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JMEA Burney Cup & Weekend Preview

Friends' bridged a 40-year gap on Thursday night when they came from behind to defeat holders Sullivan Upper 2-1 in a thrilling John Minnis Estate Agents Burney Cup final at Stormont.

Two goals in the last seven minutes sealed the most dramatic of victories as the Lisburn school lifted the trophy for the first time since 1978. The result signalled sweet revenge for Friends' who had been undone in similar circumstances in the McCullough Cup final in December.

On that occasion, Friends' led 2-1 with just a minute remaining only for Sullivan to net a late equaliser and go on to win in a penalty shootout. In last night's rematch, the Holywood outfit led at the break and seemed to be heading for a notable cup double but Friends' clearly had other ideas.

"It was great to get the win. It was a close match as expected and Sullivan had the upper hand in the first half." said triumphant coach Craig Cunningham.

"I thought the momentum started to move towards us as the second half went on and the team spirit was outstanding to keep playing until the goals came. The win means a lot, not just in school but outside it, for past pupils and parents and the phone has been red hot with congratulations since last night."

"Many great players have gone through the school and the Burney kept eluding us so for this team to deliver it is very special. It is the result of many years investment from the former principal Liz Dickson and the current Stephen Moore along with the board of governors and all the coaches in school."

"However the majority of the credit goes to the team who have been magnificent all season."

Lisburn keeper Ryan Kirkpatrick was called into action early on when he pulled off a great save from Sullivan captain Fergus Gibson after the first penalty corner of the game in the 10th minute. But the holders went ahead 12 minutes later when Paddy Crookshanks netted from a set-piece variation.

Just when it seemed Sullivan would hang on, Andy Edgar grabbed the equaliser in the 63rd minute when he scored from the penalty spot. Four minutes later, with extra time beckoning. Conor Irwin snatched a dramatic last-gasp winner when he bundled the ball home to end that 40-year Burney Cup drought and spark joyous celebrations at the final whistle

In the Ulster Premier League, Instonians missed out on the chance to go top of the Ulster Premier when they lost 3-2 to Mossley on Thursday night. Stephen Kelso gave Inst an early lead but Mossley went ahead with goals from Ryan Lyall and Joel Cathcart before Chris Barnes levelled going into the break.

Then with four minutes left, Jordan Robinson grabbed a dramatic winner to hand a boost to themselves and Bangor. The night before Instonians had narrowed the gap on leaders Bangor to two point with an 8-1 win over Belfast Harlequins, helped by a hat-trick of penalty corners from William Robinson.

The Junior League finals are being staged at Stormont on Saturday with Lisnagarvey hosting Dublin YMCA in the Irish senior Cup on Sunday at Comber Road.

Queen's have an opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the Ulster Premier table to seven points when they take on Ulster Elks at the Dub on Friday night. The students defeated Banbridge 3-1 on Monday night and then nearest rivals and defending champions closed the gap with a 6-2 win over the Elks on Thursday.

Two goals from Judith Allen saw the Jordanstown side go in level at the break but Lurgan, who face North Down on Saturday, scored four times without response in the second half. North Down remain in the relegation play-off spot despite picking up a point from a 1-1 draw at Mossley on Monday night.

Bottom of the table Portadown tackle Randalstown tonight while Banbridge host an improving Rainey side on Saturday with Dungannon also hosting Ballymoney with both sides level on points in third and fourth place in the standings.



Portadown v Randalstown 7.00pm @ Edenvilla
Queen’s v Ulster Elks @ The Dub

Senior 1
Knock v Ballyclare 7.00pm @ Shaw's Bridge
Lisnagarvey v Raphoe 8.30pm @ Comber Road

Banbridge v Rainey 2.30pm @ Havelock Park
Dungannon v Ballymoney 2.30pm @ Royal School Dungannon
Lurgan v North Down 2.30pm@Lurgan JHS

Senior 1
Omagh v Ballymena TBC


Junior League Cup Finals @ Stormont:
Junior 1 League Cup Final

Lisnagarvey 2s v Annadale 2s (12.45pm)

Junior 2 League Cup Final
Banbridge 3s v NICS 2s (11.00am)

Junior 3 League Cup Final

North Down 3s v Newry 2s (12.00pm)


Lisnagarvey v YMCA 3pm@Comber Road

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