John Minnis Estate Agents Burney Cup holders Friends’ made a first round exit from this year’s competition when they went down 3-2 to Banbridge Academy after an extra time thriller at Havelock Park.
The Academy, displaying the form that took them to the all Ireland schools final a few months ago, stormed into a 2-0 lead. But Friends’ were in no mood to give up the trophy lightly and drew level to force extra-time when Bann scored a late winner.
Luke McConnell and Edward Rowe scored early on and seemed to have put Bann in the driving seat but the Lisburn team fought back before the break. Ollie Kidd picked the ball up in the corner of the pitch and beat four opponents along the baseline before hammering home. Harry Scott equalised with a well-taken goal, firing the ball across the keeper, to force extra time.
With just a minute of the second period of overtime left, Rowe slammed in a penalty corner to seal the win.
“It was a tough match but we are delighted to have come through it and we don’t mind who we get in the next round,” said Academy vice-captain Mark Barlow.
“It was a great game played in an excellent spirit by both sides,” said Friends’ coach Craig Cunningham.
“Our slow start meant we had an uphill task but the players responded and it looked like we might get the win. But Bann’s penalty corners both in defence and attack were the key to their success.”
Elsewhere, Regent House joined Banbridge in the last 16 after a hat-trick from Ewan Bell and further goals from Conor Tweedie, Callum Walsh and Daniel McClune earned them a 6-0 win over Ballyclare High.
“They came out very strongly and took us by surprise and they have quite a few very good players,” said Regent captain Chris Murray.
“But our boys gave 100 per cent and we are really buzzing to be in the next round. There are still a lot of really good teams left and we have to respect that but we believe we can go all the way.”
On Wednesday, Campbell College defeated Royal & Prior 1-0, Patrick McKane scoring for the Belfast side.