Wednesday 1st March 2023, The semi-finals of the John Minnis Burney Cup took place at Stormont’s Playball Pitches. Four schools, each represented by their most skilled hockey players, competed to determine who would make it to the final of the competition.
In the first match of the day, Wallace High School faced off against Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI). From the beginning, it was clear that both teams were evenly matched, with neither side willing to give an inch. The game was a tightly contested affair, with both teams fiercely competing for every ball. Despite their best efforts, it was Wallace High School that managed to get the opening goal, thanks to their captain, Josh Kamalarajah.
RBAI responded quickly, with vice-captain Dan Smith scoring the equaliser soon after. The second half was as tense as the first, with both teams trying to gain the upper hand. With a short corner awarded to Wallace High School, William McMullan was quick to fire it in the back of the net. With less than 6 minutes to go and a flurry of yellow and green cards being handed out in the final moments, both teams were clearly pushing hard for the win. The match ended with a score of 2-1 in favour of Wallace High School, who advance to the final of the John Minnis Burney Cup.
The second semi-final of the day pitted Campbell College against Bangor Grammar School. Both teams started the game nervously, and it took some time for them to settle into a rhythm. The first half ended with neither team managing to score a goal, despite some great chances from both sides.
In the second half, the game opened up a bit more, with both teams showing a bit more attacking intent. Campbell College broke the deadlock in the final quarter with a short corner, with Matthew McCrossan tapping in the goal. Bangor Grammar School tried their best to respond, but it was Campbell College who added a second goal in the dying moments of the game. Ewan Hutchinson slipped through the defence, dancing around a couple of defenders to deftly slam in a final and game-ending goal. The final score was 2-0 in favour of Campbell College, who secured their place in the final of the John Minnis Burney Cup.
The final of the John Minnis Burney Cup will take place on Thursday 16th March at 7:30pm at Stormont’s Playball Pitches. Fans of schoolboy hockey can expect an exciting and competitive match between two highly skilled teams. The final will see Wallace High School taking on Campbell College, and both teams will be looking to give their best performance and take home the prestigious John Minnis Burney Cup.
“I thought both teams put in a great performance, I’m sure it was a great game to watch,” said the captain of Wallace High School, Josh Kamalarajah. “You can clearly see the work put in over the last year ending in the win today. Both teams deserved it but we really put in a good shift to work hard and get the win and get into the final. I thought Inst performed really well, as well. Looking forward to the final is very exciting, of course, you’ve got to look forward to a Burney Cup final. A lot more work to go in ahead of the final day, but we’re looking forward to getting there and enjoying it.”
Campbell College’s captain, Lawson Adams, added, ” We’re very happy with the result, going into the game we knew Bangor would be a tough game. We’ve played them twice before during the season and they beat us both times, so we knew how tough it was going to be. We came into the game not being the favourites but we knew if we just worked hard enough they were beatable and that’s what we did, so we are all really happy and looking forward to the final. Wallace High School is another step up from Bangor, we played Wallace earlier in the season as well, so we know how good they are. We know we’ll be the underdogs again in the final but we’ve got used to that now. We’re going to give it all and be as prepared as we can going into the final.”
The John Minnis Burney Cup is one of the most prestigious competitions in Northern Ireland schoolboy hockey, and the final promises to be an exciting display of talent and skill. Fans of the sport are encouraged to come out and support their teams, and to witness a thrilling match that will undoubtedly be a highlight of the schoolboy hockey season. The John Minnis Burney Cup is not only an opportunity for these talented young players to showcase their skills, but it also helps to promote the sport of hockey in Northern Ireland and inspire the next generation of hockey players.
The John Minnis Burney Cup will be held on Thursday 16th March, at 7.30pm, at Stormont’s Playball Pitches, all support, friends family and fans of hockey in general are all welcome, there will be food and drink available on the evening of the final so please come along to show your support for Wallace High School, Campbell College or for hockey as the fantastic sport that it is.