KC skipper Priestly, goal-scorer Allen savour the sweet taste of triumph

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, December 02, 2018

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It's been a long time coming, and finally, the Kingston College family can re-acquaint their taste for the greatest symbol of urban Jamaica's football glory, the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association/Digicel Manning Cup.

None of the 22 players in the Kingston College team would have been around when the school last revelled in Manning Cup glory years ago, but the burden of eclipsing that accomplishment rested solely on their shoulders and they delivered in fine style, the school's 15th title in 32 years.

It was a come-from-behind 3-2 win over St George's College in a riveting final that lived up to its billing, as captain Casseam Priestly and his team restored the 'Purples' to Manning Cup pride and stood tall as the kings of North Street.

Damani Harris (34th minute), with his 15th goal of the season, and super substitute Chantomoi Taylor (71st), with his 17th goal of the season, put the Dragon Slayer St George's College in front twice, but the brave KC pit bulls, as promised, never yielded.

Substitutes Trayvone Reid (51st), Michael Allen (86th) and the unlikely Nathan Thomas (90th) ensured that the drought ended.

Priestly, who has been a very instrumental captain to his team, pointed out that unity was the key word for his team, and the celebrations inside National Stadium on Saturday spoke for itself.

“It's a great, great feeling because it has been a long time since Kingston College won the Manning Cup, so for me to be leading as captain when that drought is broken is just amazing. I am a bit lost for words now, but it's a great positive; it is emotional and exceptional.

“When we fell behind I kept telling the guys not to give up as we stand true to our motto 'the brave may fall but never yield', so we just kept our focus and continued to play our brand of football and everything worked out in the end and I just want to thank God for this,” Priestly told the Jamaica Observer amidst the wild celebrations.

But the 17-year-old midfielder declared that the accomplishment must be built upon, and as such, the celebrations will be ephemeral.

“We had our fair share of ups and downs this year and so I am very pleased that we won the Manning Cup, because this is the major one for the season and we are grateful for that.

“We are taking our time to celebrate this achievement now, but the focus is already on the Olivier Shield. and we know we have to be at our best and have all to play for so we just have to focus to become all-island champions as well,” Priestly noted.

For Allen, 17, the joy of scoring his first goal in a Manning Cup final supersedes all other performances throughout the season.

“It is an overwhelming feeling to score in a Manning Cup final, at 17, andto help the team to victory is a big accomplishment for me. As I came on and we were down, I just had this fight in my spirit because I wanted to do well, and I found myself in the right position at the right time.

“It wasn't so great a season for me, but the goal has made up for my poor performances this season. I have two more years left in Manning Cup and I expect to win those as well,” the fourth form student said.

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