In pictures: Oliver Kidd the hat-trick hero as Friends end McCullough Cup drought
Friends' School 3 Wallace High School 0
Oliver Kidd was the star turn in yesterday's McCullough Cup final as his magnificent hat-trick steered Friends' to a well-deserved 3-0 win over Wallace High School at Lisnagarvey.
The recipient of the man of the match award was never in doubt as the Lisburn outfit lifted the famous trophy for the fifth time, bridging a 39-year gap since they last achieved the feat.
Friends' led 1-0 at half-time after dominating proceedings and went on to kill the game off after the restart when the Lisnagarvey player completed his treble.
The Friends' co-captain was delighted at his team's long overdue triumph and he has now set his sights on achieving a schoolboy hockey double, with the Burney Cup next on the agenda.
Kidd said: "To go on and win the Burney would be really nice, but we'll enjoy the celebrations first and then re-focus after Christmas and get stronger and better than ever and get stuck into our preparations.
"Ourselves and Wallace are probably the top two teams in Ulster and there's a good chance we'll meet in the Burney (final), but we'll back ourselves.
"I was delighted personally with the individual award but it was a really, really strong team performance from all the boys.
"The lads really stepped up after we had a few disappointing results last year but we put in a lot of hard work during pre-season and we got our reward.
"The game plan was to get the ball and move it and don't over carry, do the basic things well and, if we were able to do that, we'd be okay, and that is how it turned out. We have a lot of super players in the group and we knew if we got our basics right, we would have a chance."
Rory Brown, who shares the captaincy duties with Kidd, echoed his sentiments as Friends' ended their lengthy barren spell.
He said: "It was always going to be tough, especially with it being a local derby - and credit to Wallace, they put up a great fight - but we scored three great goals and you have to be clinical in finals, which is what we were."
Wallace coach Gareth Kidd was magnanimous in defeat as he paid tribute to Friends', having steered his own team to the coveted McCullough-Burney double last season.
He said: "It was a tough day at the office and we always knew it was going to be. They have got some serious operators and I thought Ollie Kidd was terrific and made the difference.
"We had chances to get back into the game but in finals you've got to take those chances, and if you don't take them you are leaving the door open."
Friends' early pressure was rewarded when Kidd broke the deadlock in the 26th minute, first going left and then right, beating three defenders and firing low into the net past Ben Cooke.
The Wallace keeper performed more heroics before being beaten for a second time in the 46th minute as Kidd clinically converted from the penalty spot after an opponent's foot had kept Mackenzie Connor's goal-bound shot out of the net.
At the other end, Sam Boyd shot agonisingly wide two minutes later before Kidd completed his hat-trick with a brilliant backhand shot following his side's 11th set-piece of the game with eight minutes left to put the icing on the cake.
Friends' school: Ryan Kirkpatrick; Ross Little, Matthew Thompson, Conor Irwin, Oliver Kidd (co-captain), Rory Brown (co-captain), Matthew Aughey, Jamie Anderson, Conor Quinn, Mackenzie Connor, Harry Scott; subs: Joel Whitten, Scott Patterson, Jack Simpson, Harry Archbold, Ben Aughey, Christopher Leckey.
Wallace High School: Ben Cooke; Tim Curragh, Cameron Forrest, Peter Milligan, Daniel McElhinney, Max Taylor, Ben Clarke, Oliver Patterson (captain), Jude Graham, Paddy Watson, Sam Boyd; subs: David Furphy, Todd Benson, Ewan Patterson, Josh Baird, Matthew Chambers, Pierce Thompson.
Umpires: Allister Campbell, Patrick Wright.