‘Let’s win the Burney’ - Silver lining for Wallace

Wallace may have suffered Schools’ Cup final heartache in the St. Patrick’s Day showpiece last Tuesday, but the school has a silver lining, as their hockey squad look to retain their trophy in the Burney Cup final today (Wednesday).

In a repeat of last year’s final, Wallace will take on Banbridge Academy, in what is sure to be a thrilling final at Comber Road.

Wallace celebrate a goal in their Burney Cup semi final. Pic by Rowland White / PressEye

Wallace celebrate a goal in their Burney Cup semi final. Pic by Rowland White / PressEye

And with the rugby 1st XV suffering a 14-10 defeat against RBAI, the hockey squad will be hoping to bring silverware back to the Lisburn school.

Having reached the final with a 6-5 victory over Regent House, Wallace know they have a lot to do to keep hold of the Burney Cup.

Speaking ahead of the final, Captain Sean Murray said: “It’s excellent to be in another final. We’re trying to retain the cup again from last year.

“We know about Banbridge, who they’ve got and we know that they’re a great team.

“We’ve played them twice this year, once down in the Irish Schools’ semi final where we won, but then unfortunately lost in the McCullough Cup final this year.

“So we know they’re a very good team, we know it’ll be an excellent match, we just need to make sure we turn up on the day, play well and put what we’ve put into practice together.”

The captain said the match is ‘massive’ to the whole squad.

“It’s absolutely massive to all of us, not just the Upper Sixth’s, because it’s their last game ever for Wallace after seven years of hockey, even the younger guys as well, it’s a massive achievement,” Murray said.

“It just puts all the hill sprints, all the running and pre-season all together and makes it really worthwhile.

“It’s a great honour being captain of the school team. Being close friends with everyone, even the younger guys as well, we’ve all played together for a few years now, so it would be something special if we go out and win the Burney.”

Vice Captain Mark McNellis added: “I’m quite nervous, but I always look forward to a final. There will be a big crowd and again against Banbridge, big rivals throughout the season.

“This will be our third time playing them, they’ve won one and we’re won one, so this will be the decider really for the season. I’m looking forward to it.

“Obviously it would be brilliant, having won it last year was an amazing feeling, to retain the title. Being in the Schools’ Cup final as well, it’s just amazing for the school, a great year of sport. So hopefully we can bring it back and celebrate like last year.”

Coach Errol Lutton said it would be ‘fantastic’ for the team to win the Burney Cup.

“The last couple of years these guys have reached quite a few finals, and won obviously a couple last year in the Burney Cup and the McCullough,” he said.

“The school’s doing well at most levels at hockey, and obviously in the rugby final as well, and it finishes off the hockey season for this year and therefore would undoubtedly be a fantastic achievement and brilliant for the guys for all the hard work they’ve put in if they could win it.”