HOCKEY: Friends win Burney Cup after beating Sullivan Upper

Friends celebrate
Friends celebrate

Friends’ bridged a 40-year gap last night when they came from behind to defeat holders Sullivan Upper 2-1 in a thrilling John Minnis Estate Agents Burney Cup final at Stormont.

Two goals in the last seven minutes sealed the most dramatic of victories as the Lisburn school lifted the trophy for the first time since 1978.

The result signalled sweet revenge for Friends’ who had been undone in similar circumstances in the McCullough Cup final in December.

On that occasion, Friends’ led 2-1 with just a minute remaining only for Sullivan to net a late equaliser and go on to win in a penalty shootout

In last night’s rematch, the Holywood outfit led at the break and seemed to be heading for a notable cup double but Friends’ clearly had other ideas.

Lisburn keeper Ryan Kirkpatrick was called into action early on when he pulled off a great save from Sullivan captain Fergus Gibson after the first penalty corner of the game in the 10th minute.

But the holders went ahead 12 minutes later when Paddy Crookshanks netted from a set-piece variation.

Just when it seemed Sullivan would hang on, Andy Edgar grabbed the equaliser in the 63rd minute when he scored from the penalty spot.

Four minutes later, with extra time beckoning. Conor Irwin snatched a dramatic last-gasp winner when he bundled the ball home to end that 40-year Burney Cup famine and spark joyous celebrations at the final whistle.