Sealed with a kiss

Hydel lift Walker Cup for first-ever schoolboy football title

BY HOWARD WALKER
Senior staff reporter
walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, November 15, 2018

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Hydel High won their first-ever schoolboy football title when they defeated Excelsior High 2-0 to lift the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Digicel Walker Cup at Stadium East yesterday.

Goals by Fabiki Farquharson (74th) and Deandre Walker (90th+2) made sure Hydel continued their 25th anniversary celebrations in style.

Farquharson opened the scoring when he fired home from just outside the box with his weaker right foot. Then it couldn't have been more fitting, as substitute Walker put the icing on the cake, firing home from just inside the box to seal a historic victory for a competition which bears his name.

But prior to that the boys from Mountain View might curse themselves unlucky, as they twice hit the bar and got some decent look-in at goal.

Just before the final whistle Excelsior's captain, Rohan Beadle, was red-carded after tangling with an opponent off the ball — a move that prompted an ugly skirmish as both set of players got involved in a pushing match.

But that couldn't dampen the spirit of Hydel as they celebrated wildly at the final whistle in what was a historic moment for the school.

They certainly lived up to their motto of “Soaring upwards on the wings of excellence” and put behind them the bitter disappointment of losing the prestigious Manning Cup to St George's College in 2012.

Founder of the school Hyacinth Bennett, who is always present at the school's matches, could not contain herself and she praised the coaching staff of her son Corey Bennett; Technical Director Lebert Halliman, an Excelsior past student and former coach; and Assistant Coach Karumie Huie.

“All glory to God. My happiness is immeasurable. We praise the Lord for this. They have worked hard and it is a fine reward,” said Bennett.

Veteran coach Halliman, who is known to upset the apple cart, was elated and had some words for his opposing coach, who he said “has a lot of loose talk and disrespect”.

“When two teams reach [a] final both teams are good teams and you should never make any form of disrespect to any other team. If you have that keep that to yourself,” warned Halliman.

“I came here today and I know I am a winner because what you said motivated my team. It happened in 1987, and happened today again, and it will always happen,” he added.

“This is our 25th anniversary, how special can it be? The guys came out and delivered. They had a poor first half, and I said to them it can't get any worse, and they responded,” said Head Coach Bennett.

“Football don't play with mouth, and when people start throw them words it don't work like that. You have to go on the field and play and no matter how many times you win it in the past, it's 11 v 11. So we give God thanks,” he added.

Excelsior, the third most successful team in Walker Cup history, were hunting their eighth title, but will have to wait another year to close the gap on both Kingston College and St George's College with nine titles each.

Excelsior's Head Coach Daniel Riley thought his team played good football but not consistently enough and it cost them the title.

“If you don't score goals and people get chances and score goals the result speaks for itself,” said Riley.

“I want to congratulate the boys for the season. We are trying to get some players getting scholarships and going overseas. The athlete part is over so we will be getting them focused on being students,” said Riley.

However, Riley remained optimistic for next season as he had two 15 years, a 16-year-old, and a 17-year-old that started the final.

“About six of the players that started today have a next season. It gave them a taste of what a finals is like and it can help them to be senior in the team next year. So it's a well done season for me,” said Riley.

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