“We’ll get them back in the Burney Cup.”
That’s the message coming out of Wallace High School’s Boys First XI hockey team, who were beaten by rivals Banbridge Academy 2-1 in Wednesday’s McCullough Cup final.
Wallace were bidding to bag a third Ulster trophy in a row, having done the double last year, but they finally came a cropper against a strong Bann side.
Bann captain Jonny McKee, who went off injured late on, opened the scoring before David Armstrong bagged the eventual winner. Skipper Mark McNellis made it a hairy final seven minutes as he pegged one back for Wallace but, ultimately, it wasn’t to be enough.
The new year will see the beginning of the main event, the Burney Cup and Wallace Assistant Coach Gareth Kidd says his side will be out to make amends.
“It gives the boys a lot of motivation to go out and win the Burney Cup,” he said.
“They were talking about that between themselves after the game.”
“There are a lot of good teams that will make life difficult and Banbridge are one of them.
“It’s good to get to the final of the Irish Schools and of the McCullough Cup as we look to the rest of the season.”
Kidd conceded that his side were out-performed in Wednesday’s McCullough final, even if it took a MOTM display from Bann keeper Luke Roleston to do it.
“Banbridge were the better team in the first half, no doubt about that,” he said. “We didn’t play particularly well and they got our of the blocks first.
“In the second half, we played really wewll and I think it was quite telling that their goalkeeper was named Man of the match.
“He made some crucial saves and not only were they crucial, they were brilliant.
“That made it really difficult for us. All in all, we’re happy to acknowledge that the best team won.
“In the second half, apart from the goal, I’m not sure our keeper touched the ball and their keeper obviously was involved a lot.
“Even in the last few minutes, we put together some great moves down the right but we just couldn’t find the final pass. The boys stuck at it to the end.”