Coley : Olivier Shield still symbol of supremacy in schoolboy football
Jamaica College's Miguel Coley, the winning Oliver Shield coach for the past four seasons, says the trophy still stands as the symbol of supremacy in schoolboy football.
The Sydney Oliver Interscholastic Challenge Shield, or the Oliver Shield, has been contested since 1909 between the top rural and urban area high schools and for many years was the climax of the schoolboy football season.
However, the introduction of the more popular FLOW Super Cup and the glamour and fanfare that accompany it have led many to believe the winners of this new all-island competition represent the best schoolboy team in the island, but not so says Coley.
"I believe it is still the symbol of schoolboy supremacy," Coley told The Gleaner. "Since the inception of the FLOW Super Cup, only one team has won both the FLOW Super Cup and the Oliver Shield, and that is JC. Last year, St George's won the FLOW Cup and JC won the Manning Cup and Oliver Shield titles. No other team has won the Super Cup and gone on to win the Oliver Shield.
"But it's not just about country versus town (as in the case of the FLOW Cup). It's about the best team from the Manning Cup against the best rural-area team, which in the Super Cup you have teams in the top eight of the rural area that couldn't come through a Manning Cup group.
"So the Oliver Shield is still significant; it has a lot of prestige, a lot of history, and there are always two good teams in the final. Cornwall were in the Super Cup final and now they are in the Oliver Shield, so it's usually the best two teams in the island playing the Oliver Shield," he said.
He thinks the Oliver Shield has only suffered because it is not being highlighted. "People believe what they see and hear. The Oliver Shield is not marketed as much as other competitions ... but for persons who understand and know the history of our football, it is still very significant," he said.