Banbridge Academy First XI warmed up for Saturday’s McCullough Cup opener with a rampant 11-0 victory over MCB at Havelock.
This weekend, they make the long trip to Raphoe to take on Royal and Prior as they begin their bid to win back the first school’s cup of the new year.
Without the services of four regular players due to UK school games events and equestrian duties, they welcomed no less than three Year 11 players for what Coach Cordner had seen as a potential development fixture.
And the youngsters didn’t look out of place with Adair being replaced at the interval and Roleston making his fourth appearance in goal alongside Charlie Norris who slotted in at centre back.
Academy dominated with no less than 30 circle penetrations but they could only get two goals on the scoreboard after a mix of poor finishing and decent goalkeeping.
The MCB side certainly gave their best but with Watt, Green, Bennington and Norris in fine tackling form, they failed to have any circle entries for the entire game.
The Academy though began to sparkle and use the space superbly smashing no less than a further nine goals to romp home to an 11-0 victory. Captain Johnny McKee grabbed a solid hat-trick with others coming from Robbie Scott x2 Aaron Reid x2 Sam Farson x1 Dave Armstrong x1 David Gallagher x1 Peter McKnight x1.
For Saturday’s Cup opener, they will welcome back UK School Games duo Matthew Hurst and Jake Rowe and will be aiming for nothing less than a convincing win.
David Agnew’s men also enjoyed a convincing win on Saturday, seeing off Methody U16s 7-0.
The deadlock was broken by returning Chris Campbell after Nathan Liggett smartly intercepted and played a testing ball into the circle. The lead was quickly doubled and after the break, a third came from Josh Peacock scoring a fantastic open side strike into the bottom corner. Straight off the pass-back, Aled McCluskey made a Messi-esque run from the 25, beating five players before slotting into the corner from the flick spot.
Caolán Quinn came on for his debut to inject pace up front and had an instant impact, reversing a ball to Matthew Graham who smashed into the top corner.
He then followed this with another from a solo short corner effort, into the bottom corner. In the closing minutes, showing maturity beyond his years, Graham sacrificed a hat-trick to slip the ball cleverly between the keeper’s legs to a waiting Quinn to score a tap in debut goal.
A good platform for the Seconds going into their first McCullough Cup game against Methody Firsts next Saturday.