On the face of it, when the whistle blows at the Montego Bay Sports Complex this afternoon at 4 p.m., or whenever, signalling the start of the 2016 Red Stripe Premier League final, promoted team and multiple champions Portmore United should start as favourites. The team, which originated in the parish of Clarendon under the name Hazard before changing base to Portmore in St. Catherine but now straddles both parishes, has been the most consistent this season. That consistency saw them crowned ‘League’ champions as they ended the regular season with the most points and were duly rewarded with the $1m bonus. Additionally, Portmore United have owned Montego Bay United (MBU) on the three occasions that they have met this season. In their match, which marked their return to top-tier football, they defeated Montego Bay United 2-0, with Montego Bay resident Ricardo Morris responsible for one of them. That was followed up with a 1-0 win at the Juici field, courtesy of a Cleon Price strike. Morris was again on the score sheet along with Tramaine Stewart and Mark Alves as Portmore United left Montego Bay with a 3-1 win in the last meeting. QUALITY TEAM Even with the evidence, which is helped by the depth of their available squad, Portmore United coach Jeffrey Hewitt will not accept the favourites’ tag. “To me, MoBay will be starting favourites. This is their third consecutive final and that shows that they are very consistent. They are quality team and their record speaks to that, so no one can take anything away from them,” said Hewitt who was a part of Portmore United’s coaching staff when they won in 2008 and 2012. “Despite that, we are confident in our abilities and what we can do. Yes, we have beaten them in the three matches that we have played so far, but the past does not matter now. What matters is what we do on the day,” added Hewitt. According to the man who distinguished himself at Garvey Maceo, the Portmore United unit is so focused right now that nothing will distract them. Not even the protest action by MBU, which has seen them boycott a number of promotional events leading up to today’s big day and them threatening not to show up for the 4 p.m. start. “We are so focused that we are not entertaining any thoughts of them turning up or not. We are preparing for a 4 p.m. game and we will be showing up for that. “Tomorrow’s game, we are anticipating, will be a very competitive one. It is a final and our players know what is at stake and we have to go out there and compete,” he added. VERY OPEN While the Portmore United camp has been very open, the Montego Bay United camp has not so much as entertained a call or interview request from the media in relation to today’s game. The Sunday Gleaner, however, managed to speak with someone close to the camp. “My players are ready for the game. They have not been distracted by what is going on, and they will be showing,” the source said. “This is the third final that the team has been in, the past three years, and this is important to us. The first year, we won; last year, we came second; and this year, we are going out to win again. “Even if it is nine players, we are going to play them. No team can beat Montego Bay United four times in a season,” the source added. In addition to the record going against them, Montego Bay United have the offfield distractions which could spill over on the field going against them. Add to that the absence of two of their most potent players – Owayne Gordon, the season’s leading scorer to a loan deal, and Dino Williams to an injury. Allan Ottey is the only one available of that pacy and skilful trio. A lot will depend on the former schoolboy star who shone alongside Portmore’s Morris for St James High. Injury kept him out for chunks of the season, but he will have to lead the forward line with support from Cory Hylton. Goalkeeper Jacomena Barrett is a player with a lot to prove as he is a former Portmore United player and conceded three goals in the last match. Losing again will not sit well with him. If he reports in inspired form as he has been on occasion, he could lift his teammates. With almost everything stacked against them, this could be the motivation the Montego Bay United players need to pull off the improbable victory.
DONEGAL JUNIOR LEAGUEBrian Mc Cormick Cup Area Shield FinalsCranford United 1 Glenea United 0Cranford got the better of Glenea in a tight affair in Cranford Park to win the Gweedore Area final. It was a tight game throughout with both defences cutting out any trouble from both forward lines. Keelan Mc Elwaine for Cranford and Darren Mc Geever for Glenea came closest in the first half. The second half was another close contest with both teams struggling to create chances. With the game looking like it was heading to extra time in the 93rd minute Brian mc Veigh turned brilliantly on the edge of the box and fired home to the bottom corner. Mc Veigh and Seamus Mc Laughlin were best for Cranford with Ryan Mc Fadden and Padraig Mc Gee doing well for Glenea. St. Catherines 3 Donegal Town 0St. Catherine’s played Donegal Town in the Area Final in Emerald Park on Sunday. After both sides had created chances the game opened up on thirty six minutes. Brandon Mc Ginley got the ball and ran at the Donegal defence and he got inside where he was fouled. Jason Noctor stepped up and he cooly put the penalty into the back of the Donegal net to put the Saints one nil up. The Saints could have gone two nil up when David Conwell had a chance but it went wide of the Donegal goals and that’s how it stayed till half time. The second half started with the Saints quickest off the mark when on forty seven minutes Brandon Mc Ginley got the ball outside the Donegal town box and he hit a shot into the bottom corner of the Donegal Town net to increase the Saints lead. Donegal then had to take risks to try to get back into the game. They created some chances but they could not find the net. Gary Cunningham had a chance for the Saints but his effort went wide. Donegal had a chance to get on the score sheet when Ted Bustard had a chance but it went wide also. David Conwell got on the score sheet for the Saints in the last minute when he hit an unstoppable shot from outside the box. Best for the Saints were Brandan Mc Ginley and Jason Noctor. Best for Donegal Town were John Paul Byrne, Ted Bustard. Castlefin Celtic 1 Ballybofey United 0In good playing conditions it was a scrappy Area Final at Park View. Both teams found it hard to settle in the first half. The first chance fell to PJ Mc Menamin. JP Malley squared across the box but PJ Browne got down well to save in the Ballybofey net. Chris Darby had Ballybofey’s best chances when he forced Castlefin keeper Anthony O’ Hagan into two great chances to deny him. Chris Darby should have given Ballybofey the lead before half time but his brilliant strike from the right wing was excellently saved by Anthony O’Hagan. Castlefin started the brighter of the second half when a Dominic Mc Glinchey free kick from 25 yards hit of the crossbar. Darby had the best chance of the game in the 70th minute only for Anthony O’Hagan to save when one on one. With 10 minutes remaining Castlefin found a breakthrough and the winner PJ Mc Menamin’s long ball from the back line found Barry Tourish. Tourish went on himself to finish low in the bottom corner giving PJ Browne no chance. Ballybofey searched for an equaliser, but Ryan Kelly’s excellent strike from the edge of the box curled slightly wide. JP Malley had the final chance of the game as he tried to round PJ Browne in the Ballybofey net only for Browne to do well and gather the ball. Referee: Kevin Logue Best for Castlefin: Michael Dunnion. Best for Ballybofey: Chris Darby and Shaun McGowan Bonagee United 5 Rathmullan Celtic 1Bonagee were one up in the first minute when Aiden Mc Laughlin put Darren Ashmore through and the striker hammered home from the edge of the box. Rathmullan came close on fifteen minutes when a David Miller cross from the right was headed wide by Dara Patton from six yards. Bonagee got their second on twenty minutes when Frank Mc Brearty played a great ball wide to Lee Mc Monagle and his cross into the box was headed home by Ashmore. Rathmullan came close on twenty five when Dara Patton saw his strike come of the post from just inside the box. Both Patton and Coyle for the visitors came close on forty nine and fifty minutes only to see their strikes on goal go over the bar from close range. Frank Mc Breathy made it three on fifty three minutes after good work from Paddy Mc Gowan who found him on the edge of the box and after beating the defender he hammered home from just inside the box. Rathmullan brought on Ryan Connelly and Caolan Kelly and Carr in the home goal made two great save from Connelly on sixty minutes and again three minutes later. Ashmore got his third on seventy four minutes. After a great through ball from Lee Mc Monagle he hammered the ball to the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the box. Ashmore got his fourth on eighty minutes when again he was put through by Mc Monagle and he rounded the keeper and shot home from ten yards. Ryan Connelly came close on eighty three minutes only to see Carr in the home goal turn his strike round the post. Rathmullan’s goal came from the penalty spot on eighty eight minutes. Dara Patton made no mistake from the spot kick. Team effort by both sides with Darren Ashmore man of the match. Referee: Con Mc Laughlin. DONEGAL LEAGUE – ALL THE RESULTS was last modified: August 24th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Donegal League