dCup quarters serve up good games

BY PAUL A REID
Observer writer

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — The tempo of the ISSA/FLOW daCosta Cup schoolboy football competition is set to be increased significantly with the start of the quarter-finals on Saturday, following the completion of the second round tomorrow.

With the competition reverting to a group format after the knockout format of the second round, a number of mouth-watering match-ups are in the offering.

The 16 teams will be separated into four groups of four with just the winners qualifying for the semi-finals and the first round of the FLOW all-island knockout, while the second-place teams will also advance but only to the first round of the Ben Francis KO.

Nine schools, led by defending champions Cornwall College, have already qualified for the second round, with the 10th to be decided today between Lennon High and Port Antonio and the remaining six set to be finalised on Wednesday.

Already Groups Three and Four could be the most intriguing, with a number of big name schools that have lived up to expectations battling for the top spot.

Former champions St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) and Glenmuir High have been paired in Group Three along with dark horses Holmwood Technical, with the winners of the Little London vs Alston High second-round tie set to join them.

Glenmuir High have been quietly efficient so far, winning all 10 games played, and are coming off an 8-0 thumping of Oracabessa High, while STETHS have blown hot and cold all year and are yet to hit the heights they set for themselves over the last five seasons.

Manchester High and Dinthill Technical, who have combined for over 100 goals in their first-round games, winning all 10, will clash next week Tuesday which should decide the semi-finalists from Group Four.

To add intrigue to the group that could be the most difficult will be the Aaron Lawrence-coached Frome Technical, who upstaged Munro College, as well as possibly an underrated Central High team who could play spoilers and will have their own ambitions.

After flying through Zone K scoring 52 goals in the first round, Dinthill Technical wobbled slightly in their second-round, first-leg game against Bellefield having to come from behind to earn a 1-1 draw against nine players, but rebounded with a 4-0 win on Saturday.

Manchester High, meanwhile, just missed the 50-goal mark in the first round then got by Ewarton 9-1 on aggregate.

Clarendon College, who will be seeking to make up for missing out on three titles last year after getting to the semi-finals in all three, competitions lead Group One where they could face Spot Valley High — who beat them in Clarendon at the same stage last year — St James High, and the winners of the Seaforth High vs Garvey Maceo second-round tie.

Spot Valley will face Fair Prospect High at Jarrett Park tomorrow after getting a 2-2 tie last week; St James High lead Mile Gully 4-0 returning to Montego Bay; while Garvey Maceo lead Seaforth 2-1 after their first-leg game.

Defending champions Cornwall College and Rusea's High could set up a big Group One clash, but the latter must come from behind at Drax Hall against Brown's Town tomorrow if they are to stay in the competition.

Brown's Town pulled off the shocker of the second round so far, edging Rusea's High 1-0 at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on Saturday; their confidence will be high playing at home tomorrow.

Ben Francis KO champions Lennon High lead Port Antonio High 2-1 going back home, while St Mary Technical have wrapped up their tie against Steer Town, reversing a first-leg 1-0 deficit by winning 3-1 at home on Saturday.

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