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Burney Cup: Banbridge Academy talisman Jake Rowe ready to tee up cup double in Sullivan Upper clash

Sullivan also chasing second trophy

By Graham Hamilton

Banbridge Academy talisman Jake Rowe is ready to swing into action for this afternoon's Burney Cup final against Sullivan Upper at Lisnagarvey (2.30pm).

Rowe, who scored a hat-trick for the Academy as they won the All-Ireland schools' championship over Halloween, was an absentee during their Burney semi-final success over RBAI last week due to a different kind of swing.

The influential Irish U18 star wasn't able to take his usual place in the line-up as he was over in Spain with Tandragee Golf Club's Fred Daly Junior squad, although it didn't prove a handicap for the Academy who chalked up a 3-0 win over Inst in the Sinton's At The Bridge sponsored competition.

Academy coach Mark Cordner said: "We knew Jake was going to be unavailable for the semi-final but having cleared that hurdle without him, he's now fit and ready to take his place in the decider.

"That will give us another option as we bid to make it an All-Ireland and Burney double."

Sullivan, of course, are chasing a double of their own, having won the McCullough Cup just before Christmas.

Sullivan coach Andy Williamson noted: "Our semi-final win over Friends keeps us on track for a possible trophy double.

"Unfortunately we'll still be without one of our main players, Callum Robson, who is out injured. And we know we have to improve on that semi-final performance."

Sullivan have a few key players and if they hit top form, there is every chance of success. These include skipper Matthew Crookshanks, vice-captains Adam McAllister and Paul McDonnell, striker John Matchett, Fergus Gibson and Callum Carson.

They also have the Morris twins Harry and Matthew, who have a good hockey pedigree - their dad is former Lisnagarvey, Ulster and Ireland defender Ivan.

"Ivan won NINE Irish Senior Cup medals during his career," added Williamson.

"Hopefully his sons will start their careers with a Burney Cup medal!"

Banbridge, though, have a wonderful record in the competition in recent years and are keen to add to those successes.

Apart from Rowe, they have potential match-winners in Kyle Marshall, who scored twice in the semi-final win over RBAI, Peter McKnight and James Anderson, who are following the father and son tradition in the sport, and a top goalkeeper in Luke Roleston.

In all, the Academy have reached 13 of the last 14 Burney deciders and now top the table in the number of finals any school has reached in the competition's 97-year history, with 29.

They did lose the last two but three years ago they beat Sullivan to collect the trophy, and are keen for a repeat.

The Academy have no survivors from that 2013 final but McAllister, McDonnell and Matchett were all part of the Holywood school's line-up that day - and the trio are determined not to end up on the losing side again.

THE Ulster Premier League's title and relegation issues could be sorted on Saturday.

Leaders Instonians need just a point to clinch the championship crown, although the trip to Raphoe, who are chasing a play-off place, is never easy.

And if bottom club North Down repeat their recent win over third-bottom Newry, they would move level with the border men on 12 points with one game to play.

South Antrim, however, would be automatically relegated having already completed their programme on 11 points.

Burney Cup Final: Lisnagarvey, 2.30 pm

Banbridge Ac

Sullivan Upp

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