Academy girls have historic goal in sight

Banbridge Academy are gearing up for tomorrow's Schools' Cup final at Comber Road. Pic: Rowland White / Presseye.
Banbridge Academy are gearing up for tomorrow's Schools' Cup final at Comber Road. Pic: Rowland White / Presseye.

Banbridge Academy girls’ hockey team could make history on Wednesday as they look to bring the Ulster Senior Schoolgirls’ Cup back to their school for the first time ever.

They take on Sullivan Upper at Lisnagarvey’s Comber Road ground in the school’s first appearance in the senior final (pass-back 2pm).

Captain Emma Quinn could be first girl in an Academy jersey ever to get her hands on the 108 year-old trophy but she hasn’t allowed herself to dream of that moment just yet.

“It’s hard not to but Sullivan will be very hard to beat so we’re just trying to focus on the game and then we can think about that afterwards, hopefully,” she said.

“We played them before Christmas and it was a very tight match. We beat them but it was very close and a game that could just as easily gone the other way.

“They’ve got a few goal-scorers. I know Zara (Malseed) has scored a hat-trick in every round of the cup so far. She can definitely put the ball in the back of the net so we have to make sure that we mark tight but we just have to play our normal game.”

In order to ensure her side are in tip-top shape for the season’s climax, Emma says they’ve upped their workload since last month’s semi-final win over Ballyclare High School.

“We have had a few more gym sessions but we haven’t changed anything majorly,” she said. “We’re just trying to play our normal game and keeping things the same.

“The nerves and excitement are all kicking in now, mainly excitement. It’s so great to get this far and it’s nice to have a few of the younger girls, who won the Junior Cup last year.

“It’s been a big jump in quality for them but they’ve been enjoying it and everything has gone well so far.”

Come Wednesday afternoon, Emma is hoping her side will be firing on all cylinders.

“Everyone’s very excited and just looking forward to it now,” she said.

“At this stage we just want to get out there. Between the quarters and the semi-final, there wasn’t much of a wait but this time we’ve had a bit of a lull.

“We have to bring ourselves back into training mode and then we’ll be looking to get up to match level again for Wednesday.”