The Belmont Hotel backed Banbridge Academy Senior First XI made it to the semi-finals of the Irish Schools’ Championships but that was as far as they went.
Again it was old rivals Wallace who got the better of them, winning a hard-fought match 2-1 on Friday morning.
The Academy got out of their group after three accomplished performances and prepared for the big semi-final at Garryduff with the magic of ice baths and physio.
This game had all the makings of a tight affair and so it proved. With good support for both teams having travelled down from the North, the Academy started brightly and could have scored early when both David Armstrong and Sam Farson flashed shots wide.
Unfortunately it was from an Academy attacking opportunity that Wallace took the lead. The Lisburn side turned the ball over in their own half and exploited the gaps in the Academy’s midfield to score with a tap in at the back post.
However, the Academy continued undeterred with Andrew Bennington coming on to add more steal to the midfield. Just before half-time they equalised. A wonderful pass from defender Matthew Hurst found David Armstrong on the edge of the Wallace circle. He played the ball delightfully into the path of the on-rushing Robbie Scott who crossed for Sam Farson to score at the back post.
In the second half the Academy looked like the team most likely to score. However, their nine penalty corners in the match did not produce any goals as they were well defended, not allowing any shot to the keeper’s glove-side. Wallace stole the game when they punished some sloppy Academy tackling and broke along the by-line to score.
The Academy tried desperately to get back into the game and Aaron Reid thought he had equalised just before the final whistle but the umpire ruled it out for dangerous play.
At the final whistle the boys and staff were gutted as their chance of regaining the Tasmanian Shield again was gone. On the day they just couldn’t break down the solid Wallace defence.
Wallace then went on to lose the final to St. Andrew’s College, Dublin.
The Academy would like acknowledge their appreciation to all their supporters in Cork and to thank them for making the long journey to support the boys.