St Pat’s Town win premier youth football title

St Patrick’s College, Wellington’s first XI was happy just to be back in premier youth football.

The team had battled away in the second-tier division one for the last two seasons, so had set their early goal as making it back to the top flight.

But with that achieved, they then went on to shock the division, winning last Wednesday’s final 2-1 against two-time defending champions Hutt International Boys’ School. It was the first time since 2004 they captured the Trevor Rigby Cup, when current All White Kosta Barbarouses was in the squad as a 14-year-old.

The magnitude of the win was not lost on captain Sam Wright.

“Our goal at the start of the season was just to make the premier division because the last couple of years we have missed out, so it was pretty amazing [to win it].

The team was swamped by fans after the final whistle, with a healthy Town crowd travelling out to the neutral venue of Petone Memorial Park last Wednesday.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime game for most of us,” he said, referring to noise created by their raucous fans.

“A couple of the rugby boys and [director of sport] Jonathan Millmow really encouraged people to come. There was a bus that went out and the atmosphere was amazing.”

The game was level at 0-0 at halftime before Manyumow Achol opened the scoring early in the second 45 minutes.

“Manny got the opener for us and the game kind of opened up,” Wright said.

“We got more confidence, scored another goal [to Liberato Cacace]. With a few minutes to go they scored a goal to bring it to 2-1, but we managed to hold out for the win.”

Town are also back in the top division for nationals, which will be played at Park Island in Napier next week.

The draw was reasonably kind to them as they avoided some of the heavyweight schools. They have St Peter’s College (Auckland), Lincoln High School and Tauranga Boys’ College.

Wright said they would be focusing on their own game, with not a lot known about their opposition.

“Ideally, we’d like to initially make the round of 16 and then go from there I guess.”

They will be joined at the national tournament by Hibs, Tawa College, Wellington College and Scots College.

Meanwhile, Wellington Girls’ College and Hutt Valley High School will meet in the Wellington girls’ final on Wednesday night. Those teams will be joined by St Mary’s College at nationals at Crown Park in Taupo next week.

 – Stuff