Wallace High School will meet the holders Sullivan Upper in this season’s McCullough Cup final after two thrilling semi-finals yesterday, despite the horrendous playing conditions with gale force winds and driving rain making life difficult.
Paddy Crookshanks hit a superb hat-trick as Sullivan scored two late goals to overcome Methodist College 3-2 at Stormont while the game in Lisburn was equally exciting as Wallace beat local rivals Friends’ 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
Oliver Kidd scored first for Friends’ with a sweetly struck reverse but Wallace fought back with Kidd’s Lisnagarvey club mate Troy Chambers scoring a corner to make it 1-1 at half time.
Friends’ then regained the lead as Hugo Henderson dribbled through after a corner broke down with 10 minutes remaining but Wallace fought back with another Chambers’ corner.
On the final whistle, Wallace defended four penalty corners to take game to run-ins and after the first set, it was 3-3 before Wallace won in sudden death.
At Stormont, Sullivan led 1-0 at the break after Crookshanks got his first from a set-piece after Matthew Campton had gone close at the other end
Stefan van Walstijn put Methody level from a second phase penalty corner deflection and then Chris Morris made it 2-1 to the Belfast school in the 52nd minute.
Crookshanks levelled from the penalty spot four minutes and then hit the winner from with seven minutes left.
Meanwhile Ireland face the world’s number one side in Australia in their opening match of the Hockey World Cup tomorrow.
And midfielder Daragh Walsh says the Women’s team success - they won World Cup silver - has helped them
“I think they were second lowest ranked and we’re probably fourth or fifth lowest.
“It shows that a lower ranked team can go almost all the way and we will try our best to do that.”