CATHERINE HALL, St James — Glenmuir High scored a hard-fought 1-0 extra time win over pre-season favourites and Ben Francis KO champions St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS) in yesterday's final at Montego Bay Sports Complex to notch their third ISSA/Gatorade/Digicel daCosta Cup title and first since 2006.
Newton Henry's 115th-minute goal was the difference between the schools in a tense game that failed to live up the standard that was expected.
Both teams had combined for over 100 goals leading up the final, but the supporters who turned out were made to wait until the second period of extra time for a goal that came from a goalmouth melee.
Glenmuir's veteran coach Patrick 'Jackie' Walters, who was mobbed by supporters after the final whistle from referee Veralton Nembhard, told the Jamaica Observer that this win was special because of the new direction the programe at Glenmuir had taken.
"We have not brought in a single player (on transfer) in the past three years and we don't have one single players repeating fifth form," he pointed out.
"This new administration at the school is stressing academics and have thrown their full support behind the team, even with the limited budget available to the school," he added.
Walters described his team as "silent assassins", having managed to keep out of the glare of the media while placing second in Zone M, but stepped up the pace from the Inter-Zone round onwards.
Walters, who guided the Clarendon school to its previous titles in 2004 and 2006, said he was pleased with the way his players fought hard and while he thought they could have done better, he said winning the title made amends.
Despite Glenmuir coming into the final with the better offensive record, it was STETHS who had the better of the possessions through a first half that saw very little goalmouth action.
The pace picked up in the second half as STETHS moved defensive midfielder Rodney Whitter into a more attacking role, and this forced Glenmuir back into their own area for long periods, but failed to break them down.
Carl Campbell, who worked tirelessly on the right wing, created several chances with some pinpoint crosses, but none of his teammates made use of this service.
Henry popped up late in the second period of extra time when STETHS failed to get rid of a ball in the area and while falling to the ground in a crowd of players, got enough power on the shot to beat goalkeeper Enrique Rochester into the lower left-hand corner of the goal.
STETHS hit back with a vengeance and created several scoring chances, but put two good ones inches wide.