Wallace High School crowned John Minnis Burney Cup 2023 champions

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Wallace were crowned champions of the John Minnis Burney Cup after defeating Campbell College 1-0 in the final.

A fantastic Daniel Murray solo effort in the third quarter was enough to win the game which saw a bolster crowd at Playball, Stormont.

A high pace opening to the game saw both sides threaten on the counter but without  either goalkeeper being worked.

Eight minutes into the game Wallace’s Max Turner skilfully found a foot in the circle. The resulting short corner saw a sequence of passes before goalkeeper Will Dugan was forced into the first save of the game.

With two minutes left in the quarter, Reuben Illenotuma managed to get to the by-line before cutting a pass back to his captain Josh Kamalarajah. He opted to shoot first time but his effort went wide of the near post.

Three minutes into the second period Kamalarajah looked to have found the opening goal. Free in the circle he got a shot off but the goalkeeper managed to get a touch, slowing it down enough for Harry Brankin to clear off the line.

Wallace remained in control for the rest of the half. However, the Campbell College defence withstood the pressure as the sides went into the break at 0-0.

Almost immediately after the restart both sides received a green card each and were temporarily reduced to ten men.

Wallace continued to win short corners as the quarter progressed, the best of which saw Malo Thompson’s low drag flick saved by Dugan.

With the third quarter coming to a close it was Campbell who looked to have a sustained period of attack. Unfortunately they couldn’t create a significant shooting opportunity.

Then with two minutes left Wallace got their opener. Daniel Murray’s fantastic solo run saw him beat his man before rounding the goalkeeper and finishing into an empty net to make it 1-0.

Just as the final period got underway Campbell looked to be on the counter before midfielder Max Spence was branded a yellow card for a trip on Rory Johnson. A foul which left his side down to 10 for most of the remaining time.

With just seven minutes left to play Campbell began to assert themselves on the Wallace defence.

Winger Frazer McKane got the ball out right and played a brilliant cross into the penalty area. Unfortunately, none of his teammates could get a contact.

Kamalarajah almost sealed it for his side with four minutes left. His deflected effort came back off the post having looked to have beaten the goalkeeper.

A last gasp moment of pressure from Campbell was not enough to find an equaliser as it finished 1-0 and Wallace were crowned champions.

After the game Wallace Captain Josh Kamalarajah told Ulster Hockey he was delighted to win the competition; “It is such a good feeling” he said.

“Especially sharing the feeling with your friends, it is the most amazing feeling in the world.

For such a young team is was an amazing performance and it has given us a lot of experience for the future as well.” he added.

The win means they have now won the competition for a sixth time. Meanwhile goal scorer Daniel Murray was awarded man of the match for his contribution to the final.

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