Andrew Canning’s supremely cool finish saw High School finally end their wait for a Junior A boys league title as he slotted home for 2-1 against St Andrew’s to win their final in Ballinteer on Wednesday.
It completed a thrilling comeback for the Rathgar outfit after they had fallen behind in the 17th minute. Josh Filgas was the man to put Andrew’s in front, hoovering up a rebound after Stephen McCann’s initial shot was brilliantly saved by the outside of Ben Cripps’ diving boot.
High School had bossed the first 10 minutes before Andrew’s began to turn the screw with the energy of Riain McDonald and the composure of Cian Murphy and Jamie Pullen making a big impact while Charlie Denvir buzzed up front.
High School, though, have star quality and began to knock on the door as time wore on. The towering Harry Lynch, a crucial player throughout, drifted passed a couple of sticks before slamming a shot onto the outside of the post.
Ali Empey’s powerful pass drew a touch from Calum Adair that was well saved while Evan Jennings went close with the rebound.
And it was Lynch’s drag-flick that ricocheted off the Andrew’s goalkeeper and onto a foot on the line, leading to a penalty stroke. Ali Empey converted to level with eight minutes to go, and send the game to extra time.
There, High School again had the big chances as Evan Jennings’ jinking run went close before Lynch won another penalty corner with some very sharp close skills right at the death. Switched right to Canning, he took his time before sealing the deal.
It has been a very strong season already for High School who also reached the Senior A league final but were undone on strokes after an incredible shoot-out.
Andrew’s had taken a 2-0 lead in the final only for High School to bounce back to score the next three goals to swap the lead. But Guy Sarratt popped up with an equaliser from a corner in the last two minutes to send the game to extra time and strokes.
With the scores level at 3-3 after the first round of strokes, it went to sudden death. Following a St Andrew’s miss, Ben Bradley produced a save to keep the competition going and, on the next stroke produced the save which saw St Andrew’s prevail 11-10 on strokes.
At senior B level, Cameron Ruttle’s pair of goals saw Wesley College’s second team claim the silverware at the expense of near neighbours St Columba’s College in their league final last week.
The Whitechurch side took the lead early on when Eckart Geyer, a German exchange student who has been in Ireland for two years, fired home a powerful drag-flick.
But Ruttle got the Ballinteer boys back on terms when he managed to squeeze home a speculative shot from close to the baseline to get his side back on terms.
Gavin Quill swapped the lead around with Wesley’s second goal and, moments later, Ruttle popped up with his second of the game. Sam Couper got one back for Columba’s Wesley held on for the victory and the silverware.
It adds to a productive league season for the Ballinteer school. They also won the Leinster Minor A boys league title with a 3-0 win in the final ahead of St Kilian’s. For Kilian’s, it was their very first time reaching an A final of any description and marked a famous occasion for the school despite the result.
At Under-13 level, St Andrew’s won the title 2-1 with Kilian’s landing the B crown while Sandford Park won the Minor C final on strokes ahead of Dundalk GS who made their return to Leinster league action this year.
Schoolboys’ League finals
Senior A: St Andrew’s 3 (D O’Donovan, J Little, G Sarratt) High School 3, St Andrew’s won 11-10 on strokes
Senior B final: Wesley College B 3 (C Ruttle 2, G Quill) St Columba’s 2 (E Geyer, S Couper)
Junior A final: High School 2 (A Empey, A Canning) St Andrew’s 1 (J Filgas), after extra time
Minor A final: Wesley College 3 St Kilian’s 0
Minor C final: Sandford Park beat Dundalk GS on strokes
Under-13 A final: St Andrew’s 2 Wesley College 1
Under-13 B final: St Kilian’s 5 King’s Hospital 1