Leinster Schoolboy’s Senior Trophy final: Sutton Park 3 (H Spain, K O’Hare, J Spain) St Columba’s 2 (T Gibbs, R Canning)
Jack Spain’s strike two minutes from time handed Sutton Park their first ever senior schoolboy’s hockey title as they claimed the Senior Trophy in dramatic fashion at Belfield while twin brother Harry picked up the man of the match award.
It finally ended the feisty resistance of St Columba’s who shipped plenty of pressure and survived the sin-binnings of Harry Morris and star man Ross Canning but were eventually stung on the break when they began to have the ascendancy for the first time.
It was all Sutton to begin with, three corners inside five minutes setting the tone with the third being brilliantly picked off the line by the lively Patrick Tice, keeping out Harry Spain’s strike.
Zach Holmes’ steal played in Max Dozier who drew the best from Robbie Hollis while Harry Morris’ sin-binning did not help matters for Columba’s.
They rode out that five minute period as flying winger Luke Byrne guided just wide and Spain’s next drag was pushed onto the post by Hollis before Rob Nolan eventually cleared.
It was an onslaught for Ross Canning’s defence but they kept their nerve and plucked a smash and grab a lead-goal in the 28th minute when Tice took a quick auto-pass. His left-sided ball into the circle took a near post touch and with the next intervention, Thomas Gibbs redirected with a degree of style.
It was an advantage which was wiped out inside two minutes by Harry Spain’s drag-flick. And Keith O’Hare’s goal switched the lead in jig-time, making it 2-1 at the interval to the north Dublin team.
Shane Graham set the move in motion with a steal off a centre-back and found the poaching O’Hare in the right place to sweep through Hollis’ defences.
Two more Sutton Park corners in the second half were kept out before Columba’s again made good use of their attacks. They earned a first penalty corner in the 43rd minute and while the preliminaries were not ideal, Canning pulled the ball left and powerfully pushed low into the left corner, with a helping hand of a defensive deflection.
Byrne’s probing down the right-wing, supported by Killian Flood, was causing plenty of dangerous moments but Hollis used his gloves on a couple of occasion to keep it level.
And the Rathfarnham school appeared to be finishing stronger with Jasper Pickersgill unorthodox methods almost guided him to glory, rounding Tom Fee but Sutton’s defence recovered to block.
Canning was the second player to be binned, this time for taking a ball over his shoulder. Again, it was a period negotiated without incident and Columba’s looked slightly the more likely to score.
With extra-time looming, however, Byrne found Jack Spain raiding and he neatly switched the ball onto his reverse and, on the run, rolled past the impressive Hollis.
The two finalists, by dint of their runs to this final, qualified for the Senior Cup proper. Columba’s go on to face St Andrew’s in the semi-finals on Friday afternoon but Sutton’s run has come to an end, losing out to Wesley recently.
But their growth on the Leinster hockey scene continues apace as they back up 2009’s U-13 win – their first ever cup success – with this Trophy.
St Columba’s: R Hollis, A Johnson, P Tice, H Morris, T Gibbs, A von Bismarck, J Armstrong, H Brooke, R Nolan, E O’Conor, J Pickersgill, J Cherry, C McCooey, J Boyd, F Morris
Sutton Park: T Fee, C McGreer, G Guerin, K Flood, G O’Brien, D Bergin, K O’Sullivan, J Spain, H Spain, Z Holmes, K O’Hare, S Graham, M Dozier, A Tyrell, L Byrne, A Fee