Saints end on a high

by Stephen Findlater

ST ANDREW’S continued their incredible hoodoo over Dublin rivals Wesley as they claimed their fourth All-Ireland Schoolboys Hockey Championship with a comprehensive 6-1 win last Friday in Booterstown.

All four of their victories, spread over the past 13 years, have come at the expense of Wesley in the deciding match, and this was the biggest margin of success.

Wilf King’s superb left wing put them on the board inside the opening 10 minutes and they scarcely looked back.

The margin of victory was surprisingly big given the nature of the morning’s semi-finals in which Wesley were hugely impressive in seeing off Banbridge Academy – the 2010 and 2011 champions – 8-2.

Wallace HS, meanwhile, pushed Andrew’s all the way and came close to forcing extra-time but for the heroics of Jamie Carr as the hosts prevailed 2-1 to reach the final.

But the tougher tie stood to Andrew’s who showed a wider breadth of quality and had pace to burn down either flanks which Aaron Bailey and King wrought havoc.

David Nolan’s bursts from midfield were causing all manner of problems, too, and it culminated in a series of early saves from Leo Micklem.

At the far end, Wesley skipper Jonny Dalrymple was denied by Jamie Carr but once King had put them in front, Andrew’s bossed most facets of the game, making better use of the drenched conditions.

It was 2-0 in the 17th minute when a half-cleared ball fell to Eoin Buttanshaw who, rather than shoot from mid-circle, picked out Andrew Meates for his first of the day.

Andrew Fogarty then robbed Luke Madeley on the 22 and ran in the third goal. There was brief respite when, within 10 seconds of Richard Couse being sin-binned, Stu Ronan turned home a swift left wing move.

But, similarly, Andrew’s made use of a player overload when David Williams was binned for a push on Nolan. Fogarty popped up at the top and applied a calm push to the right corner and a 4-1 half-time lead.

Wesley got more of a foothold in the second half but found James Carr composed between the posts, controlling his circle with a powerful assurance.

Meates extended the lead in the 45th minute with the pick of the goals, weaving down the right channel and unleashing a vicious reverse to the top of the net.

Nolan then converted from the penalty spot, making Couse’s two second half yellow cards somewhat moot.

It meant St Andrew’s became just the fourth school to retain the Tasmanian Shield and move into second on the list of all-time winners, level with Banbridge on four wins, with only RBAI ahead of them with the most titles.

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