BURNEY CUP FINAL: Wallace High beat Sullivan Upper in thriller
Wallace High staged a dramatic smash and grab act to beat Sullivan Upper 4-3 on penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw in the John Minnis Estate Agents Burney Cup final watched by a bumper crowd at Stormont last night.
The Lisburn school looked dead and buried after Sullivan had come from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 with 14 minutes left.
With only one goal separating the sides, there was always the chance that Wallace could mount a comeback but it had looked unlikely such was the Holywood outfit’s dominance after they went in front.
However, having been on the back foot for most of the remainder of the 70 minutes, Wallace staged one last big effort and forced the penalty shootout with an equaliser that came with just 30 seconds on the clock.
Wallace held their nerve in the one-on-one ice hockey style run ins to repeat their McCullough Cup win over Sullivan which has come in identical fashion.
In lifting the trophy, Wallace completed a rare schoolboy hockey double, adding the Burney to the McCullough Cup they won before Christmas.
It was a superbly entertaining contest, first swinging one way and then the other but Sullivan certainly had the edge in possession across the 70 minutes, only to find themselves 2-0 down early in the second half.
Wallace almost went ahead from the first penalty corner of the game in the third minute but a defender brilliantly turned Troy Chambers effort onto the post and the ball rolled agonisingly along the line.
At the other end, Matthew Willis’s pass was collected by Djay Erskine but his shot was well saved by Ben Cooke in the 15th minute.
Then a Harry Morris shot crashed off the post and Cooke saved from a Paddy Crookshanks effort as Sullivan looked the team most likely to break the deadlock.
But it was Wallace who went ahead in the 28th minute when Troy Chambers fired home from a set-piece.
The Lisburn lads started the second half where they left off, and after Chambers had a shot saved by Sullivan keeper Fraser Todd, they doubled their lead in the 43rd minute when Oliver Patterson knocked in a cross at the far post.
But Sullivan replied with two goals in the space of seven minutes to turn the tables, first Harry Morris sliding the ball into the corner of the net after a good move down the right in the 47th minute.
Three minutes later, Crookshanks grabbed the equaliser with a rocket of a penalty corner and then Harry Yarr made it 3-2 converting a rebound off the keeper’s pads.
Wallace were under pressure after that triple setback and unable to get much change out of the Sullivan defence on the rare occasions they got forward.
But they snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat when Max Taylor scored from close range following a long corner with the last play of the game and they had everything to play for.
Wallace then held their nerve in the shootout to break Sullivan hearts but both team had played their part in one of the best finals for many years.
Sullivan Upper: Fraser Todd (GK), Sam Anderson, Harry Yarr, Patrick Rose, Michael Trimble, Matthew Willis, Patrick Crookshanks (Co-Capt), Matthew Morris, Daniel Girvin, Djay Erskine, Connor Smith, Tom McClintock, Isaac Hart, Nathan Keown, Jack McNeill, Harry Morris (Co-Capt), Harrison Dunlop (GK)
Wallace High: Ben Cooke (GK), Peter Milligan, Max Taylor, Tim Curragh, Cameron Forrest, Zach Benson (VC), Todd Benson, Oliver Patterson, Troy Chambers, Jonny Lynch (C), Adam Clarke, Paddy Watson, Sam Boyd, Ben Clarke, Thomas Cherry, Daniel McElhinney, David Furphy (GK).