Sullivan Upper captain Harry Morris will return to the side for Thursday night’s John Minnis Estate Agents Burney Cup final with Wallace High at Stormont (7.30pm).
The Ireland Under 18 star missed the 4-0 semi-final win over Methody with a shoulder injury but has recovered and will feature in a repeat of the McCullough Cup decider which the Lisburn side won on penalties before Christmas.
“All the boys are really looking forward to the final. The decision by the schools committee to move the Burney final to a night time three years ago was a great call and means we get a knowledgeable hockey crowd,” said Sullivan coach Paul Osborne.
“It will be a great occasion and should be a great game between two very good sides.”
“We’ve played each other twice this season both in the McCullough Cup with a 3-3 draw in the group match. Wallace’s Troy Chambers scored three drag flicks in that match and then he got two more in the 2-2 draw in the final before the shootout.”
“So it’s very obvious where their largest threat is from. Jonny Lynch and Troy are both quality players and they are central to everything that they do.”
“Fortunately, we are at full strength although Harry hasn’t played in three months and, like his twin Matthew will be playing in his fourth Burney final. It’s an incredible achievement for both boys and let’s hope for a big crowd, a dry night and a great game.”
Paul’s opposite number Gareth Kidd is looking forward to the 99th Burney final between the two great rivals and he, too, welcomes the fact the game is being played under lights again.
“We are all really looking forward to being part of the biggest day in schoolboy hockey and the fact that the game will be played in front of a big crowd and under floodlights makes it even better,” said the Wallace coach.
“Sullivan and ourselves were part of the first evening final two years ago and it proved to be a great success and a close game, with them edging us out 3-2.”
“There are some players from both squads who were part of that game and will be looking forward to this one even more as a result. The McCullough Cup group game was a very entertaining contest in October as was the final in December.”
“Both games were fast paced and good to watch and I would expect a fast, open game on Thursday night, great for the neutral but not so good for the coaches on both sides.”
“We have several players playing their last game for Wallace including our captain Jonny Lynch, vice-captain Zach Benson, Adam Clarke and Thomas Cherry who scored in the semi final versus Banbridge Academy.”
“There is no better way for them to finish their school career than in a Burney Cup final and the icing on the cake would, of course, be to win the trophy and bring it back to Wallace for the first time since 2015.”
“I look forward to what should be a great game and would encourage as many people as possible to get out and support the players on both sides.”
Sullivan Upper: Fraser Todd (GK), Sam Anderson, Harry Yarr, Patrick Rose, Michael Trimble, Matthew Willis, Patrick Crookshanks (Co-Capt), Matthew Morris, Daniel Girvin, Djay Erskine, Connor Smith, Tom McClintock, Isaac Hart, Nathan Keown, Jack McNeill, Harry Morris (Co-Capt), Harrison Dunlop (GK)
Wallace High: Ben Cooke (GK), Peter Milligan, Max Taylor, Tim Curragh, Cameron Forrest, Zach Benson (VC), Todd Benson, Oliver Patterson, Troy Chambers, Jonny Lynch (C), Adam Clarke, Paddy Watson, Sam Boyd, Ben Clarke, Thomas Cherry, Daniel McElhinney, David Furphy (GK)
£5 – Adults
£2 – Pupils