From Year 8 to Olympic Qualifiers

Written by | Sport

A Glorious First Term for Boys’ Hockey at Wallace!

The Wallace Boys’ Hockey Club have enjoyed a dream first term. This included the 1st XI winning the Irish Schools’ Tournament in October (for only the second time in Wallace history), before reaching the McCullough Cup Final in December. Our 2nd XI has also continued their fine record in the Prior Shield by defeating RBAI in the final on a cold December day at Havelock Park.

1st XI Roundup:

Following on from our history making win in the Irish Schools’ Tournament, our 1st XI continued their McCullough Cup campaign in earnest.

This year saw the top eight school teams play each other once in the McCullough Cup group stage. The results of these matches are as follows:

Campbell College 5 – 0 walkover win

RBAI 7 – 3 win (M Turner 2, C Banks, L Dennison, M Thompson, M Spence, J Gorman)

Friends 4 – 1 win (R Illenotuma, D Murray, M Thompson, W McMullan)

Sullivan 2 – 1 win (J Gorman, W McMullan)

Bangor GS 4 – 0 win (O Tumilty 2, W McMullan, J Gorman)

Banbridge Academy 1 – 3 loss (M Turner)

Cookstown HS 9 – 0 win (C Banks 3, M Thompson 2, M Spence, M Turner, J Gorman, W McMullan)

These results meant that Wallace finished second in the overall group due to goal difference and set up a semi-final against RBAI, which they won 4 – 2 in a hard fought and close encounter. Man of the match, Max Turner, stole the show with two excellent goals, with William McMullan and Milo Thompson also on the scoresheet. The final against Banbridge Academy was another tense affair. Despite going 1 – 0 down early in the game, the boys battled bravely, created numerous goal scoring opportunities. However, we were denied time and time again by an effective Banbridge defence and we could not score the goal needed to take the game to run ins.

To find out more about the Irish Schools’ competition, please access the link below:

2nd XI Roundup:

We are delighted with the progress and success of our 2nd XI Squad this year. The squad includes players from Years 12-14, many of which play regularly at local clubs, Lisnagarvey and South Antrim.

The 2nd XI are Captained this year by Year 14 students, Max Kamalarajah and Charlie Weekes. These two stalwarts have been a fixture in the 2nd XI Squad since Year 12 and they have displayed great leadership and resilience throughout the Prior Shield campaign.

Our group stage saw us pitted against RBAI, Grosvenor and local rivals, Friends’ School Lisburn (FSL). Our success in ‘friendly’ fixtures preceding the group matches was mixed. However, regular practices with Coach Paddy Watson and allowing players to compete in a variety of positions created a framework for success and free flowing play. 

The 2nd XI showed great strength of character and dedicated teamwork with a hard-fought victory over a tough RBAI team at the Dub. This was followed up by a challenging fixture against Grosvenor at home, with the whole squad contributing to a confident win. The final group game was a feisty encounter in a local derby against FSL away. However, despite being denied many times by the heroics of the FSL keeper, Wallace was able to notch up another victory and thereby topped the group.

The semi-final was a favourable home draw. However, we faced Bangor 2nd XI who had beaten us earlier in the season. This was another tight game as both sides knew that a place in the final beckoned. In the end Wallace were the 2-1 victors, with goals from James Gorman and Ryan Broadhurst. A final at Havelock Park beckoned. However, the game did take its toll on the team, as Thomas Brown had put his body on the line for the team and the resultant injury meant he would not be available for the final.

On Wednesday 13th December, the 2nd XI was part of an unprecedented double final line up for Wallace, with the 1st XI in the final of the McCullough Cup against Banbridge. The 2ndXI squad watched the final and with Wallace narrowly losing one nil, reality kicked in that a final can be won or lost on the narrowest of margins. 

The Prior Shield Final was played against RBAI. Despite a victory in the group stages, the Wallace team were taking nothing for granted as RBAI had defeated Banbridge 2nd XI in the other semi-final. In some very cold conditions and with an expectant crowd of supporters, battle commenced with both sides showing the calibre of hockey that each school can produce. However, Wallace got off to a great start with a goal from senior player and hard hitter, Michael McIlroy. This goal would be followed up by a wonderful strike from James Stone. 

Further chances were missed by both teams and the solid defence of Wallace held out to claim the Prior Shield for the first time since 2018. Well done to everyone and a big thank you to those who have supported us this season. The Dowdall Cup 2nd XI competition will commence with a rerun of the Prior Shield Final as we take on RBAI.

2nd XI Squad Details: 

Max Kamalarajah (Captain), Charlie Weekes, Rory Cauley (GK), Conor Johnston (GK), Michael McIlroy, Noah Best, Jay Greer, Ryan Broadhurst, James Stone, Isaac Allen, Daniel McIntyre, Jack McElhinney, Kyle Banks, Harry Pesun, Patrick Bell, Harry Gowdy, Ant Spence, James Gorman, Noah Best, Luke Massey

Representative Honours:

On the representative scene, Wallace students have been successful at all levels with Finn Thompson (Year 11) and Oliver Tumilty (Year 12) playing for the Ulster under 16 team and being selected for the Irish under 16 training squad. Milo Thompson (Year 12), Matthew McLearnon and Harvey Begg (both Year 14) all played for the successful Ulster under 18s and have been selected for the Irish under 18 training panel. Well done boys and everyone at Wallace wishes you the very best in your provincial and national teams.

Irish Olympic Qualifiers:

Last weekend also saw past students Sean Murray, Matthew Nelson and Jonny Lynch represent the Irish Senior Men’s team in their Olympic Qualifying tournament in Valencia. A tense final game against Korea and a 4 – 3 Irish win was enough for the team to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics. An incredible achievement for all involved! Matthew scored a crucial goal in the game and Captain Sean led the way with a man of the match performance. All three boys will also be heading off to India next week for the first round of Pro League fixtures against the top hockey nations in the world, with matches being broadcast live on TNT Sports. We congratulate them on their success so far and wish them all the best for the next six months in the run up to the Olympics.

Olympic Qualifiers

Year 8 Roundup:

Our Year 8 hockey players have enjoyed their training and engaging in small sided matches against a variety of schools. They have played against Grosvenor Grammar, Campbell College and Friends’ School. More fixtures are planned in the forthcoming weeks and the talent on display bodes well for the future of hockey at Wallace.

The rest of our squads will begin their cup campaigns over the forthcoming weeks and all support is greatly appreciated.

To keep up to date with fixtures and results, you can follow our sport social media channels on X @wallacesport or on Instagram @wallacesport.

Last modified: February 8, 2024