Let’s win it for Raymie P

Banbridge Academy captain Johnny McKee is looking to send Principal Raymond Pollock into his retirement by winning back the McCullough Cup from rivals Wallace when he leads his side into battle in Wednesday's decider.  Pic: Rowland White / Presseye.
Banbridge Academy captain Johnny McKee is looking to send Principal Raymond Pollock into his retirement by winning back the McCullough Cup from rivals Wallace when he leads his side into battle in Wednesday's decider. Pic: Rowland White / Presseye.

Banbridge Academy Boys First XI hockey team will have to be on top form if they’re to send their Principal, Raymond Pollock, into retirement with one last trophy.

They’re getting ready to take on Wallace in the McCullough Cup final at Lisnagarvey’s Comber Road ground on Wednesday afternoon (pass-back 2pm).

The Academy will be looking to finally come out on top against the Lisburn side who are the current double holders, having won the McCullough Cup last year before edging Bann on penalties in the Burney Cup final. Wallace also came out on top when the pair met in the All Ireland semi-final in October.

Academy Principal Raymond Pollock (affectionately known to the pupils as Raymie P) is formally retiring on New Year’s Eve and Master in Charge of Hockey Mark Cordner is keen he should go out with the Belmont Hotel sponsored side claiming their first trophy since they won the double in the 2012/13 season. “The squad are looking forward to the game,” he said. Both sides are fully prepared and well drilled and it should be full of passion and ability.

“They (Wallace) have been in fine form this year and wear the tag of favourites by being Ulster number one and enjoying home advantage at Garvey.

“But our side don’t read labels. They know they will need to peak to take the trophy back from the current holders.”

The Academy team is again captained by Banbridge Hockey Club first team star Jonny McKee and with Ulster U18 players Josh Rowe, Sam Farson and Tim Watt also in the squad, Cordner is confident his side can do the job.

“With the talent we have in the ranks, I see no reason why we should fear the challenge,” he said. “Wallace have a sharp front six but we mirror that in every way. It’s a game we will enjoy and finals should never be taken for granted.

“I’m confident if we remain focused that our tempo and talent will do the rest.”