Aaron Martin brace inspires Friends’ to comfortable semi success

Friends' School's Ryan Donaldson (centre) celebrates with fellow goalscores Aaron Martin (7) and Patrick Cochrane

Friends' School's Ryan Donaldson (centre) celebrates with fellow goalscores Aaron Martin (7) and Patrick Cochrane

  • by Jamie Ireland

Aaron Martin grabbed two goals and inspired Friends’ to this victory and reach the McCullough Cup final for the first time in over 30 years.

It was a nervous start, with both sets of players making mistakes and surrendering possession frequently.

Friends’ created the first real chance, when the ball was pushed round Matthew Heath in the Campbell goal but Jack Henderson was unable to convert from close range.

With 10 minutes to go in half, Friends thought they had made the breakthrough in this closely contested semi-final.

A crash ball into the Campbell circle was deflected into the net.

But after deliberation between the umpires it was ruled out for hitting a Friend’s player on the chest.

Somewhat against the run of play, it was the home side Campbell who opening the scoring from a penalty corner.

The ball was pushed out to captain Chris Morrow, he played back to pusher Johnny Allen who fired it into the bottom corner.

Friends’ came agonisingly close to equalising in the final play of the half but a dragflick destined for the roof of the net was tipped over brilliantly by Josh Chambers.

However, the Lisburn school were back in the game when a long aerial was not dealt with at the heart of the Campbell defence and Aaron Martin was on hand to score.

With momentum Friends’ came forward with more confidence and were awarded a short corner after some pinball hockey in the Campbell circle.

The low dragflick went under Heath and was stopped on the line but by a Campbell foot.

A penalty stroke awarded and Patrick Cochrane scored.

Campbell began to press forward with more players knowing that they needed a goal but were unable to muster a single shot on target.

But one minute Friends’ were defending their baseline and the next they had doubled their lead and put the game out of sight.

A lightning fast counter attack was finished off by Ryan Donaldson.

To their credit Campbell continued to fight and attack but Martin put the final nail in their coffin with a simple backpost tap-in with only two minutes remaining.

The wait for a McCullough Cup success goes on for Campbell, while Friends’ look to bridge a lenghty gap when they take on their city rivals, Wallace High, in the annual pre-Christmas showpiece at Hillsbourgh on Wednesday, December 11.




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