HOCKEY: Banbridge Academy lift Ulster Senior Schoolgirls’ Cup with win over Wallace High

Banbridge Academy celebrate their Ulster Senior Schoolgirls' Cup success after a 4-0 win over Wallace High in the final
Banbridge Academy celebrate their Ulster Senior Schoolgirls' Cup success after a 4-0 win over Wallace High in the final

BANBRIDGE ACADEMY 4 WALLACE HIGH SCHOOL 0

Katie McKee’s superb hat-trick helped Banbridge Academy to a 4-0 win over Wallace High and an historic first-ever Senior Schools’ Cup triumph in an exciting final at Lisnagarvey yesterday.

Hat-trick girl Katie McKee scores her third goal

Hat-trick girl Katie McKee scores her third goal

The teenager scored the opener in the first-half, added a second shortly after the break and then capped a tremendous display with a magnificent third after Gemma Hasson had made it 3-0.

McKee had been named player-of-the-match in the final two years ago when Bann lost to Sullivan Upper but yesterday the tears that inevitably follow defeat turned into a joyous celebration for the entire Academy squad yesterday.

Wallace, also bidding to lift the trophy for the first time, battled hard until the end, inspired by captain fantastic, Jane Kilpatrick, but the Academy fully deserved their victory after dominating most of the exchanges.

There was no individual accolade this year but, had there been a player-of-the-match award it would undoubtedly gone to McKee for the significance of her overall contribution.

Anna Curragh, Wallace, with Gemma Hassan and Nadia Benallal, Banbridge

Anna Curragh, Wallace, with Gemma Hassan and Nadia Benallal, Banbridge

However it was also a fine team effort from Banbridge, with captain, Orla Thompson and Nadia Benallal among the other players to catch the eye.

The Academy will now go on to represent Ulster at the all-Ireland championship which they will host and, on the basis of this display, don’t bet against them emulating Methody’s achievement of lat year when they lifted the Kate Russell Cup.

Bann took the game by the scruff of the neck from the start and McKee fired narrowly over with a backhand shot in the seventh minute.

Nine minutes later, from their first attack, Kilpatrick did likewise at the other end but the Academy broke the deadlock in the 21st minute.

Wallace defend

Wallace defend

McKee took a quick free to herself just outside the circle, drifted to the left and fired a great backhand shot high into the net from a wide angle.

Thompson then supplied a pass for Sophie Mount to shoot just past the far post as Bann went into the interval just one goal to the good despite their dominace.

Five minutes after the restart, McKee got her second, picking up a pass from her captain following a set-piece to hammer in number two.

From their sixth penalty-corner, Hasson made it 3-0 to the Academy in the 50th minute after the impressive Benallal’s initial shot had been saved.

Charley Brush attacking for Banbridge

Charley Brush attacking for Banbridge

However, the best was yet to come as McKee completed her hat-trick in glorious fashion, leaving several defenders for dead before slotting home a brilliant goal four minutes later.

Wallace never gave up and Emma Whan came close to scoring a consolation goal near the end only to be denied by Bann keeper Alice Winson.

Banbridge Academy squad: Alice Winson; Holly Hanna, Nadia Benallal, Claire Liggett, Sophie Mount, Emma Gregson, Charley Brush, Gina Woods, Rebekah Dougan, Sarah-Jane Corry, Orla Thompson (capt.), Lauren McGaw, Gemma Hassan, Ellen Reid, Rebecca Huey, Katie McKee, Rebecca Spence.

Wallace High: Nakhita Dowie; Alex Patterson, Anouk Morwood, Rebecca Ayerst, Harriet Matchett, Alyssa Jebb, Jane Kilpatrick (capt.), Jasmine Kirkwood, Emma Whan, Rachel Houston, Emma Coalter, Sophie McKee, Anna Curragh, Holly McClure, Megan Bell, Bethany Dumican, Rachel Steele.

Umpires: Linda Johnston & PJ Whyte.