Academy are back to back Dowdall Champions

The Academy squad show off the Dowdall Cup after their final victory.
The Academy squad show off the Dowdall Cup after their final victory.

Banbridge Academy’s second string have brought home the Dowdall Cup after a 2-0 victory over Sullivan at Comber Road

The Academy lads arrived down at Lisnagarvey fresh off a 4-1 victory over Wallace in the semi-finals.

Coach Agnew took time to reinforce to the principles that had got the team this far - slick passing play.

A good warm up was followed by an intense start to the game. Fast passing between the centre backs Sam Green and Andrew Bennington built a strong tempo and the team responded, movement up front from David Gallagher and Aled McCluskey causing problems to the Sullivan defence.

The pressure told early on and after midfield magic from Peter McKnight produced a shot which was saved well, it was collected by Ryan Jordan who acted quickly and slotted the ball into the far corner to make it 1-0.

Substitutions followed and Ben McConnell replaced Gallagher. That paid off as the substitute was found by a wide effort from Peter McKnight and cleverly finished behind his back to make it 2-0 by half-time.

The half-time talk revolved around winning the 50/50 balls and passing with more intensity. The lads responded and were very aggressive in the second period.

In the end, the Sullivan scramble defence stood resolute in the face of the overwhelming pressure, including an off the line clearance from a Peter McKnight reverse which summed up the second half. All in all, it was a well contested final against a competitive Sullivan outfit and a fitting end to a very successful season.

The presentation was held indoors due to the atrocious weather conditions and Captain Aled McCluskey made a tremendous speech thanking parents, players and coaches Agnew and Cordner for their contribution to the boys over so many years.

He thanked sponsors The Belmont Hotel, new principal Mr McLoughlin and his dedicated squad in achieving the back to back label - no easy feat for any Ulster title.