H0CKEY: Friends' and Sullivan Upper into Burney Cup final
Holders Sullivan Upper will meet Friends' in next week's John Minnis Estate Agents Burney final at Stormont after two entertaining semis at Comber Road on Thursday.
Sullivan survived a late scare to defeat Wallace High 3-2 in a rematch of last year’s Burney decider while Friends’ were 3-1 winners over Methodist College in the first part of the semi-final double header at Lisnagarvey’s HQ.
In the second game, Wallace had the better of the chances in the first half as Oli Patterson twice went close to scoring.
After a cagey opening spell in which Wallace had three penalty corners without reward, Patterson drove into the circle from the right but was unlucky to see his shot crash off the bar.
Five minutes before the break, Patterson set off on another great run down the other flank but unfortunately he was unable to connect when he attempted to shoot.
Sullivan took advantage of those misses as they took the lead seven minutes after the break when Fergus Kerr scrambled home following a penalty corner.
Twelve minutes later, Paddy Crookshanks doubled the Sullivan lead when he found the target with a clinical drag flick at another set piece.
Matthew Morris added a third for the Co Down outfit with 11 minutes left and it looked like that was that.
But Wallace had other ideas and they hit back with two goals in the space of four minutes, both scored by Troy Chambers.
His first came from a penalty corner and in the 65th minute, he netted the best goal of the day, rounding several defenders before hammering home on his backhand.
But Sullivan held on for a narrow win to reach next Thursday’s final at Stormont (7.30pm).
In the first semi, Friends’ penalty corner routine made a significant difference as all three of their goals came from set pieces.
Andy Edgar started the ball rolling with the opener in the 12th minute as his shot found the net with the aid of a deflection off a defender.
There was little in the way of goalmouth action until the 32nd minute when Methody’s Paddy Jack had a penalty corner effort saved by Ryan Kirkpatrick in the Friends’ goal.
Twelve minutes after the break the Lisburn school almost made it 2-0 but Methody keeper Ram Pentavilli stopped a deflected effort from Harry Scott.
Shortly afterwards from the resultant corner, Matthew Milliken extended the Friends’ lead when his penalty corner deflection gave the goalie mo chance.
With 10 minutes remaining, Methody pulled one back when James Hunter scored from close range after yet another set piece.
That goal gave the Belfast side a lift and they forced several more corners without being able to find an equaliser.
But with two minutes left, Friends’ grabbed the insurance goal when Edgar hammered in a penalty corner for his second of the day to seal the deal.