Banbridge Academy’s 1st XI Girls’ Hockey team came face to face with their 2018 Schools’ Cup Final opponents for the first time this season in the Superleague Semi Final. The wounds of losing to Rainey Endowed on the same pitch by flicks in last year’s Belfast Telegraph Schools’ Cup Final were still raw and this may have explained the slow start the Banbridge girls had as the Semi Final got underway.
Rainey Endowed were very organised and played a very attacking game plan and despite all the efforts from the Academy’s strong defence, Rainey scored a brilliant goal. The Academy girls had other chances but the game wasn’t going their way. The second half, however, was a different story with Sophie Mount just missing out on the equaliser. This marked the beginning of the Academy girls’ comeback and their attack started to gain momentum when Captain, Nadia Benallal, led the way and scored to equalise. Cracks began to appear in Rainey’s defence and Katie McDonald scored a powerful short corner strike to bring the score to 2 -1. The girls kept up the pressure and Sophie Mount found the last goal of the match making the final score 3-1.
Banbridge Academy 1st XI now face local rivals Royal School Armagh in the Superlegue Final at 3.15pm at Playball Water Based Hockey Pitch, Stormont on Wednesday 21 November. This is a repeat of the 2016 Superleague Final when Banbridge Academy lost by one goal in extra time. So the Academy girls have unfinished business and with this being the only trophy they haven’t won, it is the perfect recipe for a great match.