Wallace to meet Sullivan Upper in Ulster’s Burney Cup final

Wallace High kept on course for a rare Ulster schoolboy hockey double success on Wednesday when they defeated Banbridge Academy 4-1 at Lisnagarvey to book their place in the John Minnis Estate Agents Burney Cup final, writes John Flack.

The Lisburn school will meet Sullivan Upper in the 99th Burney decider at Stormont on March 28 after they comfortably beat Methodist College 4-0 in the first semi final at Comber Road.

For the Holywood outfit it will be an opportunity to avenge their McCullough Cup final loss while Wallace will be aiming to achieve the double by winning schoolboy hockey’s two most prestigious trophies in the same season.

Wallace coach Gareth Kidd said: “We are obviously delighted to win the game, especially against opponents who we respect so much.”

“We started the game really well, on the front foot and fully deserved our early lead. Some sloppy play in the lead up to their penalty corner and poor defending of the corner itself let Banbridge into the game and it was a relief we tucked away that corner just before half time which settled the nerves a little.

“I thought that Banbridge were excellent for large periods of the second half but we defended with real guts and determination and had a goalkeeper, who made three superb saves.

“As they chased the game we had opportunities on the break at the far end. We produced the goods from a penalty corner again and then we sealed it right at the end with a cool finish.

“We were involved in the first final to be played under floodlights in 2017 and look forward to renewing our rivalry with Sullivan in two weeks time.

“It should be a cracking game and I would encourage the wider Ulster Hockey public to get out and watch two good teams going head to head.”

The second semi was a much tighter affair than the game which preceded it and it took a string of excellent saves from Ben Cooke to prevent Banbridge from equalising at 2-1 down in the second half.

Troy Chambers gave Wallace a dream start when he scored from a corner after only six minutes but Philip Campbell levelled matters 15 minutes later following an Edward Roe set-piece.

Two minutes before the break, Wallace captain Johnny Lynch made it 2-1 from a penalty corner drag flick. Cooke pulled off a series of fine stops after the interval, notably from Bann’s set-piece dangerman Rowe as they pressed hard for an equaliser.

But Troy Chambers got the insurance goal with nine minutes left, from a well executed penalty corner drag flick and Thomas Cherry put the icing on the cake in the dying moments with number four.

In the first semi, Sullivan led 1-0 at the break and added three more goals after the restart, much to the delight of coach Paul Osborne.

“Very pleased with performance and I felt we controlled the game well,” he said. “Methody were dangerous opponents but we handled the game and the pressure very well.”

Isaac Hart’s first half goal, when he converted a cross at the far post from a Tom McClelland cross set Sullivan on their way. Then within two minutes of the resumption, Matthew Willis fired in a penalty corner rebound to double the lead.

Matthew Morris with a deflection from a Paddy Crookshanks corner and Harry Yarr, after great work by Patrick Rose, added further goals to seal the win as lighting struck twice for Methody, who had also lost to Sullivan in the McCullough Cup semi earlier in the season.

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