It was a spectacular game but Cookstown came out on the wrong side of the result in a nine-goal thriller at Hillsborough.
In the end Banbridge Academy retained their grip on the Burney Cup but Cookstown left the field knowing that next season they will go into the season as the team to beat and a unique treble of trophies must be the aim for Michael Haycock’s talented charges.
This game had everything – summer-like conditions; a goal in the opening 90 seconds; a three goal lead; a fight-back to level it; goal line clearances and then the heart break, with a winning goal in the dying minutes.
Banbridge Academy and Cookstown High have always served up exciting finals but with the Tyrone boys winning the McCullough Cup in last month’s encounter, Bann had a score to settle.
With less than two minutes on the clock, Bann signalled their intentions when Josh Moffett slotted the ball home with inch perfect precision.
However, on four minutes, man of the match, Ian Sloan, drilled home Cookstown’s first penalty corner, with equal precision to level it.
Five minutes later Owen Magee restored Bann’s lead thundering the ball past Jamie Kirkpatrick in the Cookstown goal, from the top of the circle.
And on 22 minutes Philip Doyle rifled Bann’s first penalty corner off the back boards to make it 3-1.
Bann had their tails in the air and they were not going to let this one slip from their grasp so easily and when Ben Cosgrove forced the ball over the line from a rather soft goal, the cup was only going one way – back down the A1.
But with two minutes of the half remaining, Tony Johnston reduced the deficit when he nipped in to score Cookstown’s second.
After the interval the pace of the game fell away and for 20 minutes it looked as though Bann had done enough.
That was until Ian Sloan, who had been having a fairly quiet game up until then, had Cookstown back in it with two superbly executed penalty corners, to bring up his hat-trick.
With twelve minutes remaining, the game swung back in Bann’s favour when a penalty corner switch from Philip Doyle found Niall Kelly free and he dispatched the ball into the net, to make it 5-4.
Cookstown went all out for the equaliser but when Matthew Bell took the ball off the line with a wonder save and the Cup was on its way back to Banbridge.
Cookstown: Jamie Kirkpatrick (GK), Josh Cooper, David Atkinson, Matthew Rollins (VC), Daniel Crooks, Paul Morrow, Michael Johnston, Ian Sloan (C), Ryan Millar, Ian Johnston, Matthew Montgomery, Tony Johnston, Paul Watt, Andrew McWhirter, Ryan Donaldson, Ryan Johnston, Paul Johnston, Conor Crawford.