Wallace High School’s Boys First XI are hoping to land their third successive Ulster Hockey trophy on Wednesday as they take on Banbridge Academy in the McCullough Cup final.
The locals claimed a historic double last season by securing both the McCullough Cup and Burney Cup and, after seeing off Sullivan Upper 6-1 in the semi-final on Wednesday, they set up the chance to retain the first of those trophies.
To do that, they’ll have to overcome a Banbridge Academy side who saw off Regent 5-2 in their semi as the pair go head to head at Comber Road (pass-back 2pm).
Wallace, of course, have the upper hand in recent meetings, beating the Academy on penalties in last season’s Burney decider and claiming a narrow 2-1 win in the All Ireland semi-final in October.
Their semi-final victory on Wednesday came with perhaps surprising ease. After just a minute, Scott McCabe netted to send Wallace on their way.
John Matchett did equalise for Sullivan soon after but that was to provide just a brief moment of concern to the All Ireland runners-up.
In fact, they restored their lead straight from the restart as Garvey first-team star Sean Murray converted the immediate attack.
And despite seeing a couple of penalty corners brilliantly stopped on the line, Murray doubled the advantage with seven minutes to go to the break.
That was time enough for Matthew Nelson to make it 4-1 and all but seal the victory with the second half still to play.
Wallace keeper Jordan McCartney was called into action in the second half a made a number of fantastic saves. His concentration was rewarded when Nelson bagged his second of the afternoon, a deft upright reverse that flew past the Sullivan stopper.
A matter of seconds later and the goalkeeper was picking the ball out of his net again as Andy O’Hare completed the rout for Wallace.
Now Coach Erroll Lutton, Assistant Gareth Kidd and Manager Neal McKnight will be hoping for another successful afternoon on Wednesday.
WALLACE SQUAD: Jordan McCartney (GK), Thomas McRoberts, Mark McNellis (VC), Patrick Hunter, Jordan Taggart, Andrew O‘Hare, Sean Murray (C), David Arneill, Scott McCabe, Ryan Getty, Jonathan Scott, Matthew Nelson, William Carey, Jacob Hermon, Ben Nelson, Craig Getty, Ben Johnston.