Coach of McGrath High School from Linstead in St. Catherine, Jermaine Thomas, said his squad will remain positive as it, for the second consecutive time, move beyond the first round of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association daCosta Cup football competition.
They thrashed St. Mary High 9-0 at Lynch Park in Portland yesterday (December 4) to automatically qualify for the quarter-finals of the competition.
Tyrese Wright scored a hat trick, while Justin Taylor and Cavain Gowdie netted two goals each. Collin Braham and Mark McGregor respectively scored one goal.
McGrath are the second and final team to advance automatically to the quarter-finals from Zone H, which was topped by Dinthill Technical High – the first squad from the zone to move into the next round of the competition.
Thomas said things got “tough” while preparing McGrath for the tournament amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“At one point, I was a little worried because, in training, we had very small numbers and so on. So I was concerned… It [also] was tight because resources, for us, was limited. Unlike some schools, we don’t have boarding facilities at the school,” the McGrath coach told The Beacon.
He added: “It wasn’t easy, but we fought and we worked through the difficulties… It is a very young programme at the school, and, for us, I think this is a milestone. It is some achievement. We just want to continue to stay positive and work positive and play game by game and see where it takes us. It is a young team.”
When the schoolboy competition was last held in 2019, McGrath High reached the semi-final while Dinthill Technical – also from Linstead – went on to become the beaten finalist.
Of the 2019 batch of players, only three are still on McGrath’s side, Thomas disclosed.
His squad, this season, started its series of victories late in the just-concluded round. Initially, Dinthill Technical High, Ocho Rios High, and Charlemont were all more dominant.
Ocho Rios High, McGrath and Charlemont eventually went into their final match of Zone H yesterday on eight points apiece, separated only by goal difference. In deciding which of those three teams would have advanced, a big win was crucial.
Ocho Rios High fell short when it drew 0-0 against Brown’s Town High.
Charlemont defeated York Castle 4-2.
The win by Charlemont and McGrath yesterday placed them on 11 points apiece. However, McGrath advanced instead of Charlemont based on goal difference, due mainly to its massive margin of victory (9-0) against St. Mary High.
St. Mary High is the only Zone H team to lose all of the matches they played.
By Horace Mills, Managing Editor
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