ST George’s College, buoyed by their imposing 4-1 advantage, are oddson favourites to retain the ISSA/Gatorade/Digicel Olivier Shield title when they confront daCosta Cup champions Glenmuir High in today’s second leg of the 3:00 pm all-island decider at Brancourt in Clarendon.
Goals from the St George’s quartet Andre Lewis, Mark Brown, Cardel Benbow and Kendon Anderson overshadowed Newton Henry’s lone strike in the pulsating first leg and another eye-catching battle is expected, especially with Glenmuir playing on home soil.
Many will also hope that the Patrick ‘Jackie’ Waltersconditioned unit, which had the disadvantage of playing against a better-rested St George’s team in leg one, will not be unduly affected by playing three hardfought matches in seven days.
Aside from overturning the deficit, the Clarendonians should have reasons enough to be inspired.
They have the highly improbable task of winning a third Olivier Shield title, but Glenmuir will be anxious to, at the minimum, defeat the ‘Light Blues’ and to give fans a footballing treat to round off the 2012 campaign.
Walters said as much in his post-match interviews on Wednesday.
“It is going to be difficult to recover (from the three-goal deficit). I can tell you though that we will not give up. This team will fight all the way in the second leg,” he said.
The St George’s team, meanwhile, has rounded into tremendous form at the tailend of the season, which has been highlighted by sparkling victories over Wolmer’s Boys and Hydel High in the respective Manning Cup semifinal and final.
The 13-time all-island champions, who more recently won the title in 2008, 2009 and 2011, then played imperious second-half football under raindrenched conditions at the Constant Spring Complex to turn back Glenmuir.
Such was the nature of the unrelenting St George’s onslaught that Glenmuir’s goalkeeper Dave Chambers had to be consoled by teammate Henry and opposition coach Neville ‘Bertis’ Bell after the final whistle.
Meanwhile, Bell said he welcomes the favourable position, but insisted that the remaining fixture will “not be taken for granted”.
“We have the advantage, yes, and we are happy to be in such a good position. A lot of people seem to feel that we have already won, but it (the advantage) will not be taken for granted. We want to play confidently like we always play. We want to make the passes and keep possession and score goals.
“They (Glenmuir) are a good team and they have a few really good players. Even though we beat them 4-1, I don’t think they played badly. I actually think both teams did well under the wet conditions,” Bell told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.