Andrew O’Hare is beginning to make a habit of scoring important cup winning goals and at only 15 years of age, he is hoping to bag a few more over the coming years.
In a dramatic penalty stroke shoot out, in Wednesday’s Sinton’s at the Bridge Burney Cup final, it was O’Hare’s goal that landed the cup for Wallace High School.
And it was also O’Hare’s goal that bagged the winning goal in the McCullough Cup final this year.
But his goal was the sweeter of the two, as it clinched a remarkable Ulster School’s cup double for the Lisburn school.
Reckoned to be one of the best Burney Cup finals seen for many years, both Wallace and Banbridge Academy served up a mouth-watering game, which had the supporters gripped for the entire match.
Wallace had a dream start, with less than a minute played Jack Wilson tore into the Banbridge circle, to slip the ball to Daniel Nelson who calmly lifted the ball over the advancing Justin Glass for the opener.
However, their lead was short-lived, as in the 8th minute Clarke Neville drilled home Bann’s first penalty corner.
And six minutes later, Johnny McKee sliced through the Wallace defence to smash Bann into the lead.
Seconds later, Wallace were unlucky not to be level when O’Hare and Nelson slammed the ball off the different uprights in quick succession.
But with Bann in the lead going into the turn, it was Wallace who started the second half in search of the equaliser and it took two brilliant reaction saves from Justin Glass to deny Ryan Getty and O’Hare from scoring.
It was going to take something special to unlock the Bann defence and it came in the 50th minute, when Man of the Match, Wilson prized open the Bann defence, tucking home a brilliant solo effort.
With less than 10 minutes remaining, Bann swung into attack to see McKee slam the ball across the Wallace circle, to be met by Aaron Reid who poppedthe ball home at the far post.
With Bann hanging onto their slender lead, disaster struck. Right on the final blow, Wallace won their 12th penalty corner and it was Sean Murray who broke Bann hearts as he slid the ball home for the equaliser.
After a 10 minute period of extra time, it was down to a penalty shoot out.
Wilson calmly dispatched his for the opener but McKee then missed his for Bann.
Murray then made it 2-0 but Neville made no mistake with a well taken stroke for 2-1.
Ross Kelly made it 3-1 but Aaron Reid had his saved, to leave O’Hare to slide home the all important stroke and lift the cup for Wallace.
This was schools hockey at its best and both teams were a credit to their schools.
It’s just a pity that none of the local television companies were there to capture this momentous final.
Banbridge Academy: Justin Glass, Mark Campbell, Jake Rowe, Aaron Reid, David Armstong, Sam Farson, Robbie Scott, Ben Knox, Matthew Hurst, Timmy Watt, Johnny McKee (Capt.), David McCracken, Joshua Rowe, Clarke Neville, Andrew Ferguson, Matthew Warnock.
Wallace High: Fraser Rodgers, Thomas McRoberts, Mark McNellis, Ross Kelly (captain), Josh Curragh, Scott McCabe, Sean Murray, William Carey, Daniel Nelson, Jack Wilson, Andrew O’Hare, Ryan Getty, David Arneill, Craig Getty, Jacob Hermon, Jordan Taggart.