JC sweep all

Old Hope Road School adds U-14, U-16 titles to senior treble

Saturday, December 16, 2017



Jamaica College (JC) completed a fantastic sweep of the urban area schoolboy football titles on Thursday when they copped both the Under-14 and Under-16 titles with wins over Kingston College (KC) and St George's College, respectively, at the Constant Spring Field.

Those two titles, added to the three won by the Under-19 team, means that the school from Old Hope Road now holds all five traditional urban area schoolboy football trophies at the same time.

JC began the day with one clear objective: sweep aside the North Street-based teams and crown themselves in glory, and that they did. They managed to squeeze out a narrow 1-0 win over KC before outlasting St George's 4-3 in a penalty shootout.

The Under-14 team had to battle with KC, but were ahead early in the first half when Tariq Dacres guided home the ball after a flick on from captain Duncan McKenzie in the 13th minute.

Spurred into action by conceding the early goal, KC went all out in attack for an equaliser, but met strong resistance from a dogged JC defence which was being protected by the towering Thyiem Shaw in central midfield.

So good was the defensive job being done by JC that KC was limited to one serious attack on goal in the second half when Tyrese Williams headed just wide of the target with less than 10 minutes to go. The final whistle brought to an end a seven-year drought for jC in this competition.

“It wasn't a bad performance, we could have done better, but most of all we got the victory, the 1-0 that we needed. The last two years we went down to a KC team and I made myself a promise that this year I would not go down like that, without a fight,” said a delighted Wayne Palmer.

Having seen their juniors lift the title earlier in the day, it was then time for the Under-16s to replicate glory against the “Light Blues” from the other side of North Street.

JC were led by Shaniel Thomas, who played a big role in the U-19 successes, and the tall striker was at the centre of his team's attack. At the other end of the field, the St George's captain Romario Willis did his best to apply pressure to the JC defence.

Both defences held firm until the stroke of half-time when Thomas headed home at the back post from a corner kick lofted into the box from the left side of the field in the final minute of the half.

JC were delighted to have the half-time lead and were well on their way to victory when Willis came up with a stoppage time equaliser near the end of the game.

Having worked overtime to try and get his team back in the contest, Willis refused to give up and was able to poke the ball beyond the advancing Tarique Barrett in the final minute of added time to send the game into extra time.

With neither team able to find a goal in the extra time it was down to the all too familiar, but dreaded, penalty kicks.

St George's took the early lead after scoring their first two spot kicks, while Thomas missed the first one for JC. Barrett then came up with back-to-back saves to deny St George's as the JC players held their nerves to find the target and put the “True Blues” in the ascendency.

After Shemar Boothe scored the fifth kick for St George's to bring the scores level at 3-3, it was now left up to Kristopher McDonald to do the job for JC.

It would prove to be a magical moment for McDonald as he blasted home to prompt massive celebrations from a school that was not to be denied.

“The feeling is so huge, I am so happy,” said a tongue-tied coach Donald Stewart after the win. “It is hard to describe, but I am grateful. We stood tall and gave it our best,” he said.

The JC fraternity is likely to continue celebrations for weeks to come, but their success has not come by chance.

“It's a very good season for us, give God thanks, it's a Blue year. It is indescribable, it really is a testimony to the boys, to the system that we have in place and to the fortitude of the boys. We are never down, never give up, and we showed that again today. We have a whole system in place. Special commendations to Donald 'Fowly' Stewart and Wayne Palmer who carried their teams to victory today,” said an ecstatic Wayne Robinson, Principal of JC.

“Surreal, outstanding, exceptional, wonderful,” were just some of the adjectives used by Ian Forbes to describe his emotions after seeing JC triumph yet again. Forbes is an integral part of the JC sports programme, but even he was overwhelmed by their football success this term.(and) winning five titles already and another possible two, is really, I wouldn't say, beyond expectations. But it would have been a stretch to really think that could be accomplished, but it still can be,” he reasoned.

The overall management programme has been credited for the level of success achieved this year.

“We have a very good programme, we have a very good team of persons, both at the technical and administrative levels and management levels. The young men work hard and it's a holistic approach, it's not just about football, it's about the academics, about socialising... it's about learning life skills, so it's way more than football, it's a whole life experience for these young men,” he explained.

For the Under-14 and Under-16 teams, the season is not yet over as there are still the All-Island titles to play for against their rural counterparts.

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