In the Northern Provincial Inter School Football Tournament held at the grounds of Jaffna St. John’s College, u16 championship was secured by St. Patrick’s College Jaffna while St. Xavier’s College from Mannar clinched the u18 title.
Championship Match (U16)
St. Lucia College, Mannar and St. Patrick’s College, Jaffna played an exciting final in the u16 division at St. John’s College grounds.
From the first minute, this match had all what the spectators demanded. Young players showcased their individual excellence in the early phases of the match. In the 14th minute, A. P. Thilashan scored the opening goal for St. Patrick’s College. That significant strike separated the sides when the referee blew the half time whistle.
St. Lucia College started the second half brightly in their quest for an equalizer. However, the attacking players couldn’t convert the half chances they have had. Credit should be given to the defenders of St. Patrick’s College as they worked as a group to see off the dangers. During the last few minutes of the play, they defended in numbers and held onto the early lead.
At full time, St Patrick’s College won by a goal to nil. They were crowned as champions amidst the loud cheers of the spectators.
3rd Place Match
Renowned school in football arena Ilavalai St. Henry’s College took the challenge to the flying debutants Imaiyaanan Government Tamil Mixed Vidyalayam. St. Henry’s started the game on top as they scored back to back in the 9th and 17th minutes through Dishanth and Jelexan. Continuous dominance on the field saw them leading by two goals to nil at the half time.
Imaiyaanan G.T.M. Vidyalayam probably had received an unsurpassed half time talk that reflected evidently in the uplifting of the quality of football in the second half. They came out all guns blazing, punching above their weights as they have been doing whole tournament and netted two goals through Dinesh and Divansujan. No team could find the winning goal so the penalty shootout decided the winners. Composed and experienced St. Henry’s College beat their opponents 4-3 on penalties.
Championship Match (U18)
Following U16 matches, the most anticipated U18 matches were played. This age group normally has the evolving youngsters so many local football clubs were also gathered around to hunt unknown talents. Jaffna Central College played Mannar St. Xavier’s College in the final.
In the first half, both teams displayed some aggressive football. Many chances were created at both ends but the defending was equally good and no goals had been scored. However, the crowd enjoyed the display and supported in loud voice. Some costly mistakes by the aggressive players also didn’t help.
Second half added a different flavour of play. Early phases of the second half was bossed in the midfield by Mannar St. Xavier’s but the last few minutes saw Jaffna Central knocking at the door. However, no player could break the deadlock within the game time as strong defensive display was exhibited by both teams. The goalkeepers had a very busy day at work but both of them were up to the task. The wasted opportunities added to the wounds.
In the penalty shootout, St. Xavier’s College from Mannar beat Jaffna Central College 3-2. Very little margins decided the winner of U18.
3rd Place Match
Jaffna St. Patrick’s College and Kilinochchi Chettikulam Maha Vidyalayam played for the bronze. The team from Kilinochchi applied immense pressure in the first half and raised a few eyebrows. They totally controlled the possession and thus controlled the chances of the opponents to score. At half time, the match was heading towards a goalless draw.
St. Patrick’s approached the second half in a very different way. They started to attack more, scored three quick goals to put the match to the bed. Shocked after conceding three within a short time, Kilinochchi Chettikulam side couldn’t react positively. Jaffna St. Patrick’s College won the third place match by three goals to nil.