Club congratulates Cup Winners

Our U13 Bannister Bowl winning squad and U14 Ferris Cup winning team were delighted to be invited to Havelock Park on Saturday by Banbridge Hockey Club to watch the EYHL game between Banbridge and Annadale.

The boys were congratulated on their cup success by club President JoAnne Lyttle and the cups presented to the crowd at half-time.

A huge thank you from all of the boys for the hospitality and food they received.



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Conor plays his Part !

U14s are Ferris Cup Champions

The Academy Boys Hockey Team created another historic double winning season within a day of their younger counterparts by beating Cookstown High School to claim the schools 14th  Ulster Schools’ Ferris Cup.

The team has been unbeaten this year domestically in Ulster amounting some seriously impressive hockey along the way. The majority of games have been away from home so making the trip to Comber road on the smurf turf was a pleasure. The Academy Hockey lads brought a huge crowd to spur the squad on and they added some real spice to what would prove a fantastic advert for schools sport.

The game began at a fierce pace with the Banbridge midfield of Tommy Dobson, Lewis Cousins and Jake Rainer being rumbled on the ball with some physical Cookstown defending. The potent threat of Ewan Cruickshanks was clear to all as the big Tyrone player dominated the opponent’s efforts with crash ball and aerial chucks to keep the Academy at bay. With quick slick passing the style of hockey the team has grasped under Coaches Cordner and Bruce McCandless the Academy tore through the Cookstown defence with Matthew McKee and Ben Pollock showing clean heels and quality 3D carries to the baseline only to be denied by two great saves first from open play and then a neat slip right from the Academy’s second PCA. The Cookstown defense run outs did a fine job on the initial drag flick option and a smarter collect and return option lead to Jake Rainer opening the account with a second phase follow up that he bladed high into the roof of the net to give Cookstown no chance.

This lead sparked some total hockey with skipper Cousins having his work cut out to contain Cookstown on the left hand side. Between the defensive skills of Thomas Cunningham and Tom Hamilton the Cookstown attack was kept at a minimum as aerial balls for the majority were carefully dealt with and smash ball found flat sticks. This no nonsense resolute style of defending was epitomized as Thomas Cunningham found himself on the wrong end of a direct hit to circle – ending his final but showing desire to defend for the team. His replacement was another key factor in adding steel to the constant Dobson threat offensively – Matthew Stevenson providing tangible support for both Murphy and Moles as they provided quality supply to “Turbo” to set him free. This ability on the ball was matched my McKee and Pollock and with the trio on fire it allowed a diagonal pass to see Spencer Collie collect with a sweeping left to right run to fire home the second and give the Academy a 2-0 cushion.

Half time: Academy 2 – Cookstown 0

The words from Cordner and McCandless revolved around maintaining possession in key areas and not overcommitting to the attacks. With a Cookstown revival imminent post half time the boys knew switching on would be important to grind out the result and bring home the trophy. The immediate restart saw Cruickshanks surge forward beating no less than four Academy players and it took a last ditch tackle from the impressive Joshua Moles to end the penetrating run. The calmness around the unit was broken though in the 32nd minute as a long handled hit from right midfield saw Cuddy and Millar link well to score at the back post – 2-1 and game firmly on. The physicality of the Cookstown players now came to the fore and the speed of the Academy attack drained somewhat meaning Ben Farson, Simon Ferris and Matthew Spence took the field to add some drive and much needed energy.

Indeed Ferris made a wonderful block challenge and set Collier and Pollock free who squared the ball to Rainer. His powerful run saw him make the end line run and the pull back found Matthew McKee who showed some fast hands and grunt to dink the ball over the advancing defender and keeper and bundle the ball over the line to make it 3-1 to the jubilation of the Bann crowd!

There would be six minutes of tough tackling and some fortunate bounces but it was Conor Part who would have the last say as attack after attack saw the young keeper produce easily his best performance of the season. He withstood 3 consecutive drag flicks saving twice on the stick side and having Matthew Stevenson take the other off the line in magnificent style. This continued pressure from set pieces and frustration would continue for the Academy too as they earned two more attacking corners only to see shots saved from Rainer and Collie when well placed – the Cookstown keeper also having a quality day between the posts. Yet another smash and grab effort from high up the pitch would see a cruel twist though as an unmarked high man sweep home with just two minutes remaining to push the score line to 3-2.

Both sides knew that with new rules implemented for the first time this season that there would be no extra time or indeed the sharing of the trophy. Under new guidelines the game would dramatically go to run downs if a tie so Cookstown pushed all forward in a bid to force the issue. But the Academy stood firm and resilient and McKee used all his intelligence and skills to hold possession high up the pitch in the corner to see out the clock and end the contest 3-2 to Banbridge Academy.

The parents, pupils and wider hockey community will remember the game for all the right reasons with two sides battling it out to the final second. The academy Captain Lewis Cousins thanked everyone for a season of undeniable dedication and commitment and introduced each one of his squad as they collected the Ulster Gold medal.

The U14 squad would wish to pay tribute to Coaches Cordner and McCandless, bad cop and good cop. They would also like to formally thank all those who supported them throughout the year including pupils, staff and parents alongside sponsors First Trust and Pactimo for their kits and bottles for the final. The squad will now have no rest bite as they prepare for the John Waring Irish Schools to be staged at FSL on April 10th.

The schools that have qualified for this prestigious event include Cookstown and Banbridge (Ulster), Dublin High and Wesley College (Leinster) and Ashton and Bandon (Munster). More details to follow prior to the IHA run spectacle.

The Ferris Cup Squad 2019

C.Part, J.Moles (vc), M.Murphy, M.Stevenson, T.Cunningham, T.Hamilton, T. Dobson, J.Rainer, L.Cousins(c), S.Ferris, B.Pollock, S.Collie, M.McKee, M.Spence, D.McHugh, B.Walker, J.Brownlee, B.Farson.

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Monday 1st April

U13B travelling to Killicomaine JHS

Leaving 1pm – full kit

Returning to school 3:15pm

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Saturday 30th March

EPT squad training in school as arranged on Saturday morning

U14 and U13 cup winning squads to meet in school kit at Havelock at 2:30pm to watch EYHL game.  Please arrange to be collected around 4pm/4:15

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U13 Ulster Champions

Bannister Bowl comes home!

Banbridge Academy U13 XI won the Bannister Bowl after defeating Campbell College 3-1 at a packed Playball Stormont last Wednesday. The Banbridge side went into the final as firm favourites after going undefeated so far this season but they were wary that their East Belfast opponents would be no push-over.

The Bann boys started the game strong, winning a number of early penalty corners through Josh Brownlee and Daniel Reid’s attacking prowess. Banbridge were extremely unlucky not to take the lead when Matthew Stevenson’s drag flick went wide by a hair’s breadth. The Academy side continued to dominate the game and it seemed only a matter of time before the first goal would go in for Bann. In fact it took to midway through the half before Daniel Reid made the breakthrough with a poachers finish at the back post after a great run from Brownlee.

Campbell College rallied their troops and retaliated with some strong attacks. They were unfortunate not to equalise when the Bann defence was split open but the forward shot wide. Further attacks were thwarted by the back four of Stevenson, Aaron Baxter, Joshua Cash and the unflappable Caleb Briggs as they held their ground to ensure the Academy went in 1-0 in front at the break.

The second half started with Campbell feeling the pressure early on. Banbridge won a succession of penalty corners but it looked as if it was to no avail until finally Year 8 pupil Adam McKee coolly knocked in a rebound off the keeper’s pads. The Academy boys didn’t take their foot off the pedal as they were now completely dominant and attacking at will. Midfielders Matthew Spence, Ben Walker and Lukas Moles were controlling the game with ease. Campbell could not move the ball out of their defence and Josh Brownlee sublimely penalised them to crown the victory. He masterly trapped a high mis-hit clearance, glided past not one but two defenders at pace, rounded the keeper and tapped the ball home to the delight of the travelling support.

With the game now all but over, Campbell found a bit of strength to clinch a goal in the dying minutes but the final whistle brought delight to all from the Academy as they returned the Bannister Bowl to the Lurgan Road for the first time in three years. Coach Colin Walker was thrilled that his young guns had kept their unbeaten run going and now had silverware to show for all their efforts during the season.

Squad: Calum Clement, Caleb Briggs, Aaron Baxter, Matthew Stevenson(c), Joshua Cash, Matthew Spence, Ben Walker(vc), Lukas Moles, Josh Brownlee, Adam McKee, Daniel Reid, Jonah Lutton, Denver Golbey, Jonathan McCrum, Elijah Carr, Noah Lutton, Tom Brown

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The Academy hockey tradition remains as strong as ever with yet another team progressing to the Ulster Schools’ Bannister Bowl final. The squad coached under ex pupil and now Master in Charge Mr Walker have had a sensational season with 17 wins to their credit and bulldozing the opponents away with skill and speed.

The team has a wonderful blend of strength and depth and will be buoyant to face up to Campbell College in the final to be staged at Stormont on Tuesday 26 March 2019 at 1:15pm.  The side made the difficult trip to the blue turf at Wallace in their semi-final and started brightly with Baxter, Cash and Briggs carefully marshalling the defence to allow Stevenson the freedom to carry and use intelligent passes from the word go.

Some neat slick hockey steered Brownlee and Walker in the direction of goal and but for some quality defending, the Academy could well have been home by half time.  The goals did arrive though with Moles, Spencer and Brownlee piercing holes in the Wallace circle before a reaction turnover left Reid sitting pretty to open the account from close in – 1-0 Academy.

The Wallace forwards showed some fine skill and Daniel Murray caused a sweat when well placed to mis-trap and see his effort slip away.  The continued pounding from the high press eventually paid off with the Academy forcing another penalty corner in the 37th minute and Stevenson made no mistake as the Portadown youngster dragged home his trademark bullet giving the Lisburn keeper no chance and putting the game beyond Wallace.  The introduction of Jonah and Noah Lutton, alongside McCrum and Carr, allowed fresh impetus and with time edging away, it was Brownlee who continued to terrorize the Lisburn defence.

There was still life in the game though and some superb tackling from Briggs and Baxter thwarted several pacey attacks before Spencer and Walker linked well to put Brownlee in and his resulting shot forced another penalty corner.  The routine was another productive effort and the rebound found Adam McKee in form and swung home first time to give the Academy a well deserved 3-0 win and more importantly stamp their name in the final.

The squad would like to thank all the parents and indeed grandparents who travelled to support them as well as Mr Clarke who gave his voice and time freely at the game.  The depth of the squad was evident with Callum Clements in particular standing out with his new set of skills – deputizing for the injured Denver Golbey in goals – two young men with real potential to dawn an Ulster shirt in the not too distant future.

Squad: Denver Golbey(GK), Calum Clement(GK), Matthew Stevenson(c), Aaron Baxter, Caleb Briggs, Joshua Cash, Tom Brown, Noah Lutton, Matthew Spence, Lukas Moles, Ben Walker(vc), Jonathan McCrum, Josh Brownlee, Adam McKee, Daniel Reid, Jonah Lutton, Elijah Carr

Bannister Bowl Final

U13 Squad v Campbell College

Tuesday 26th March

1:15pm, Playball Stormont

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It was a very highly anticipated semi final replay as the Academy Hockey boys hosted RBAI at Havelock on Saturday morning.  The RBAI side has been red hot this year – unbeaten and although on the ropes in the first encounter during extra time, they had the recovery period to fully reflect and iron out any evident mistakes the Academy side created.

This reflective period was also used wisely by coaches Cordner and McCandless, and some vital tactical shifts saw a somewhat different approach to the replay.  The game started very brightly for the Academy and in front of a vocal and fierce crowd the octane tempo was relentless.  The forward trio of McKee, Pollock and Collie began to carry with purpose and link well forcing two backhand chances well denied by the Instonian’s keeper.  Continued pressing of the ball and unforced errors allowed Rainer and Dobson to capitalize and two excellent pieces of neat passing hockey forced the first penalty corner of the contest.  The slipped option to Collie was well executed but again found the visiting keeper in fine form with a flexible right foot block to keep the game scoreless.

The Belfast side grew into the game and some very physical midfield tackling resulted in Dobson and Cousins both feeling the brunt of illegal challenges and reducing RBAI to ten men as the half time line approached.  Some good play from the Academy saw Cunningham, Moles and Murphy create time and space and allow Pollock freedom to terrorize with and without the ball – his pace giving Inst a real headache.  Nevertheless, the visitors did make some wonderful attacking runs of their own and the corner tally would be levelled – the turnover onto a foot forcing Rainer and Part into a fine double save to leave it level at the half time interval.

Half time: 0-0

Words of reinforcement arrived from Cordner who has his own fair share of experience against RBAI in cup competitions.  The emphasis was on stepping the tempo up a notch again and not being dragged into a conflict of decisions and rather to settle on the ball and make better decisions when good possession allowed a clear opportunity to score or upgrade.  The team was urged to close space and time down faster and to expect a swarm approach to the Instonian attacks – and so it was to prove to be.

The defensive unit had to be simply superb in defence and with physicality a major influence, the likes of Cousins, Rainer, Pollock and Hamilton all felt the visit to the pain locker and new legs from both teams began the game of cat and mouse with shots at both ends being well saved by the keepers, and the open and pacey game being spurred on by the now accumulated huge crowd of past pupils from both schools.

And so it edged into the last ten minutes and some ill-discipline began to creep into both sides, as tired legs gave way to streetwise moves – resulting in the Academy being reduced to ten men.  This seemed to galvanize the team however and with Simon Ferris being a constant thorn in the Belfast side his initial turnover fed Dobson who made a decisive run down the left, before doubling back and delivering a fine cross ball to Ferris who got the deftest of nicks to beat the advancing keeper and see his ball roll into the open goal – along with the dramatic diving attempt to clear by the RBAI defender, sending the crowd into melt down with only two minutes remaining.  Would it be enough to seal a magnificent win and put the Academy boys into the Ulster and indeed the Irish Schools U14 finals?

It seemed that all would be chucked at the Banbridge boys – and so was the case as Ben Farson replaced Collie up top and Stevenson replaced Cunningham in the defence as the bus began to line up for parking!  It was all or nothing as tackle after tackle from Moles, Murphy, Hamilton and Stevenson gave Inst slim hope. The opponents produced some great attacking play and forced another short corner in the dying moments but once again Rainer, Pollock and Part all stood firm and denied the equalizer.

With injury time being added for stoppages the game took a twist as first the width of the post saved the Academy from a superbly take shot and then with just seconds left it would be Matthew McKee who would find himself upended when through on goal.  The result was to be one of jubilation for the Academy supporters, players and parents as the final whistle blasted and the side absorbed what was a taste of senior hockey – played against a top quality side on a surface worthy of the spectacle and in front of a bumper crowd – a wonderful advert for schoolboy hockey.

Final Score: a 1-0 win for Banbridge Academy U14.

The boys now progress to this year’s Ulster Schools U14 Ferris Cup Final at Lisnagarvey HC on Wednesday 27th March 2019 at 1:15pm against Cookstown High School.

Squad: Conor Part(GK), Joshua Moles(vc), Tom Hamilton, Morgan Murphy, Matthew Stevenson, Simon Ferris, Tommy Dobson, Lewis Cousins(c), Ben Farson, Thomas Cunningham, Jake Rainer, Matthew Spence, Matthew McKee, Spencer Collie, Ben Pollock, Daniel McHugh, Josh Brownlee, Ben Walker

Coaches: Mr Mark Cordner & Mr Bruce McCandless ccen

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U14 Ulster & Irish Finalists

Great win for the U14s in the Ferris Cup Semi-Final. They won 1-0 in a very close game against RBAI. A superb standard of hockey played by both teams. Goal scored by Simon Ferris.

The team now progress to the Ferris Cup Final on Wednesday 27th March at Lisnagarvey at 1:15pm. The opponents are yet to be decided.

Getting to the final also qualifies the squad for the John Waring All-Ireland U14 Tournament which will be held in Lisburn on Wednesday 10th April.



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Richardson Cup Semi-Final

Richardson Cup Semi – Final

U15 Banbridge Academy V Wallace HS

Tuesday 19th March

1. James Finlay (GK)

2. Luke Watt

3. Charlie Rowe

4. Louis Rowe

5. Cameron McCombe

6. Seb Best

7. Nathan Reid

8. Jordan Nummy

9. Cody Large

10. Kian Bingham

11. Jack McFarland

12. Charlie Keery ( C)

13. Tommy Dobson

14. Matthew McKee

15. Spencer Collie

16. Ben Pollock

Year 10 pupils ask out of class Period 7-9.

Be at Havelock for 1:30 changed and ready.

Pass back 2:45.

• Red kit • Shinpads and gumshield • Bring drinks and food.

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Saturday 16th March – Ferris Cup SF

U14 v RBAI, Havelock, 9:30am  

Tuesday 19th March – Richardson Cup SF

U15 v Wallace High, Havelock, 2:45pm

Wednesday 20th March – Bannister Bowl SF

U13 v Wallace High, away, 3:30pm

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