Johnny McKee gave retiring Banbridge Academy principal, Raymond Pollock an early Christmas present, after the school won the 54th McCullough Cup final yesterday defeating Wallace High 2-1.
But McKee’s elation at winning the coveted trophy for the seventh time by the school, was marred by what seems to be a fairly serious leg injury which he picked up late in the game and could rule him out of Banbridge’s Boxing Day Kirk cup final.
The anticipated battle between McKee and Wallace Sean Murray, two of Ulster most promising players, never really materialised.
Bann were unlucky not to take an early lead, when David Armstrong flashed the ball past the wrong side of the upright in the third minute.
A few minutes later Jacob Hermon gave Bann a scare, as his shot just went wide of the target.
But with no-one really taking control of the game play became contained between both 25’s. However, in a devastating six minutes of play, Bann had turned the game on its head.
Three minutes before the interval the deadlock was broken when McKee carved his way through the Wallace defence and from the acutest of angles roofed the ball past Jordan McCartney in the Wallace goal for a brilliant opener.
Three minutes after the restart Bann had doubled their lead, after Robert Scott sent a cross in from the left to be met by Armstrong and he made no mistake from close in.
Wallace then enjoyed a pupurple patch.
In the 53rd minute Matthew Nelson had a glorious opportunity to pull one back, but the chance went a begging. Then Timmy Watt was given his marching orders for upending William Carey, it took a brilliant save from Man of the Match, 15 year old, Luke Roleston, to deny Murray.
With Wallace pressing it was again Roleston to the rescue denying Armstrong and Scott McCabe in quick succession.
Seven minutes remaining the deserved goal came, Mark Nelson smashing home a sweetly struck reverse stick shot which Roleston could nothing about.
With McKee off injured, Wallace threw everything at Bann for the equaliser, but Bann rallied and held onto their slender lead to take the trophy back down the A1.