Jake Rowe is the hat-trick hero as Academy lift Irish Schools title

Banbridge Academy beat Wesley College 3-2 in thrilling final. Jake Rowe with a hat-trick for Banbridge.
Banbridge Academy beat Wesley College 3-2 in thrilling final. Jake Rowe with a hat-trick for Banbridge.

Seventeen year old Banbridge Academy schoolboy Jake Rowe was the goal scoring hero, when his hat-trick clinched the Subway Irish Schools title.

But Rowe didn’t manage to get his hands on the coveted match ball.

“Unlike football, unfortunately I didn’t get to keep the ball,” he said after the game.

“It would have been great to get the ball signed by all my team mates as a fantastic memory, as not too many people score a hat-trick in an Irish Schools final.”

Rowe’s last gasp winner, which was virtually the last action of the game, sealed a memorable 3-2 win over Dublin school Wesley College, who had manage to dispatch tournament favourites St. Andrews in the semi-final.

It was the fifth time that the Academy lifted the crown and they went into the competition as outsiders.

Jake continued: “We went into the competition as underdogs, we knew it was going to be tough in the pool stages, so we just took each game as it came and thankfully we went the whole way.”

To score a hat-trick in any game is fantastic but to score one in the final of the Irish Schools must be memorable.

“I don’t score too many goals but I was just delighted that everything seemed to click into place on the day.

“When I scored right on the whistle to take the cup, we ran straight over to all our fans and started celebrating it was just crazy,” said Rowe.

Rowe, an Irish Under 16 international, is only in Lower sixth at the Academy and he is hoping that he will soon be able to add an Irish Under 18 cap to that.

He is certainly displaying many of the qualities needed to go on and become a full Irish international.

And what does he think of Ireland qualifying for the Olympics?

He said: “It’s fantastic and hopefully it will inspire us onto to do well and encourage other people to play hockey.

“It is great for hockey throughout Ireland and I can’t wait to see the Olympics next year.”

After the elation has settled down Jake knows it is back to qualifying for this season’s McCullough Cup semis.

“We have to play Bangor to reach the semis and hopefully we can retain the cup which we won last season.”

So, in the meantime if anyone has the match ball from the Irish Schools final, I’m sure Jake would love to get his hands on it and have what would be a cherished hat-trick momento.