Another free scoring side from Jaffna, St. Patrick’s College take on the unpredictable St. Joseph Vaz in the semi-final of the Kotmale U19 Schools’ Football Championship.

The dark horses against the surprise package

St Patrick’s have arguably been one of the tournament’s outstanding teams with their flair and organization. Playing in the Kotmale U19 competition for the first time, they have certainly taken the tournament by storm.

The formidable Northern outfit will be up against one of Sri Lanka’s renowned names in schools’ football circuit in St. Joseph Vaz, Wennappuwa. Even though they fell short against Zahira College in the group stages, St.Joseph Vaz dug deep subsequently to rally their way into the semifinals.

Semi-Final Preview: St.Henry’s – Zahira meets for a second date

St. Patrick’s have been ruthless making a statement as early as their third game of competition handing an absolute pasting to St. Peter’s college, Colombo in their own back yard. This helped establish them as the dark horse of this year’s competition.

Although the spotlight shone on last year’s finalists Zahira College and St. Henry’s College as tournament favorites, St. Patrick’s have succeeded in stamping their mark under the radar. Scoring an outstanding tally of 32 goals paired up with the tournaments best defensive record, the St. Patrick’s lads have proved they aren’t just about filling up the numbers in this year’s competition.

Their opponents for the semifinals are no mugs by any means as they’ve managed a steady record during their endeavors. However prolific presence in front of target with 27 goals, their defensive prowess has been concerning, conceding 13 at the backend with their heaviest defeat coming at the hands of Zahira college, Colombo who put them to the sword in 9-3 drubbing.

St. Patrick’s made the statement of the knockout phase when they came up against a formidable Hameed Al Husseinie setup that were brimming with confidence after their All Island U19 School Games championships title just days prior.

After weathering the early storm, St. Patrick’s showed depth and character to come back from a goal down to seal the deal in a tense shootout which ended 3-1 in their favor.

On the flip side, the St. Joseph Vaz lads had a stroll against Holy Cross College, Kalutara putting four goals past the dismal defense. Despite a late surge, the former managed to clinch their semifinals birth in this year’s championships with relative ease.

The semi-final will prove to be a real struggle for dominance as favorites for this tie, St. Patrick’s College, will have their hands full with the industrious and pacey St.Joseph Vaz forwards.

Key match-ups

Anil Majula v R. Santhan

Playing in an attacking midfield role both these young men made a significant impact during this year’s competition. With the ability to see a pass and darting runs up front, both Anil and Santhan do manage to pop up with the occasional goal for their team.

They have performed consistently sitting at the heart of the midfield as they’ve been the puppeteers pulling the string of magic. Evidently, their impact will be  significant in the semifinal stage for either team to keep their championship hopes alive.

A.Pirunthapan; the human wall

St. Patrick’s defensive exertions should be much credited to the exploits of A. Pirunthapan in

The highlight of his prowess was at the quarter finals when he single handedly carried his team through to the semifinals with 3 outstanding saves in the penalty shootout. With a technique unique to himself he managed to make himself large with his swift running off the mark and territorial coverage.

His leadership at the back is necessary in arranging and holding their defensive shape.