All-Ireland Schoolboy’s Hockey Championships
Banbridge face a repeat of last year’s cracking semi-final with Wesley College as they topped their pool with a comprehensive win over Ashton in the decisive game. Bann got the better of RBAI while the Cork school had three goals in hand over Sutton Park to set up an all-or-nothing tie.
But Banbridge raced into a 3-0 half-time lead and carried the momentum through to the second half with three more strikes. Sutton succumbed to a late goal to miss out on breaking their duck for the tournament, missing out 2-1 to RBAI.
Pool A: Banbridge Academy 2 RBAI 1; Ashton 3 Sutton Park 0; RBAI 2 Sutton Park 1; Banbridge Academy 6 Ashton 0
Standings: 1. Banbridge Academy 6pts (+14) 2. Ashton 4pts (+1) 3. RBAI 2pts (-4) 4. Sutton Park 0pts (-11)
Midleton proved the surprise package of the All-Ireland schoolboy’s hockey championships, reaching the semi-final stage for the first time as they stunned 2007 champion’s Cookstown HS.
In their Pool B decider, Jason Sweetnam’s 23rd minute goal was the vital factor but the win owed a huge amount to a concerted defensive effort in which the Co Cork side held out 12 penalty corners as Ian Sloan was denied numerous shooting opportunities at the set-piece.
Goalkeeper Brendan Doyle made a string of fine saves while Nick Burns marshalled his troops superbly. Cookstown needed a draw to advance after an earlier 4-2 win over Methody, ending the Belfast school’s chances of progressing.
Kilkenny fell to two defeats,4-0 against Midleton and a second 3-2 setback of the tournament against MCB.
Pool B: Cookstown HS 4 MCB 2; Midleton 4 Kilkenny College 0; Midleton 1 Cookstown HS 0; MCB 3 Kilkenny College 2
Standings: 1. Midleton 5pts (+5) 2. Cookstown HS 4pts (+2) 3. MCB 3pts (-1) 4. Kilkenny College 0pts (-6)
St Andrew’s endured a nervy closing 20 minutes but hopes of winning back the title remain alive as they got the draw they needed from their final group game against Friends HS.
Their 7-0 success over borough rivals Newpark meant they had the edge on Friends by two goals and they looked well set to take their place in the playoffs comfortably as David Cole’s stroke and a corner drag-flick made it 2-0 with a little over 20 minutes remaining.
But two goals in quick succession pegged them back and made for a lively, end-to-end final quarter as both sides had chances to nick the points but neither nabbed a scoring touch, meaning Andrew’s advanced to play Midleton. Newpark ended their comeback tournament with a decent point against 2009 finalists Wallace.
Pool C: St Andrew’s 7 Newpark Comp 0; Friends HS 2 Wallace HS 0; St Andrew’s 2 Friends HS 2; Wallace HS 1 Newpark Comp 1
Standings: 1. St Andrew’s 5pts (+8) 2. Friends HS 5pts (+6) 3. Wallace HS 1pt (-3) 4. Newpark Comp 1pt (-11)
Free-scoring Wesley returned to the final four with a pair of five goals wins. They started with a crucial 5-2 success over Sullivan – the other winners on day one. Shane Madeley added a hat-trick to go with his double against Bandon.
They led 3-0 before Josh Woodrow pulled one back. Madeley’s second was countered by Matthew McCord before, despite a bout of cramp, the Wesley front-man scored a drag-flick.
It meant only a comprehensive loss to Campbell could upset the applecart but it never materialised as they ran out 5-1 winners in front of a big home crowd.
Pool D: Wesley College 5 Sullivan Upper 2; Campbell College 4 Bandon GS 0; Wesley College 5 Campbell College 1; Sullivan Upper 4 Bandon GS 1
Standings: 1. Wesley College 6pts (+11) 2. Sullivan Upper 4pts (+4) 3. Campbell College 2pts (-4) 4. Bandon GS 0pts (-11)
Friday’s fixtures, today (all in Wesley College, Ballinteer):
Semi-finals (both at 9.30pm): Midleton vs St Andrew’s, 9.30am; Wesley vs Banbridge