Wesley retained the Leinster schoolboys senior A league as they got the best of a late flurry of goals at Whitechurch Park, getting the best of St Andrew’s College 2-1 in Wednesday’s final.
The Ballinteer school started the brighter of the two teams with a number of circle entries without really testing the Andrew’s keeper.
After the frantic start, both teams settled down. Wes did have a goalmouth scramble cleared off the from a Jack Smalley shot line and then, moments later, Sam Walker was put through on goal but Chris Bailey, the Wesley keeper, came out and sharply dealt with the chance.
In reality, it was a typical league final first half with few chances and both sides looking to finf their way into the game.
The second half kicked off with Wesley applying pressure via a zonal press higher up the pitch which created a glorious chance for Fionn Marriott. He intercepted and then ran the baseline before squaring to Ben Cullen on the back post but he uncharacteristically volleyed wide.
The two sides then exchanged corners with Wesley missing the target while Andrew’s effort ended in a goalmouth scramble that somehow squirmed wide.
What followed was a brilliant two minutes of play that saw Wesley score twice. First, Cullen and Tom Power’s neat interplay on the left baseline saw the former’s shot deflected home by Craig Mackay.
Directly from tip-off, Wesley turned over the centre backs which ended with Power hammering home a volley to make it 2-0 with five minutes to go.
St Andrews responded well and threw numbers forward with numerous overlaps and wave after wave of attacks. They broke through via Ryan Spencer with a fine forehand strike, making for an epic closing two minutes but Wesley played it smart to slow things down and kill off the game with possession in the corner.
Andrew’s did come away with silverware from the day when they beat St Kilian’s 3-0 to the B league title, Ben Kelly, Chris Knatchbull and Charlie Byrne scoring the goals. The two sides will meet again in the first round of the Senior Cup.
High School, meanwhile, won the A league’s third place playoff with a 4-1 success against King’s Hospital. Evan Jennings netted two with Harry Lynch and Joe Murphy getting the others to ensure a ticket to next season’s All-Ireland Schoolboys championships.
Senior A League final: Wesley College 2 (C Mackay, T Power) St Andrew’s College 1 (R Spencer)
Senior B League final: St Andrew’s B 3 (B Kelly, C Knatchbull, C Byrne) St Kilian’s 0
Senior A – third place playoff: High School 4 (E Jennings 2, H Lynch, J Murphy) King’s Hospital 1
Senior Cup, quarter-final draw: Wesley v Kilkenny; High School v Newpark; St Andrew’s A v King’s Hospital; St Andrew’s B v St Kilian’s
Senior Trophy, quarter-final draw: East Glendalough v High School B; Temple Carrig v Sutton Park; Sandford Park v Wesley B; Mount Temple v St Columba’s