SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — Manning Cup winners Kingston College will be seeking to end a 36-year drought while daCosta Cup champions Garvey Maceo will hope to win the Olivier Shield for the first time when they clash today at St Elizabeth Technical Sports Complex, as the curtains come down on the final game of the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association's 2021-22 football season.
Kingston College lifted the Manning Cup for the 16th time last weekend after beating arch-rivals Jamaica College 5-4 on penalty kicks, after the teams had played out a 1-1 draw.
Garvey Maceo High swamped first-time finalists Mannings School 5-0 in the daCosta Cup final to lift their second daCosta Cup and first since 2007, but both teams were confident they would be crowned all-island champions Saturday.
Assistant Coach Dane Chambers, who will stand in for Merron Gordon while he is away on duties with the national men's senior team, says they have a score to settle with Kingston College who beat them in the all-island Under-16 final in 2018, and again in the Champions Cup in 2019.
“It has to end sometime and it will be [on Saturday],” he said Friday.
The Olivier Shield, the oldest of all the schoolboy football titles, is the only one Kingston College's Coach Ludlow Bailey has not won since he took over the helm of the team.
“I am from the old school and we cherish the Olivier Shield,” he told the Jamaica Observer. “Becoming the all-island champion is an achievement, and we see this as the decider.”
Bernard said, based on what he saw in training, the players also understood the “urgency”, and said after the “pressure” to win the Manning Cup they were upbeat and trained very well this past week.
Without getting into too much detail, he said there could be one change from last week's starting team but added they will not make that decision until today.
Garvey Maceo, meantime, will be without talismanic player Gregory Cousins who has since left the island to take up a scholarship in the USA, but Chambers said they had contingencies and “adequate replacement”.
It will nevertheless be difficult to replace Cousins — who led 'Garvey' with a hat-trick in the daCosta Cup final and scored over 20 goals through the season — but Cleo Clarke, who scored two against Mannings, will take up the mantle for the Clarendon-based school.
Chambers said the players were “upbeat and focused”, adding “we have never won this title and so we really want to, and we are taking the same approach as we did in the daCosta Cup. We know this Kingston College team, we have played them twice before and we know how tough the game will be”.
Christopher Pearson, who scored for Kingston College in regulation time last week but missed from the penalty spot, will be expected to lead their attack today along with Luis Watson and Jaheim Johnson.