CUP OF DREAMS!
CLARENDON College and Glenmuir High will clash in a historic all-Clarendon collision in the ISSA Champions Cup finals at the National Stadium, starting at 5:00 pm, in the first major final of the schoolboy football season.
It will be the first of two major clashes between the powerhouses as they will meet at the same venue in a week’s time to decide the ISSA/Wata daCosta Cup final as well.
While it is the second meeting between daCosta Cup teams in the all-island knockout competition, it will be the first time two daCosta Cup teams from the same parish will meet to decide the champions of the competition.
Clarendon College had defeated Dinthill Technical 1-0 in the 2021 final, the first time two daCosta Cup teams were meeting in the final.
Neither coach is taking anything for granted, and both told the Jamaica Observer on Friday they are “in [a] positive mindset” going into the game.
The teams last met in the first round of the daCosta Cup in 2021 when they shared 1-0 wins. But while Clarendon College won the zone and advanced, Glenmuir High finished third, edged out by a point by Edwin Allen High who would go on to win the Ben Francis Cup.
Clarendon College, who will be seeking their second hold, are unbeaten in 18 games in both the daCosta Cup and Champions Cup competitions, and in some quarters are being seen as pre-final favourites, but Coach Lenworth Hyde says not so fast.
“This is a final, and we have to be prepared as we are playing against a very good team,” he said.
Clarendon College first beat St George’s College 3-1 in the first round before eliminating Manning Cup finalists Hydel High 2-0 in the semi-finals, and Coach Hyde said “we are in a positive mindset and looking forward to the game”.
As is to be expected at this stage of the season there will be no secrets, and Kaheim Dixon — who scored both goals in the semi-finals — along with Malachi Douglas and Christopher Hull will be the players expected to lead the attack for Clarendon College.
Glenmuir High’s Coach Andrew Peart, who led Glenmuir High out of a lengthy trophy drought when they won the Ben Francis Cup last season, said his players are “focused” on today’s game and are not even thinking about the daCosta Cup final.
“It is game by game for us now,” he told the Observer. “We are confident that once we play to our best potential, we will be good.”
The Champions Cup is the only available schoolboy football trophy that Glenmuir High have not won, and Peart dismissed the question of whether the players understand the historical significance.
“This is a game we need to win, and afterwards we can talk about history and all of those things — this is how we need to go into the game.” he said.
Glenmuir have won back-to-back semi-finals on penalty kicks and have been perfect in their execution but winning in regular time will be the plan, as they had beaten fellow Manning Cup finalists Mona High 1-0 in their first-round game before defeating Kingston College on penalties in the semi-finals, after playing out a 1-1 draw in regulation.
While Orane Watson and Kyle Gordon have come up with timely goals for Glenmuir through the season, the school has also had goals from at least seven players, with Brandon Wallace giving them the lead against Kingston College in the semi-finals while Derrick Henry, who comes off the bench mostly, has also contributed as well as Deandre Johnson and Tajaun Cummings.