Jermaine Thomas returned to his alma mater three years ago as a coach with a grand plan to help groom young footballers; those footballers are now turning the tables for McGrath High School, located at Treadways in Linstead, St Catherine.
The school has been participating in the ISSA/WATA daCosta Cup Football Competition since 1994, but it has never passed the first round. It did so in fine style this season, topping Zone K, which include Dinthill Technical High, Charlemont High, and Enid Bennett High School – formerly Bog Walk High.
McGrath, so far, won four of the five matches it has played. It drew 2-2 at home against Charlemont High School yesterday, October 5.
Thomas is cautiously optimistic about his team – McGrath – this year lifting the cup for the first time.
“We want to take it one step at a time. Our objective from pre-season was to pass the first round. We have done that successfully – and topping the zone is a plus for us. It is one game at a time and we are looking forward to the second round,” he told The Beacon.
Thomas, also a lecturer at Mico University College, declined to specify his players who have been a standout. “It is a total team effort; we want to keep it like that,” he said.
He further stated that the dividends being reaped are from investments in the special programme started three years aback.
“We started a three-year programme; we started with some young players,” he explained. “We made it to the quarter finals with the Under-16, and those same players are the ones playing now. That is making the difference.”
Thomas also noted that, unlike in previous times, McGrath High School was able to keep its footballers over the three-year period.
“Normally, schools in and around [Linstead] – like Dinthill and Charlemont would have scouted our players, and our players would have gone to them. For the last three years, we were able to keep our players. Hence, we are reaping some success now,” Thomas said.
McGrath High School will play its final first-round match on Saturday, October 12, commencing at 3:30PM at Dinthill Technical High School, which will be the zone topper’s opponent.
When both teams met earlier this season, McGrath won 1-0.
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