NLSA Molson Challenge Cup

Monday, November 10, 2014

2014 Challenge Cup/ Jubilee Trophy National Report

Gord Dunphy

The  National Club Challenge Cup/Jubilee Championships run  from October 8-13,2014 and was hosted in Vaughn, Ontario. It was a super tournament with both teams representing the NLSA performing exceptional.Holy Cross:  In the Sr. Men’s Challenge Cup Division all ten provinces and the NWT were represented. The host Ontario also were permitted a second entry to have a twelve team schedule.
The structure for the tournament was a  four division format comprised of three teams in each division.  Holy Cross/Kirby were  the NLSA representatives. They were grouped with the Saskatchewan and Quebec representatives. In Holy Cross’s opening match, NL were upset as Saskatchewan defeated NL by a 2-0 score. Holy Cross came back with revenge in their second contest as they upset the 2012  National Challenge Cup Champions from Quebec by a 1-0 score. This victory put Holy Cross on to a quarter final play-off. Holy Cross faced the host Ontario Provincial champions in the quarter final and what a game it would turn out to be. Holy Cross opening the scoring early in the contest. Ontario tied the contest late in the first half and then went up 2-1 relatively early in the second half . Then Holy Cross dug down, and clinched the tying goal late at the end of regulation for a 2-2 final at the end of regulation. As CSA rules state, a tie would send the game directly to a penalty kick –shoot out. It took both teams to have seven shots each before Ontario won.  What a heartbreaker!!  The following day, Holy Cross dominated the representatives from New Brunswick and beat their reps by a 2-0 score. In Holy Cross’s  final match they were playing against British Columbia, and had gone up on the BC reps 4-2 in the second half before BC tied the game at 4-4 before the end of regulation. This time Holy Cross prevailed and scored on all of their 5 penalty shots and won the match by a 5-4 score and clinched 5th place.  It was a great finish. It was a great tournament by the NL Men’s Holy Cross team. Holy Cross showed they belonged, and above all, they have earned the respect of the nation. They realize they lost to the 2014 National Challenge Cup champions on pk’s. Certainly a remarkable effort by coach Jake Stanford and his 2014 Holy Cross Team.
Kirby United: In the Sr. Women’s Jubilee Trophy Division seven provinces were represented. There were no teams from PEI, Saskatchewan or New Brunswick . As a result of only seven provinces entering, as in the men’s division, the host Ontario team were permitted a second team. The structure for the Jubilee National Tournament was different. It had just the two divisions with groups of four in each division. The NL entry were seeded with both teams from Ontario and the Alberta Rep. Kirby United opened up the tournament with a fine showing against the Ontario Provincial Champions and tied the host 1-1. In Kirby United’s second contest they faced a very strong team from Alberta and through pure determination they again tied a very strong team. This time it was a 2-2 score. However, in game three, it was all Kirby United when they defeated Ontario #2 by a very one-sided 3-1 score. Ontario just managed to score their one goal in the dying moments of the game. These two ties and their victory placed NL second in their group and paired them up against the second place team in the other division for a Bronze Medal showdown.  However, in the Bronze Medal contest NL’s opponents from Quebec took it to the Kirby United and they defeated the NL entry by a 2-0 score. In the end it was a very similar occurrence for the Kirby United NL team. They too earned respect and showed the nation that they belong and can compete with the best in the country. They also realize that they played the 2014 National Jubilee Champions to a 2-2 score in their round robin game. And again, we had a remarkable showing by our NL coach Dragan Mirkivoc and his Kirby United Team.

In concluding I must add, I was very proud to be Newfoundland and Labrador rep at this national tournament. Again, my hat goes off to both NL coaches and their team's performances on and off the field. Both clubs played remarkable and were true ambassadors. I would like to thank Ontario Soccer, you were great hosts. I also want to thank the CSA but there is one thing I would like to address and that is I would like to have all Challenge Cup and Jubilee Trophy games played for duration of 90 minutes.

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