Banbridge Academy’s bid to lift the Crowne Plaza all-Ireland schoolboys hockey title for a record eighth time failed when Newtown defeated the Ulster side 1-0 in the final at Shaw’s Bridge.
It was the Waterford outfit’s first triumph in the annual showpiece and they deserved their narrow victory which was based on an industrious work ethic and no little skill. In a game of few chances, the Academy tried their best to break down the southerners’ defence but were unable to do so.
Their normally lethal penalty corner routine got little change from a well-organised defence and they didn’t manage too many shots on target either from open play or set-pieces. After a cagey opening quarter, in which both teams swapped corners, Newtown grabbed what turned out to be the crucial goal on the stroke of half-time. From their second corner of the game, and after some pinball in the circle, Isaac Johnson fired the ball past Bann keeper Scott Dale.
The second half also produced little in the way of goalmouth action with Newtown defending well when they had to. Banbridge managed very few chances once again with one effort after Newtown had turned over possession flashing just wide.
Earlier in the day the Academy staged a smash and grab act to beat holders St Andrew’s 3-1 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in the semi-final.
Eddie Rowe scored both goals from corners as the Ulster side came from 2-1 down to force the shoot-out with the equaliser arriving with the last play of the regulation 60 minutes.