Wallace put on a Braveheart performance against cup final regulars RBAI at the Kingspan on Tuesday and kept the dream of a first ever Schools’ Cup victory alive until the dying seconds.
In the end, however, it was heartbreak for the Lisburn school’s supporters with their Belfast opponents fending off a last-minute spirited push for what would have been a winning try.
It remained 14-10 to Inst on the final whistle sparking jubilant scenes and the customary pitch invasion at Ravenhill.
Wallace played their role both on and off the field with an impressive 20-strong drum corps in the stands adding to the raucous atmosphere. This was the school’s fifth final and they’ve yet to register a win.
Dejected supporter Sian Thompson said it was well worth the trip despite the narrow defeat.
“It’s very sad obviously but the guys in the team are great and we all get on so well. This is our last year [at school] but we couldn’t be more happy to have reached the final.”
Sian’s friend and fellow upper sixth pupil Thomas Stewart said there has been a great buzz about the school for weeks leading up to the final.
Ross McCloud was among the huge support at Ravenhill for RBAI.
“This is my last year at the school so it’s good to go out on a high, and the support, as always, has been fantastic. The last few minutes were tense but we were always confident,” he said.
Walter and Catherine Woods from Moira were at the game but had split loyalties – with sons Matthew at Wallace and Philip at Inst.
Mrs Woods said they were supporting Wallace. “All of Matthew’s friends are in upper sixth and have been here every year but never to see the school win.”
In the other schools’ cup finals played on Tuesday, Edmund Rice beat Grosvenor 2-1 in the football, while St Patrick’s Cavan defeated St Patrick’s Academy Dungannon in the MacRory Cup.