HOCKEY: Sullivan Upper in Burney Cup heaven

Matthew Crookshanks of Sullivan and Scott McCabe of Wallace
Matthew Crookshanks of Sullivan and Scott McCabe of Wallace

Sullivan Upper lifted the Burney Cup for the first time since 1993 on Thursday night when they defeated Wallace High School 3-2 in an exciting final at Stormont.

The Holywood outfit led 2-1 at half-time and stretched their advantage after the break but Wallace, who had won the cup in two of the last three years set up a grandstand finish by scoring with three minutes left.

However, Sullivan held on to bridge that 21-year gap and avenge their defeat by the Lisburn team in the final of two years ago.

Wallace were quicker out of the blocks and team captain Andrew o’hare had an early effort saved by Sullivan keeper Tom McCord.

But it was Sullivan who took the lead in the 24th minute when Matthew Crookshanks broke the deadlock from a penalty-corner.

They made it 2-0 within as many minutes when Callum Carson converted a cross at the near post to put his team in the driving seat.

However, Wallace were in no mood to lie down and they threw themselves a lifeline shortly afterwards when Wiliam Carey scored from a set-piece to cut the deficit.

Sullivan had a let-off midway through the second-half when Jordan Taggart sent in a crash-ball but the ball was delected onto the crossbar.

Wallace keeper James Ritchie then came to the rescue when he made a good savelow down from a Sullivan penalty-corner.

However, Ritchie was beaten for the third time with eight minutes left when Fergus Gibson fired home a rebound after the initial shot had been saved.

With three minutes remaining, Wallace stormed back to again reduce the arrears when Carey got his second of the night.

But Sullivan held on to secure a memorable victory as Wallace were unable to find the equaliser that would have sent the game into extra-time.

Ireland player Chris Cargo was involved in the presentation ceremony as team captain Crookshanks received the famous trophy amidst wild celebrations.