The 2018 George best Community Cup
The Jersey Learning Disability football squad recently took part in the 2018 George Best Community Cup in Belfast which is organized by the Irish Football association, with the support of the Mary Peters Trust. The 5-a-side tournament was played outdoors on grass at the Billy Neill Centre of Excellence over the course of two days and nearly sixty teams from Ireland and the UK took part, including some representing league clubs.
The competition was divided into four different bands to suit the ability of those taking part and the first day was set aside for all teams to play a number of grading games. The standard of football was very high and all the Jersey teams had mixed results whilst adapting to the different conditions and larger pitches than those that they train on.
As a result of the grading games, Jersey A were allocated to the second band level and both Jersey B and C teams to the fourth, for the main competition. Both band levels consisted of three groups of teams with each group playing round robin matches and the winners of each group, together with the best runner up from the group bands, going through to play off games.
The Jersey A's first game was against a strong Sutton United team and although Jersey did create a couple of scoring opportunities, they spent most of the game defended their goal and the more experienced opposition won 3-0. The Jersey team lifted themselves for the second game against Solihull, despite conceding the first goal they fought back and playing some good football Jersey deservedly won the game 3-1. The third game against Grove saw both Seb Leonard and Jordan Gautier scoring quality goals in the first half. Grove’s large squad allowed them to make a number of substitutions and their different team applied constant pressure. Despite stout defending and some excellent saves by Scott Graham in the Jersey goal, Grove score twice and the game ended in a 2-2 draw. The final game was against Skem-men, the eventual winners of the band level, and a tired Jersey team were beaten 3-0.
The ability 4 group leagues had seven teams in each and Jersey B and C teams were placed in different leagues had to play six games of eight minutes each. Jersey B played consistently well in all their games with each player playing their part and they went undefeated and did not concede a goal. Their scores were:-
Jersey B 1 - 0 Crusaders
Jersey B 2 - 0 Bradford C
Jersey B 1 - 0 Leek Town B
Jersey B 0 - 0 Millgreen
Jersey B 1 - 0 NUFC
Jersey B 1 - 0 VicHants
With one of the Jersey C players unfortunately badly spraining his ankle, the remaining five players had to battle through all of the games and struggled against some very able and physical teams. Unfortunately the Jersey C team did not win any of their games but the majority were close matches and the highlight was a move involving all the players that resulted in Ryan Jones finding the back of the oppositions net. The Jersey C teams results were:-
Jersey C 0 - 1 Buzz Hub
Jersey C 0 - 3 Charlton
Jersey C 1 - 2 Coleraine
Jersey C 0 - 1 CSP
Jersey C 0 - 0 Bradford
Jersey C 0 - 2 S. Tynes
With the Jersey B topping their group they when through to the semi-final knock out game and were drawn against Wrexham B. After an exciting start to the game which saw both sides hitting the frame work Wrexham broke the deadlock but just before half time a precise pass from Malcolm Motie enabled Ryan Le Monnier to beat the oppositions defense and slot in the equalizer. The second half was end to end but Jersey missed their chances of scoring and Wrexham scored twice to put Jersey out of the competition. Wrexham went on to win the ability level final and because Jersey had won their group, they were awarded third position.
All the coaches were very pleased with the performance of their players and it was difficult to choose the best player awards for each team, but David Collingwood, Charlie Quenault (both making their debuts with the squad) and Chris Green of the A, B and C teams respectively were selected for their overall contribution and effort across the two days. James Lang was also presented with an award for sportsmanship.
The Jersey teams would like to thank the Sir James Knott Trust for their continued financial support, which is essential if they are going to have the opportunity to travel and play against other teams.
The squad trains every Tuesday evening at Les Ormes between 5.45 and 7.15 and anyone interested in taking part should contact Gary Norman on telephone 879033.