St Catherine High School secured their first ever schoolboy football title of any kind when they defeated Eltham High 4-3 on penalties to lift the INSPORTS Challenge Cup at the Spanish Town Prison Oval, St Catherine on August 30, 2017.
The game boil down to penalties after St Catherine’s Marcovich Brown’s 76th minute goal canceled out Eltham’s Devonto Francis 61st minute strike in normal time, while the scores remain unchanged after 20 minutes of extra-time.
Raheem Henry, who starred in St Catherine’s semi-final victory last week, denied Francis in the shootout before Richard Brown, with Eltham’s fourth kick, fired wide of the target to spark wild celebration amongst the boys from St John’s Road.
In a game full of energy but lacking real quality, Francis’ goal which came against the run of play, added much intrigue through to the end. The tension was certainly high, particularly in the St Catherine High camp, which played out when Aliki Ellis wasted a glorious opportunity from the penalty spot to level. But minutes later Marcovich Brown restored parity from a free-kick 14 minutes from the end.
Winning coach Anthony Patrick said it was a morale boosting win and a statement going into the Manning Cup season.
"This is the first football final St Catherine has ever won, so it is very important and I am very happy we won,” he said. “This is a morale booster, now we have to wait on the Manning Cup season and see what happens. But it augurs well for us, as we started the season shakily but gradually game by game we started to play well and this is a testimony going into the Manning Cup season.”
St Catherine started better and created better opportunities but Brown squandered many of those chances to put St Catherine ahead. Eltham created good openings but most times had no one on the end of things.
The best chance of the half fell to St Catherine's Parrin Lewis but he failed to connect with Paul Planter's low cross.
Just after the break, Brown breached Eltham’s defence but kicked straight to Henry in goal.
Minutes later Eltham won a corner and Francis curled the resulting kick directly into the goal to give Eltham the lead.
But St Catherine got a great chance to equalise when Planter was brought down inside the box, but Ellis placed his effort wide of the target.
However, Brown made amends for all his profligacy earlier, when St Catherine received a free-kick outside the area and the midfielder curled a delicate shot past Ricardo Wright in the Eltham goal.
In extra-time, St Catherine also came closest with Jevaughn Cole missing a sitter. Rudy Brian also found the net but was ruled offside, while Joel Simpson hit the post with a header late on.
In the shootout, St Catherine netted all four kicks taken while Eltham failed to make it count with their fourth and fifth kicks.
Eltham's assistant coach Grenville Holmes said the defeat was “heartbreaking” but they were pleased with the preparation it afforded them for the upcoming schoolboy football season.
"It’s heartbreaking really. The fact that this idea is Eltham High School’s idea and to see we didn't win it hurts, but that's football. But it was a great tournament and hats off to INSPORTS," he said.
St Catherine receive the Challenge Cup trophy and $100.000.00. Eltham took home $50.000. The eight participating teams also received $30.000.00 each.
Meanwhile Dinthill finished the eight-team pilot pre-season tournament third after blanking fellow daCosta outfit and neighbours Bog Walk 2-0. Antonio Roberts, who copped the golden boot award with six goals, scored both goals in the 23rd and 30th minutes.
Organised by state agency, the Institute of Sports, The INSPORTS Challenge Cup is a pilot preseason schoolboy football tournament held in parish of St Catherine involving eight teams.
It was a day of cheer for those present at Marlie Mount Primary last Thursday, as the institution was officially presented with the runners-up trophy for the 2016 INSPORTS St Catherine Primary School Football.
The entire football team led by tournament MVP DaJanique Ferguson and coach Dwayne Thomas received huge applause from the school community during morning devotion after finishing second best in the parish behind champions McAuley Primary of Spanish Town.
Elaine Walker-Brown is the sport officer in charge of the parish for the state-run Institute of Sports – organizers of the competition. While commending the school for their performance she was impressed by Ferguson, who was outstanding during the competition.
“We will be monitoring her development. Not just her football development but her overall development,” said Walker-Brown, who is also head of women’s football at the Jamaica Football Federation, the island’s governing football body.
“She was exceptional for her team and also as a player. She’s right up there in terms of talent with the best boys in the parish, which says a lot about the future of women’s football in our country,” added Walker-Brown.
School principal Calvin Harris was delighted by the performance of his students, telling Old Harbour News that the entire school is very proud of the team.
As per FIFA regulations girls are allowed to participate with boys in football competition at this age-group.
But the organizers went a step further by making it mandatory for every participating team to have at least one girl on the field of play at all times.
This is necessary, says Walker-Brown, as it represents the foundation of women’s football.
“This is how you get the girls involved at a very young age,” she said. “By the time they get 15, 16 years old their skill sets would be at the desired level, which makes it easier for the national coaches.”
Old Harbour were ousted at the quarter-final stage of the INSPORTS St Catherine Community Netball, losing 26-18 to Knollis.
In the feature of four games played at the Marlie Acres Sports Complex, Old Harbour shot out of the block scoring the first three goals of the contest. Knollis clawed their back however, but Old Harbour ended the first quarter 6-5 ahead.
The visitors from Linstead shifted gears in the second quarter and outscored their opponent 8-3 to open up a four-point gap at half-time.
From then onwards, the visitors were in full control of the game, widening the gap between themselves and Old Harbour with the deficit increase to seven points at the end of the third quarter.