Cayman Prep’s boys won an unprecedented fourth consecutive Opening Rally title with a 2-1 penalty shootout victory over Cayman International School in the final of the 2016/2017 CUC Primary Football League Opening Rally on Oct. 1 at the Annex field.
Cayman Prep’s defenders and goalkeeper were the heroes, but striker Tom Byrne received the Ronnie Roach Most Valuable Player award for netting his school’s winning penalty.
The final was a largely defensive affair with both schools defending strongly, not giving their opponents any ground or opportunities in the box.
“To keep a team without shots on goals is virtually impossible even in 20 minute games, and both sets of strikers learned midway through the game that shooting from long range just may be the answer,” organizers said in a press release. “However, both goal keepers were in fine form and pulled off some key saves throughout the game.”
The game went into two five-minute extra time periods. Once again, neither school could find the one goal that would clinch the title, so the game was decided on penalties.
After two of the three designated penalties, both schools were even with each missing one penalty. The final penalty-taker for Cayman Prep was Tom Byrne. Unfortunately for CIS, their third and final penalty was saved by Prep’s goalkeeper Jonathan Scott, who rushed to celebrate with his teammates.
Prospect Primary claimed third place after defeating NorthEast Schools 1-0 thanks to a solitary strike from Joshua Campbell.
Cayman Prep’s road to the final was impressive, organizers said, as they scored five goals and did not concede any in capturing first place in Zone B with a 2-0 victory over Savannah Primary and NorthEast Schools and a 1-0 win over Triple C School.
Cayman International School clinched Zone A with a 2-0 victory over George Town Primary 11, a 1-0 win over St. Ignatius Prep and an 8-0 rout of George Town Primary 9.
In Zone A, St. Ignatius Prep joined CIS in the quarterfinals after finishing second in the group with a 5-0 win over George Town Primary 9 and a 1-0 victory over George Town Primary 11. George Town Primary 11 secured one of the third-place finishes and a place in the quarters after defeating George Town Primary 3-0.
In Zone B, NorthEast Schools advanced to the quarterfinals, with Cayman Prep following their 2-0 victory over Triple C and 1-0 win over Savannah Primary. Triple C grabbed third place in the group and the final quarter final spot with a 1-0 victory over the boys from Savannah Primary.
In Zone C, Prospect Primary clinched the group with a 3-2 penalty shootout win over Red Bay Primary and a last minute 3-2 victory over Sir John A. Cumber Primary. Sir John A. Cumber Primary secured second spot in the group and a place in the quarterfinals after defeating Red Bay Primary 1-0.
In the quarterfinals, CIS defeated Sir John A. Cumber Primary 4-0 thanks to three goals from Liam Heffernan and a fourth from Jackson MacKay. Prospect Primary beat George Town Primary 11 2-1 with Joshua Campbell and Johan Lindo grabbing the goals for Prospect and Emile Powell scoring a consolation goal for the boys from the capital. In the third quarterfinal, Cayman Prep squeezed past St. Ignatius Prep 2-1 with Tom Byrne opening the scoring and last year’s Opening Rally MVP Malcolm Hill scoring a late winner after Kyan Okoli had equalized for St. Ignatius Prep. The final quarter final saw NorthEast Schools defeat Triple C 1-0 thanks to a strike from Derek Russell.
In the semifinals, Cayman Prep secured their place in the final after defeating Prospect Primary 3-0 thanks to goals from Jakub Neveril, Tom Byrne and Xavier Marshall, and CIS overcame NorthEast Schools 1-0 with Jackson MacKay blasting in a penalty during regulation time.
Organizers thanked youth officials Francisco Murillo-Johnson, Matthew Bodden, Albertini Holness, Oladapo Bailey, Matthew Rich, Nicholas Chung and Alexia Bromfield, “who did a superb job controlling the games throughout the day” and to Dwayne Ebanks and Chastine Rankine, “who kept a watchful eye over the young officials.”
The 2016/2017 PFL and GPFL regular seasons begin Saturday, Oct. 8, at primary schools and fields across the island.
For more information on the Primary Football League, call Neil Murray on 914-1110 or 925-8793.