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Cup double the fitting finale to school life for man of match Wilson

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Jack of all trades: Man of the match Jack Wilson drives Wallace forward against Banbridge

Jack of all trades: Man of the match Jack Wilson drives Wallace forward against Banbridge

Jack of all trades: Man of the match Jack Wilson drives Wallace forward against Banbridge

One player in particular epitomised Wallace High's never-say-die spirit in the Burney Cup final and that was man of the match Jack Wilson.

The striker not only covered more ground than anyone else as the Lisburn school beat holders Banbridge Academy after penalty strokes but he also set up the first goal, scored a superb second, tortured the Bann defence throughout with his speed and skill, and was first up to convert his penalty stroke in the shoot-out.

"I wasn't too worried when we went behind, because we have come through similar situations earlier in the competition," he said afterwards.

"We trailed Campbell College in the quarter-finals before winning 6-3 and we trailed Friends School in the semi-finals before winning 5-2, so I felt we could do it again.

"It was a case of trusting the preparations from our coaches and, although it went the full distance, we achieved the Burney and McCullough double ... a great finish in my last year at school."

Wallace captain Ross Kelly is another in his last year and, indeed, that goes for almost half the squad.

"There are six or seven of us in our final year, so to win the double is a fitting end," he reflected.

"It was a super game and must have been good for the spectators. In the end it was our momentum that carried us through.

"We were trailing and were pushing hard and it was a really nervy final five minutes before we finally got that last-gasp goal to take the game into extra time and then penalty strokes."

Wallace coach Errol Lutton was well pleased with the win and the second time in less than 24 hours that he had claimed silverware.

Errol is also the Lisnagarvey coach and the Blues clinched the Ulster Premier League title at Raphoe on Tuesday evening with a 7-0 win that saw them break the 100 goal barrier in the league.

Next up for him is Saturday's Irish Hockey League pool game against Cookstown when a win would book a semi-final place and complete a memorable five days.

But, while Wallace celebrated on the pitch, there was big disappointment for the Banbridge Academy players who had missed out on what would have been a tremendous five-in-a-row success.

It's not much consolation, but there's little doubt they contributed greatly to one of the best Burney finals in many years.

"It was a great game and very close," admitted Academy captain Johnny McKee afterwards, "but so disappointing to have conceded that goal right at the end when it seemed we had done enough.

"But for many of us, there is another chance to win it next year."

Belfast Telegraph


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