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Old rivals meet up for final shootout

Banbridge Academy are hoping they can break Cookstown High's stranglehold on schools' hockey when the arch rivals meet in this afternoon's Ulster Bank Burney Cup final at Lisnagarvey (2.30pm).

The Tyrone school has been the dominant force over the past few years, with successes in the Burney Cup, the McCullough Cup and the all-Ireland schools' championships.

Before that it was Banbridge who led the way, with three successive Burney triumphs, and before that RBAI was the school to beat, with numerous successes at all levels.

But it's Cookstown now in the forefront, and as holders, they go into today's decider as favourites.

But Bann coach Mark Cordner knows his lads won't be throwing in the towel easily.

They've had a good run in the competition, and indeed cracked in five goals against Kilkeel High in the semi-finals, with Richard Magowan on the mark twice and Matthew Gray, Matthew Knox and Scott Forbes also on the scoresheet.

Cookstown were even more impressive in the semis, with a 7-1 success over Sullivan Upper, with their goals coming from Ian Sloan (2), Stuart Smyth (2), Keith Harkness, Mark Crooks and skipper David Ames.

With a handful of their players already featuring in the town's senior club, and already with Kirk Cup and Premier League medals safely in their possession, it's not hard to see why the Tyrone lads are going in as favourites.

Belfast Telegraph

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