The trip to Three Rock Rovers, Dublin was a successful one as both the Ulster U16 and Ulster U18 saw off Munster in their first Interprovincial weekend. A plethora of parents and Ulster supporters spurred on the Ulster U16s as they simply destroyed their opponents in a tenacious 30 minute display scoring 7 with no reply.
The Academy can boast no less than 12 players for Ulster as they represented the hockey playing tradition with significant pride. Indeed Adam McKee took a familiar family footstep as he smashed home his goal to round off a tremendous 8-0 win with Joshua Osbourne, Lucas Moles, Ben Thompson and Denver Golby all performing superbly in the opening game.
This famous five had good company with no less than 7 representing Ulster at U18 level and Charlie Rowe showing his pedigree with an effortless hat-trick and match after an audacious third which saw him deflect home against a hapless Munster keeper. His talent was matched by the likes of Louis Rowe, Ben Pollock, Matthew McKee, Tommy Dobson and Matthew Stevenson with Callum Clement due to make his Ulster debut in Goal v Leinster at IP2.
Mr Mark Cordner, Master ic Hockey commented on the boys’ achievement.
“This is a significant achievement for so many families in the wider community and reflects the level of commitment and dedication given to the sport of hockey. We are proud of the boys’ level of play but as importantly their inner drive to reach this accolade of playing for Ulster.” He added, “We had a similar situation in 2007-08 when we could field 16 Ulster U16 and U18 players but what has changed is the dynamic of the player we have now within the school playing arena. These pupils train up to 4 times a week, with early morning strength and conditioning and the added strain of pandemic style restrictions and academic importance key to their return at Senior school. Through all this the boys have not just managed but thrived and that is a tribute to the coaching team of Mr Jess, Mr Clarke, Mr Walker and Mr Miskelly in school, as well as Banbridge and Portadown Hockey Clubs for their effective management of the players. One very big hockey family as displayed at the weekend!”
The Academy are a whisker away from qualifying for both the Prior Shield quarter final and the McCullough Cup Semi final as they take on Sullivan Upper and Kilkeel High in their last two group stage games. So emphasis now swings back to home soil and recovery and focus.
Images in order include – Image 1 Louis Rowe who scored Ulster U18 Hat-trick v Munster, Image 2 – The magnificent Academy 6 who played for U18 in the 8-1 win at Inter-Pros, Image 3 – The 5 Academy players who represented Ulster U16 in their 8-0 win over Munster, Image 4 – Academy U15 Captain Ben Thompson confidently carries the ball out for Ulster U16s – Image 5 The 2021/22 Ulster U16 side – Image 6 – Academy U14 midfielder Joshua Osbourne shows his talent as he rips through Munster at the weekend.