St. Mary’s SC emerged champions in Division II in 2015 before they reached the quarterfinal of Division I in just the following season. This year, exhibiting exponential improvement, they are on the verge of entering Division 1 and FA Cup finals.
In 2015, St. Mary’s enjoyed a clean sweep of trophies, winning the ‘Vadakkin Vallavan’, ‘ Pudhiya Vidiyal’, ‘Milo’, ‘Arali A.S’, ‘Mattuvil Valarmathi’ and ‘Urumpirai St Michaels’ before capturing the Division 2 championship, beating New Youngs XI SC in the final at Ariyalai Football Training Center. There was nothing to separate the two teams at the final whistle but St. Mary’s SC held their nerve in the all-important penalty shoot-out and claimed the championship.
In their first season after the promotion from Division II, St. Mary’s had tough demands. They won ‘Thikkam Youth Cup’ in Jaffna as they beat the then reigning champions Moragesmulla United SC two goals to one. However, in the corresponding away fixture, they were defeated by two goals to nil.
They were drawn against Pelicans SC in the quarterfinals of the 1st division. An unconvincing 2-0 defeat saw their exit from the tournament. Successive injuries to their key players had played its role in the downfall of the club.
This season has been nothing short of a fairy tale story for St. Mary’s. They’ve egistered just one defeat in the entire season and they also reached the semi-final of ‘Pudhiya Vidiyal’ of Dan TV. This paved the way for an exciting start to their campaign this year.
In the FA Cup tournament, they beat Puttalam Liverpool SC and Wimbledon SC, to book a place in the quarterfinal, where they will have to see the better of Super Sun SC.
Key players Jude and Jenat are still injured and sidelined. Two youngsters – Mathivathanan and Rexno (captain of Jaffna Central College) – have been in fine form of late and lethal in front of the goal.
Jackson has undergone a tactical switch as he was instructed to take a new role in midfield. Last year’s Under 23 national player Nitharshan is ever reliable and Ebiron Jude provides more support to the midfield. Charles, Amiton, Joniton and Francis also add flavour.
St. Mary’s strength is their defence unit that comprises of the club captain Uniton, James, Sutharshan, Niro and Johnson. Sutharshan keeps the goal. In-form players Nitharshan, Charles, Ebiron and Rexno make St. Mary’s an exciting outfit to watch.
Key players – Mariyadas Nitharsan, Anton Charles, Antony Uniton, Jackson
Recently appointed Surendran is one of the leading coaches in Jaffna. More positive and aggressive changes are expected under his reign at this club.
Their biggest challenge is squad depth. Especially when their key players are injured, the quality on the bench isn’t good enough. Therefore, the performance is dependent on the first XI. Developing a long term solution to address squad depth is the main challenge left on the new coach’s desk.
In their 75 years of existence, the club have never had their own grounds to train at. This has been a huge blockage in the development of players and youth. Though concerns were raised even at ministry levels, no solution has been reached.
Players are mainly from Navanthurai. Most of them play for leisure. Though they are in Division 1, the team lacks professional footballers who are tactically well drilled. Without sponsors’ support, these players suffer a lot financially to participate in inter district football matches.
FA Cup tournament cannot feature foreign players this season. Taking this rule to their advantage, reaching the final is the main objective of St. Mary’s. Exploiting their national level experience, they believe in winning the division 1 league as well and entering the Dialog Champions League next season.