Thanks to Mr Gareth Kidd for providing this summary of the Boys’ Hockey Club 2022-2023. As always, we’ve seen moments of triumph and disaster, but to adapt Kipling’s famous poem, If , we hope that will make men out of boys. A huge thank you to all the staff and coaches involved in boys’ hockey and an equally big thank you to all the boys for their commitment. In years to come these memories will be a source of real happiness.
The Wallace boys’ hockey club had another enjoyable and successful year which culminated in the 1st XI winning the John Minnis Burney Cup in March.
Having previously reached the semi final of both the Irish Schools’ and McCullough Cup this years 1st XI were presented with the toughest possible draw in the post Christmas Burney Cup. A home draw versus Cookstown High School in the 2nd round saw the team progress with a resounding 9-0 victory. Luke Dennison led the way with a four goal salvo, whilst William McMullan scored three well executed penalty corners. The other scorers were skipper Josh Kamalarajah and Charlie Banks. This set up a home quarter final against current Irish Schools’ champions Banbridge Academy on a gloriously sunny February day, a match watched by a large crowd. Despite going in as underdogs the Wallace team knew that they could compete with their opponents having run them close in the Irish Schools’ semi final. This was a thrilling game which ended 2-2 at full time (Daniel Murray and Josh Kamalarajah with an unbelievable reverse stick finish were the scorers). This resulted in the dreaded penalty run ins which Wallace won 3-2, keeper Matthew McLearnon the hero with three saves.
The semi final draw saw the 1st XI pitted against McCullough Cup champions RBAI. A tight game at Stormont ensued with Wallace edging through with a well deserved 2-1 win. Skipper Kamalarajah again led the way with an early goal but it was left to William McMullan again to score the winner in the third quarter from another penalty corner conversion.
As always, the final was played under the Stormont floodlights with a large four figure crowd in attendance for the game versus Campbell College. Wallace were defensively strong all night with vice captain Max Spence excellent in repelling any Campbell attacks. Despite creating many scoring opportunities and winning well in excess of ten penalty corners we found the Campbell keepers hard to beat and it was a moment of magic from Daniel Murray in the third quarter which ultimately brought the cup back to Lisburn for the first time since 2019. Picking up the ball on the left hand side Daniel skilfully evaded four Campbell players before rounding the keeper and coolly slotting home from a tight angle. This was a goal worthy of winning any game and also helped Daniel to pick up the man of the match award on the night. The fourth quarter was safely negotiated and amidst the celebrations Head Boy and captain Josh Kamalarajah picked up the cup, his last act as a Wallace hockey player.
The 2nd XI had another highly enjoyable and successful year under the enthusiastic leadership of Mr Armstrong and captain Ben Calderwood. They again reached the final of the Prior Shield having achieved excellent results in the group against Royal and Prior and Ballyclare High School, both 1st XIs. The quarter final saw the 2s defeat Campbell College 6-0 with goals from Ben Calderwood, Max Turner (2), Max Crainey, Max Kamalarajah and Calum Flack. This set up a tough semi final against RBAI where the boys played probably their best hockey of the season in a 4-1 victory, Max Turner, Calum Flack and Max Kamalarajah (2) on target. The final was always going to be tough against Banbridge Academy on their home turf and despite taking the lead through Max Turner in the first quarter, Banbridge’s strength in depth told in the end with a 1-4 defeat.
Junior cup matches were all played in the post Christmas phase of the season with all teams getting tough draws. The under 15s were defeated 2-5 by the RBAI team that went on to win the Richardson Cup (Oliver Tumilty and Finn Thompson the scorers), whilst the under 15s lost 2-3 to the same opponents in a thrilling Ferris Cup tie, Dylan McKinstry the goal scorer. Perhaps the unluckiest team were the under 13s who had an excellent first season of Saturday morning hockey. They were defeated by the traditionally strong Banbridge Academy on penalty run ins after Jacob Williams had scored in the 1-1 draw.
As always many of our players were involved in representative teams at underage level and we wish to congratulate Harvey Begg (Ulster and Ireland under 18), Daniel Murray, Luke Dennison and Matthew McLearnon (Ulster under 18), Milo Thompson and Oliver Tumilty (Ulster and Ireland under 16) on their well deserved selections. It is also fantastic to see former captain Sean Murray playing professionally in Belgium and captaining the Irish mens’ team into the FIH Pro League for the coming year, whilst former pupils Jonny Lynch and Mark McNellis continue to be part of this exciting Irish mens’ squad. Ben Nelson has also just finished his first season playing professionally in the Belgian league.
Finally it is important to recognise the contribution of staff without whom our programme would not be possible. To Mr McKnight, Mr Simpson, Mr Armstrong, Mr Harper, Tim Cockram, Max Taylor, Paddy Watson and Jonny Lynch a sincere thanks for all that you do for boys’ hockey at Wallace.
G Kidd (June 2023)
Last modified: June 27, 2023