Banbridge aiming to make history in Burney Cup

Banbridge captain Johnny McKee
Banbridge captain Johnny McKee

Wednesday’s Burney Cup Final between Banbridge Academy and Wallace High School could make history.

Banbridge are going for an unprecedented fifth straight Burney Cup win and only one other school has come close to winning the cup five times. That was Friends, back in seventies, when they won it four times and shared it once.

However, while it would be a history-making achievement, Banbridge captain Johnny McKee is not trying to think about it too much. He is out to win his third Burney Cup winner’s medal and as is only in Lower Sixth – he could even capture his fourth medal next season.

“We are really excited to be in another Burney final and it should be a great game against Wallace, as they have already won the McCullough Cup,” said McKee.

“We are obviously doing our best to try and stop them completing the double. They have probably been the best schools’ team in Ulster this year. But now that we are back to full strength, we can definitely give them a good run for their money.

“I think there will be some pressure on us as we are going for the fifth win but if anything, we seem to play much better under pressure. It is something to focus on and to play for, but the important thing is to win the Burney first and then worry about records after.”

Both schools haven’t played each other this year, so it is a case of the unknown for each side.

Wallace have already completed the schools’ cup double, which they achieved back in 1989 when they were coached by Howard Thompson, father of Northern Ireland striker Peter Thompson.

And Wallace captain Ross Kelly is hoping they can emulate that superb achievement by the ’89 team. Kelly is in his final year at the school and would love to finish with a schools’ cup double.

“It would be a remarkable achievement by everyone if we did it,” explained Kelly. “Even though we have won the McCullough Cup, no-one is being complacent. Bann are a very good side and they are more than capable of bringing their best game on the day.

“Even though Bann have been going through change, they are still getting success and that is a testimony to them. But at the end of the day we know what we have to do and we will be playing our game.”