Sam Dale helps Bandon Grammar end 17-year wait for All-Ireland glory

West Cork school beat Banbridge Academy in shoot-out after Dale’s brilliant late leveller

Bandon Grammar 2 Banbridge Academy 2 – Bandon win shoot-out 3-1

Sam Dale went down in All-Ireland schoolboy hockey folklore with a breathtaking late goal for Bandon Grammar and then subsequently completed the job in the shoot-out to overcome Banbridge Academy in the final at Wesley.

It ended a 17-year wait for Bandon, harking back to the days of the Harte twins and Jason Lynch, and Dale was relishing the moment after the final whistle.

“We never give up, that’s what we are about!” he said afterwards. “The perfect team, we have such great desire – late goal in the semis, late goal in the final and that is why this team is so special. We bind together and never give up.”


His side looked set for narrow defeat at the hands of a hugely talented Banbridge side but Dale summoned up an outstanding backhand strike that whizzed into the top corner with two minutes left to earn a 2-2 draw in normal time.

And after goalkeeper Harry Forsey kept out three Bann shoot-outs, Dale stepped up to dodge one way and then impudently lob over Conor Part to start the celebrations with a 3-1 success.

It crowned a perfect day for the west Cork side as they edged past King's Hospital in the semi-final thanks to another Dale goal and one from the superb Mark Collins.

Banbridge had earlier eliminated Midleton College 4-0 in the semis with Charlie Rowe, Cody Large, Tommy Dobson and Adam McKee on the mark.

They carried that momentum into the final with Matthew Stevenson planting a low drag-flick into the bottom corner in the first quarter for a 1-0 advantage which they held into half-time.

Bandon got level when a long reverse-stick pass made it to Justin Lucas a minute after the break but Bann were back ahead quickly, McKee getting his second of the day and, initially, his side looked more likely to net again before Bandon fought back.

They won a series of corners and when Rowe picked up a yellow card, the Munster side sniffed a chance, the big one falling to Dale on the circle’s edge. He still had plenty to do but his strike was true and perfectly executed, leaving Part unable to get enough of his hands to the rising shot.

Forsey gave Bandon the instant initiative in the shoot-out with a stroke save from Rowe, laying the base for the win.