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Big two Wallace and Banbridge set to battle for McCullough cup

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High achiever: Matthew Nelson scores for Wallace High School
in their win over Sullivan Upper yesterday

High achiever: Matthew Nelson scores for Wallace High School in their win over Sullivan Upper yesterday

High achiever: Matthew Nelson scores for Wallace High School in their win over Sullivan Upper yesterday

Ulster schoolboy hockey's Big Two, Wallace High and Banbridge Academy, will battle it out for the McCullough Cup next Wednesday at Lisnagarvey.

The duo swept aside their semi-final opposition yesterday afternoon in front of a sizeable crowd at the Hillsborough venue, effectively having their games sewn up by the interval, with the Academy beating Regent House 5-2 and Wallace beating Sullivan Upper 6-1.

The final will be a repeat of last season's Burney Cup final and this season's All-Ireland schools semi-final ... both of which Wallace won.

And as they are already the McCullough Cup holders, having beaten Friends in last season's decider, it means they will go into Wednesday's game as slight favourites.

First up in yesterday's double-header semis were Banbridge and Regent, and Academy skipper Johnny McKee gave a polished performance, scoring two and setting up another as they raced into a five goal half-time lead.

Regent regrouped for the second half and scored twice but the scoreline reflected Banbridge's overall dominance.

McKee opened the scoring after four minutes, David Armstrong made it two 10 minutes later and then McKee got the third as well as setting up Sam Farson for the fourth.

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Peter McKnight made it five and Regent were glad of the half-time hooter to sort things out for the second period.

And sort it out they did, with Rowan Poots converting a penalty corner to begin the fightback for the Newtownards school and Toby Flynn added a second.

But the Academy always seemed to have something in reserve, although they did fail to add to their tally in the second half, but the job was done.

The second semi saw Wallace skipper Sean Murray pull the strings in midfield for the Lisburn school and he scored twice as they galloped into a 4-1 interval lead.

It took Scott McCabe just 52 seconds to open the scoring and although John Matchett levelled for Sullivan within eight minutes, Wallace skipper Sean Murray immediately replied to restore their lead.

Murray added his second shortly after and then Matthew Nelson also got on the mark just before the half-time break.

Sullivan gave a better showing in the second half but two goals in a minute killed off any chances of a revival.

Nelson got his second and then Andrew O'Hare got Wallace's sixth almost immediately.

Next Wednesday's final will have a 2pm start at Lisnagarvey.


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