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.