Occasionally sport throws up a moment of indescribable tension before it permits an explosion into unrestricted joy.
The Banbridge Academy boys hockey team lived the peak of hockey’s emotional rollercoaster on Friday as they snatched victory with the final, all-important strike in the All Ireland final.
Despair had eased into a nervous wait before Jake Rowe’s drive rippled the net and shot waves of delight throughout his deserving side.
It was a penalty corner goal that completed the Lower Sixth student’s hat-trick and was enough to deliver the Tasmanian Shield back to Banbridge for the fifth time.
Moments before, it looked like Wesley had snatched it from Bann’s grasp as Sam Hyland made it 2-2 with a corner conversion of his own.
If anything, that goal helped to make Bann’s victory all the more special, perfectly putting in place the stage for Rowe’s shot to fly galantly into the top corner.
They had been made to fight for it, and met every challenge head on.
After just two minutes of the final at Shaw’s Bridge, the Academy had found themselves chasing the game as Gavin Gibney smashed home at the second attempt.
Not only were the locals behind, they were also aggrieved as their claims that the Wesley man’s first swipe at the ball was dangerous fell on deaf ears.
That second minute lead didn’t last until the break as Rowe had by then smashed home the first of his expertly taken corners.
The midfield man turned the match on its head into the second period as he again converted before threatening to seal it, striking the post soon after.
At the other end, captain Andrew Bennington was a rock, a series of low tackles denying the Dubliners. He was even on hand to add to Wesley’s frustrations by charging down a corner.
There was little the skipper could do when Hyland converted a rebound with barely 30 seconds on the clock to break Bann hearts and level the scores.
Happily though, Rowe was there to stitch them back together as the Subway All-Ireland Schoolboys Championship embraced an ending befitting the occasion.
WESLEY COLLEGE: Campion, McMahon, Mawhinney, Connelly, Walsh, Hyland, O’Grady, Samuel, Evers, Ellison, Gibney.
Subs: Sykes, Shirley, Barlow, Boothman.
BANBRIDGE ACADEMY: Roleston, Bennington, Barlow, Norris, Reid, Marshall, McKnight, Liggett, Rowe, Anderson, Adair.
Subs: Green, Gibson, Campbell, Simms, Cowan.