LURGAN College are preparing for an amazing third successive Senior Schools Hockey Cup final with Victoria College the opposition at Lisnagarvey Hockey Club on Wednesday.
Last year the girls were pipped to the historical trophy by a battling Ballyclare High School who scored in golden goal extra time. In 2010-2011 Lurgan College won the title against a highly rated Wallace High School; in fact the team of 2010-2011 won every single competition they entered and were deserved winners of the Young Team of the Year Award.
A number of players from the victorious 2010-2011 team remain in the current team, and for them, last year’s defeat to old rivals Ballyclare was a bitter blow. However, it has been a valuable lesson learned, and for those that played in that game, it serves a constant reminder about what can happen if concentration is lost, even for a split second and against the run of play.
This season, the squad have reached the final again, but they will be hoping to go one better and win the coveted trophy outright. For a small grammar school, this has been no mean feat, especially when consideration is taken of the lack of playing facilities at College Walk.
The road to the final this year was not straight forward and the College have beaten some good opponents on the way.
2nd Round v Antrim Grammar won 9-0; 3rd Round v Wallace HS won 1-0; Quarter-final v Banbridge Academy won 3-1; Semi-final v Belfast Royal Academy won 4-1.
Final opponents Victoria College Belfast dispatched last year’s winners Ballyclare HS after a dramatic penalty shoot-out competition.
“This is the third final that I have played in for Lurgan College,” said joint captain Chloe McCann. “I definitely feel more experienced this time around. I know that nerves will play a part on the day, but it’s how you control those nerves that dictates how well you play. We are all really looking forward to the occasion after playing the semi final two weeks ago.”
Joint captain Bethany Barr added, “I am extremely excited for the cup final, but will try and treat it just like any other game. For seven of us it is our last year at school and we will be trying hard to ensure that we have another opportunity to compete in an All-Ireland Schools Hockey final, as we have worked so hard to get this far.”