker, D Mawhinney, S Hyland, M Samuel, R McCollum, G Gibney, G Quill
Subs: J O’Grady, S Ryder, D Ellison, I Patterson, C Ruttle

Leinster Boys Senior Cup final: St Andrew’s 2 (J Guilfoyle, G Sarratt) Wesley College 2 (A Sykes, M Samuel), St Andrew’s win 6-5 on strokes
Minor Cup final: Wesley College 2 (B Cullen, G Herlihy) Kilkenny College 0
Senior Trophy final: High School 2 (J Pillow, P Lynch) Mount Temple 0

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