Fri | Feb 28, 2020

JC battle CC for all-island supremacy

Published:Saturday | December 7, 2019 | 12:25 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer
Tahjay Williams of Clarendon College (right) celebrates with teammates after scoring his school’s third goal versus Cornwall College in their ISSA Champions Cup semi-final matchup at the National Stadium on Saturday, November 16, 2019.
Jamaica College’s Gorrington Baker (centre) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Wolmer’s Boys during an ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup game at Stadium East on Monday, September 16, 2019.
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DaCosta Cup champions Clarendon College (CC) will have every intention of keeping their all island crown when they face Manning Cup champions Jamaica College (JC) in the Olivier Shield this afternoon at the National Stadium at 5. The final game of the schoolboy football season will see both schools hoping to finish their campaigns with two trophies, having walked contrasting paths towards the latest battle for all-island supremacy.

CC beat Kingston College (KC) 1-0 last year thanks to Andre Nicholson’s late winner breaking an 11-year hold on the trophy by corporate schools. The Lenworth Hyde coached team retained the daCosta Cup title, defeating Dinthill Technical 3-0 last Saturday, winning back-to-back honours for the first time since 1996-1998 (there was no competition in 1997). Although their previous rural versus urban battle ended disappointingly in their ISSA Champions Cup final loss to KC, Hyde says they have no plans to surrender the shield so easily.

“This is the one we want to win to defend our title,” he told The Gleaner. “The preparation has been going great and the players have been looking forward to it. They are ready and raring to go.”

The celebrations after their ninth DaCosta Cup triumph were somewhat subdued as the team refocused all their energies towards keeping the Shield in rural territory.

“We won it last year so we cannot give it up,” Hyde said. “We have to defend it to the best of our knowledge and ability. We have to go and fight hard. It’s not going to be easy. We have to come out with our best game. This is the last game of the season for us and we want to finish on a high.”

The last time the Oliver Shield remained in rural Jamaica for back-to-back seasons was in 2000 and 2001 when Cornwall College and Rusea’s High prevailed, respectively. CCe also hope to match the feat of the 1992/1993 Rusea’s High team which was the last daCosta Cup school to retain the Shield.

JC won their 27th Manning Cup title, returning to the urban football throne after defeating St Andrew Technical High School 5-4 on penalties after drawing 1-1 in regulation time. Having barely made the semi-finals with only two points in their quarter-final group, they managed to win consecutive penalty shoot-outs, giving head coach Davion Ferguson his first major title for the school in his first season, matching Miguel Coley’s feat in 2013. JC team manager Ian Forbes says that while they respect CC, they believe they have the tools to bring the coveted trophy back to the Corporate Area.

“They are a good team, but we have confidence in our ability as well and we have been well prepared,” Forbes said. “We are quietly confident and optimistic that once we go out and execute, we should get a positive result,” he said.

The ‘Dark Blues’ five-year reign over schoolboy football from 2013-2017 also included the Shield double and Forbes says that the desire for silverware is enough motivation for victory.

“We go out there to win. Whatever cup we are playing for, we go all out to come out on top and [today] will be no different.”

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com