Academy gear up for McCullough Cup final

BANBRIDGE Academy are on the hunt for another McCullough Cup this week when they take on Cookstown on Wednesday at Lisnagarvey (2pm start).

During the last ten years, Banbridge or Cookstown, have appeared in nine of the finals, with Cookstown winning three and Banbridge winning two.

And in the head to head, it’s one each, with their last encounter three years ago, when it took penalty strokes to decide the outcome after an epic 4-4 draw.

This year, Bann cruised into the final conceding only five goals in seven games with Philip Doyle, Owen Magee and Josh Moffett scoring 26 goals between them for Academy.

Seven of the Bann team will be making their last McCullough Cup final appearance, as they move on to pastures new in their academic careers, so they will be determined that the cup remains at the Academy as their parting gift to the school.

Academy coach Steven Dawson has only one injury concern, Ben Cosgrove is unlikely to make the final, as he is suffering from glandular fever.

Cookstown notched up four wins and a draw through the group stage but it took an extra time 5-4 epic battle against Friends School, to squeeze into the final.

Under the captaincy of Ian Sloan, he has led the way putting in top drawer performances every week but coupled with the inter-provincial experience of Daniel Crooks, Andrew McWhirter, Matthew Rollins and Ryan Millar, Cookstown have the right credentials to bring the cup back to Coolnfrankey.

High School coach, Mike Haycock, hopes to have a full strength squad but he will be missing reserve keeper Josh Cooper, who broke his foot three weeks ago.

Whatever the outcome, let us all hope that these two great schools can serve up a memorable 50th McCullough Cup final. Final

Banbridge squad: Andrew Mooney GK, Michael Anderson GK, Robin Smyrl, Michael Duggan, Matthew Knox, Philip Doyle, Niall Kelly, Ciaran Kelly (Vice-Captain), Matthew Bell, Peter Brown, Hugh McShane (Captain), Owen Magee, Joshua Moffett, Calvin Dillon-Burns, Ben Cosgrove, Johnny McKee