A super double strike from Shiva Boys’ Hindu College midfield general Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel settled the 2017 Coca Cola National Intercol final this evening, the “Penal Princes” downing defending champions San Juan North Secondary 2-0 at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
It meant a maiden National Intercol title for Shiva Boys, whose Premier Division title challenge was derailed by backroom mismanagement after errors in the registration of midfielder Kierron Mason and left-back Matthew Beal.
Shiva Boys will compete in the second tier Championship Division next season and, remarkably, this evening’s contest was the third time in four years that a relegation-bound team lifted the Intercol trophy. Mucurapo East Secondary did it in 2014 and San Juan North in 2016—although the latter team managed to stay up thanks to boardroom manoeuvring.
Today, before another 3,000-strong crowd in Couva, San Juan rarely looked like repeating their feat from last year and mostly troubled Shiva from set pieces. Last year’s National Intercol final match-winner Brandon Semper cut a frustrating figure for most of the contest, and time and time again, he and his attacking partner Renaldo Boyce were made to tough it out against the Shiva backline.
Although on Friday Boyce had emphatically stated that the National Intercol trophy would be heading to the East with the boys from Bourg Mulatresse, today proved to be Shiva’s date with destiny.
Last Thursday, the Penal Princes took their fans through a rollercoaster of emotions when they battled back from a one-goal deficit to get past Carapichaima East Secondary on penalty kicks. And while some extra palpitations would have been caused by Quinn Rodney’s dazzling runs down the left flank and a 38th minute Pappy effort that crashed off the bar after a fingertip save by San Juan keeper Shawndell Byer, today’s contest was easier to stomach for the faint-hearted among the Shiva contingent.
Pappy saw to that in the second half, producing two clinical left-footed strikes in the 68th and 79th minutes to settle the outcome.
Shiva coach Hayden Ryan could not be a happier man.
“It’s a feeling of jubilation right now and I can’t finish expressing that enough,” Ryan said. “I told the boys in the room that one team will be crying after the last whistle and I knew that it would not be us because we were ready for this game and we showed Trinidad and Tobago and the world that we were ready for this game.”
The first golden swing of Pappy’s left boot came after substitute Tyrell Baptiste dispossessed a San Juan defender just outside the area before passing to the speedy Rodney. And while San Juan coach Jerry Moe suggested that his players shot themselves in the foot with the defensive error, a gleeful Pappy made no mistake, receiving Rodney’s accurate square pass from the left before kissing his shot off the base of the post and into the back of the net.
“The first goal was as a result of a mistake and we were chasing the game for the second goal so that didn’t really matter,” Moe told Wired868. “But the first goal was the turning point in the game.” More