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Burney Cup: Ryan Getty finishes his Wallace career on High

By Graham Hamilton

What a way to wrap up your seven-year hockey career at Wallace High - by scoring the winning goal in a cup final with what was literally the last time you touch the ball wearing school colours.

Take a bow Ryan Getty, whose man of the match performance made sure the prestigious Burney Cup would remain at the Lisburn school for another year.

Picture the scene... the Big Two from Ulster schoolboy hockey were locked at 2-2 in an absorbing final and as the clock wound down, it seemed certain that Wallace and Banbridge Academy would end up going into extra time, just as they did in last year's decider.

But then Matthew Nelson latched onto the ball down the left and a little piece of wizardry saw him reach the byline and pull the ball back for team-mate Getty to dive in and deflect home the winner with just 27 seconds remaining.

It was a devastating end for Banbridge as there was no time left to put things right, and so their hopes of a McCullough Cup and Burney Cup double were dashed.

But it was sheer joy for Getty, who also landed the man of the match award.

The ginger-haired midfielder scored Wallace's first goal as well as that dramatic last-gasp winner and in between, his forceful runs were a constant threat to the Banbridge defence.

It could have been so much different, for Banbridge came bursting out of the blocks to win a penalty corner in the first minute which Jake Rowe put away in style.

But Wallace refused to roll over and within 17 minutes they had things turned around and were winning 2-1.

Getty got his first, crashing the ball in off the crossbar from second phase play after a penalty corner, and then Andrew O'Hare met Craig Getty's cross to fire in the second to get the four-figure crowd buzzing.

But the Academy hit back and levelled matters with a fine Johnny McKee penalty corner conversion, and then Jacob Hermon saw a snap shot flash over the crossbar at the other end.

The second half saw Academy goalkeeper Luke Roleston play a key role - he pulled off five crucial saves to keep his team in the game, pushing Ryan Getty all the way for the man of the match award.

First he denied Wallace skipper Sean Murray, then came a remarkable double-save from Matthew Nelson, followed by a reaction save from Ryan Getty before he blocked a penalty corner rebound from Murray.

That sounds like it was all Wallace, but Bann remained dangerous and David Armstrong brought the best out of keeper Jordan McCartney.

With so much at stake, and time running out, the game became more frenzied and the umpires had to dish out a few green and a few yellow cards.

But just as the crowd began counting down the clock towards extra time, Ryan Getty got himself in the right place to meet Matthew Nelson's byline cross with merely seconds left, and that signalled the start of the Wallace celebrations.

Banbridge captain McKee was naturally gutted but still feels it has been a good season for the Academy.

"It's so disappointing to lose with a goal so late in the game, and miss out on winning the trophy in my final year," he admitted.

There were no regrets from Ryan Getty, though, as Wallace fans chanted his name during the presentations.

"A great way to end my school hockey career," he said. "This was my last game for the school, and I scored the winner with my last touch - incredible.

"And to get my hands on the trophy and also be named as man of the match makes it all the more memorable."

Yes, it may be the end of his school hockey career, but don't be surprised if we hear a lot more about him in the future.

WALLACE HIGH: J McCartney, T McRoberts, M McNellis, J Taggart, A O'Hare, S Murray, D Arneill, S McCabe, R Getty, M Nelson, C Getty. Subs: P Hunter, B Nelson, C Patterson, J Hermon, R McCracken J Ritchie.

BANBRIDGE ACADEMY: L Roleston, A Reid, D Armstrong, S Farson, D Cowan, B Knox, , J McKee, M Hurst, T Watt, Jake Rowe, John Rowe. Subs: S Green, R Scott, P McKnight, C Norris, A Bennington, A Adair.

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