Race to the cup
THE schoolboy football season is almost upon us and with the fixtures for each group already released, fans are anxiously awaiting what is almost sure to be another fantastic Manning Cup.
Here is an in-depth look at each group including the matches to watch out for and the predicted schools to progress to round two.
St George's College headlines Group A and is hoping to reclaim the title they last held in 2012. Their biggest competitors in the group can be found across the street ,as Kingston College will be sure to put them to the test in the Battle of North Street. St Catherine based teams also will have a say in this group as Jose Marti Technical and Waterford High can knock a few points off the more traditional schools. The group is rounded up by underdogs Campion College.
Must-see: STGC vs KC, KC vs Jose Marti
Charlie Smith High and Excelsior High are no strangers to the late stages of the competition and it is expected that they are the two teams to make it through to the next round. However, they cannot be complacent as the likes of Vauxhall, Mona and Cumberland are ready to pounce on any slip-ups the big two of this group may make.
Runner-up: Charlie Smith
Must-see: Excelsior vs Charlie Smith, Charlie Smith vs Vauxhall
Group C is one of the three groups with six teams instead of the usual five and this makes it even more competitive because of the scramble for points. Denham Town High leads the pack, but Edith Dalton and Tivoli can be just as good on their day. Ardenne, Innswood and St Mary's College can still qualify as one of the best third places because they play more matches.
Winner: Denham Town
Must-see: Edith Dalton vs Tivoli, Denham Town vs Tivoli
On paper this group appears to be the group of life with no real favourite coming out of the group. This should then make each match a close affair and even harder to predict a winner. Haile Selassie and Dunoon Technical are not far behind in quality to Bridgeport and Camperdown, and even Greater Portmore and Papine High will want to believe they have what it takes to make it to round two.
Must-see: Dunoon Technical vs Camperdown, Dunoon Technical vs Papine High
Last year's runner-up Wolmer's Boys have been given a challenging group with the likes of Spanish Town High and Trench Town High hungry for a spot in the Walker Cup. Clan Carthy High and Holy Trinity High will not be beaten easily either in what should be an entertaining group.
Winner: Wolmer's Boys
Runner Up: Spanish Town High
Must-see: Wolmer's Boys vs Trench Town, Wolmer's Boys vs Spanish Town
Hydel will hope to continue their recent success in the competition with a win in the six-team Group F. The parish of St Catherine features heavily in this group with St Jago High, St Catherine High and Eltham High all situated within the largest parish and all are likely to make it out the round. Calabar High and Penwood High will also contest the group.
Winner: Hydel High
Runner-up: St Catherine High
Must-see: St Jago vs StCatherine, Hydel vs St Jago
The final group and likely the interesting one is Group G. If Group D was the Group of Life, then Group G is the Group of Death. Last year's champions Jamaica College will be facing dark horses Norman Manley, and St Andrew Technical. Kingston Technical and Johnathon Grant too are never easy to play, and concentration will be crucial if they want to avoid an upset.
Winner: Jamaica College
Runner-up: Norman Manley High
Matches to watch: Jamaica College vs Norman Manley, Kingston Technical vs St Andrew Technical