Wallace High School will meet the holders Sullivan Upper in this season’s McCullough Cup final after two thrilling semi-finals on Wednesday, despite the horrendous playing conditions with gale force winds and driving rain making life difficult for the players.
Paddy Crookshanks hit a superb hat-trick as Sullivan scored two late goals to overcome Methodist College 3-2 at Stormont while the game in Lisburn was equally exciting as Wallace beat local rivals Friends’ 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
Oliver Kidd scored first for Friends’ with a sweetly struck reverse but Wallace fought back with Kidd’s Lisnagarvey club mate Troy Chambers scoring a corner to make it 1-1 at half time. Friends’ then regained the lead as Hugo Henderson dribbled through after a corner broke down with 10 minutes remaining but Wallace fought back with another Chambers’ corner. On the final whistle, Wallace defended four penalty corners to take game to run-ins and after the first set, it was 3-3 before Wallace won in sudden death.
At Stormont, Sullivan led 1-0 at the break after Crookshanks got his first from a set-piece after Matthew Campton had gone close at the other end. Stefan van Walstijn put Methody level from a second phase penalty corner deflection and then Chris Morris made it 2-1 to the Belfast school in the 52nd minute. Crookshanks levelled from the penalty spot four minutes later and then capped a brilliant display when he slammed home the winner from another corner with seven minutes left.