The chase for the Tasmanian Shield concludes on Wednesday with Banbridge Academy, Bandon Grammar, Midleton College and King’s Hospital vying to be crowned All-Ireland Schoolboys champions.
This season, to avoid Covid complications in the usual October slot, the 16-team tournament was spread over five months, building this week’s semi-finals and final which will take place in Dublin 16.
Both the semis are on at Grange Road at 11am with 2015 champions Banbridge – the most recent winners from this quartet – up against Midleton who are looking to reach their first ever final having made it to the final four back in 2010.
King’s Hos are another looking to reach the final for the first time; they meet Bandon who reached three successive finals between 2003 and 2005, winning at the third attempt. The final will be played at 4.30pm in Wesley College
The Herbie Sharman Cup will also have its final four play out; Friends will play Wesley and St Andrew’s are up against High School in the semi-finals with the final to be played at Wesley at 2.30pm.
Tasmanian Shield teams
The Banbridge Academy boys have worked hard this season and have been very successful thus far. With a number of Irish and Ulster Under-16 and Under-18 players in the squad, the team have progressed undefeated in Ulster so far this season.
Before Christmas, the team defeated Wallace High School in a close final to win the McCullough Cup and then beat Friends’ School in the Ulster Schools’ Burney Cup Final. Twins Charlie and Louis Rowe along with Matthew McKee have become EYHL regulars for Banbridge HC this year, and Ben Pollock, Tommy Dobson and Aaron Baxter have also featured in Ireland’s top league on numerous occasions.
Cody Large will hope to be back to his best after a recent illness, and Seb Best is striving to get fully fit after a long-standing injury. Head Coach Simon Jess is desperate to get his hands on the coveted Tasmanian Shield after missing out a number of years ago.
In his first full season in charge of the 1st XI in 2018, his troops dismissed the powerhouses of both Wesley College and St Andrew’s only to fall at the final hurdle to surprise winners Newtown. The covid pandemic took away the opportunity for two talented Banbridge squads to win the ultimate prize, so they could not be more motivated to go all the way this season. It would be a fitting way to celebrate Mark Cordner’s 25 years of steering boys’ hockey in the Academy.
Squad: 1. Connor Part (GK) 3. Luke Watt. 4. Aaron Baxter. 5. Seb Best. 6. Ben Walker. 7. Adam McKee. 8. Ben Pollock. 9. Josh Brownlee. 10. Matthew McKee (VC). 11. Tommy Dobson. 12. Charlie Rowe (C). 13. James Evans. 14. Cody Large. 15. Matthew Spence. 17. Matthew Stevenson. 19. Lukas Moles. 20. Ben Farson. 24. Denver Golbey (GK)
Coach: Simon Jess; Assistant Coach: John Clarke; Manager: Colin Walker. Teacher in Charge: Mark Cordner.
Bandon Grammar School
Bandon Grammar School come into the All-Irelands in great shape having won Section One of their group with success against Friends School, Cookstown High and Newpark while they have also taken the Munster Senior A league and the cup crown last week with success against Midleton.
Irish underage players like Mark Collins, Ian Perrott, Callum McCourt and Sam Dale are the key players while goalkeeper Harry Forsey has impressed on the club front with Bandon HC.
Squad: 1. Harry Forsey GK 5. Ian Perrott (VC) 6. Trenton Spencer 4. Josh Hamilton-Foott 2. Tiarnan Brown 3. Alan Buttimer 17. Jamie Horgan 10. Mark Collins (Capt) 9. Callum Mc Court 16. Sam Dale 8. Angus Seigne 19. Justin Lucas 20. Glen Gash 11. Conor Hoban 7. Charlie Gilbert 13. Gustav Von Der Schulenberg 14. Ewan Cullinane 18. Sean Landy GK
Manager: Melvin Buttimer; Head Coach: Ashley Smyth; Assistant Coach: Ross Smyth.
The King’s Hospital management team of Angus Dunlop and Peter Caruth may argue that this year’s squad have overachieved in getting to a Leinster Schools cup final, and the last four of the All Irelands. With only three sixth years in the squad, the KH side were looking to be competitive in the league, with a view to pushing on next year with a more experienced side.
However, momentum gained during the All-Irelands group stages, carried the team to a cup final date with Wesley, and a second All Ireland semi-final in two successive attempts. KH were beaten in the semi-final by eventual winners High School the last time the tournament was played in 2019.
The backbone of the team is made up of Leinster representatives Bryan Lydon and Andrew Crowe in defence, with Rex Dunlop pulling the strings in midfield, and Cian Tucker a dangerous presence in the opposition circle. The squad have also benefited from this year’s intake into the boarding house in KH, with three German students prominent during the cup run.
Their group run saw them pick up a morale boosting 3-0 win over St Andrew’s in the group stages while the turning point in the season came in a tricky second round tie away to Sullivan Upper. 2-0 down after five minutes, the team rallied to win a thriller 6-4, Tucker with a hat-trick in a gutsy squad performance. Ashton were well beaten in the final group game, as KH qualified form the semi finals with an unblemished three from three.
Squad: 1. Michael O’Leary 2. Ruairi Lyons 4. Henry Thompson 5.Casper von Kries 6. Moritz Titho 7. Rex Dunlop 9. Cian Tucker 10. Bryan Lydon 12. Colm Gaffney 13. Scott Kenny 14. Dylan Ronan 15. Jake Quinn 16. Jordan Awunah 17. Andrew Crowe 18. Philip Cole 19. Alex Derrien 20. Josh McDonald 21. Cian O’Dowd
Coach: Angus Dunlop; assistant coach: Peter Caruth; goalkeeper coach: Sean Butler; manager: Derek Tucker
The east Cork side went through in the most dramatic fashion possible as they edged a three-way tie on points with their goals scored column being the ultimate decider in Section 4.
With their group games complete – two draws and a 5-0 win over Methody – they had to wait and hope for High School and Wallace HS to draw and so it came to pass, their 11 goals scored in three games proving the decisive factor. They also reached the Munster Schools Cup final but were undone by Bandon GS in the final.
Johnny Spillane is the top scorer and captain and he is backed up by Leaving Cert students Ben and David Ryan, Paul Curtin and Arron Brohkorb who provide solidity across the midfield and defensive lines.
Up and coming young players Evan Bolster, Sean Curtin, Daragh Daly and Robert Olden play a key role, too. Mult-talented Kyle Read, Eoghan Smyth and Richie Daly commit to hockey within the school even with a huge commitment with club and provincial rugby as part of the extended Munster underage panels, reaching the regional Under-16 Schools Cup final. Bailey Stuart dons the pads with Ronan Murphy strong in defence.
Squad: 1. Bailey Stuart (Gk), 2 Sean Curtin , 3.David Ryan (Vc),4. Arron Brohkorb, 5. Darragh Daly , 6.Ronan Murphy, 7.Ben Ryan, 8. Paul Curtin, 9.Kyle Read, 10. Johnny Spillane (Capt), 11 Robert Olden , 12.Andrew Sweetnam, 13 Daniel Spillane, 14. Evan Bolster, 15 Richard Daly, 16 Oscar Curtin , 17 Eoghan Smyth (Gk), 18 . Bruno Riviere
Coach: Clive Seale; Manager: Eric Callendar
Herbie Sharman Cup
Semi finals: Friends School v Wesley College, Booterstown, 10.30am; St Andrew’s v High School, Wesley 10.30am
Final: Wesley College, 2.30pm
Semi finals: Midleton College v Banbridge Academy, Grange Road, 11am; King’s Hospital v Bandon GS, Grange Road, 11am
Final: Wesley College, 4.30pm