A hero comes through

John
John Browne
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Kelly's goal lifts St. Lawrence over Feildians in tighter-than-expected contest

Richard Kelly has a young fan from Marystown who thinks the world of the veteran St. Lawrence Laurentians' striker.

Kelly didn't disappoint Devin Foote on Sunday.

Kelly, who has numerous big goals over his long career, scored the winning goal in a the Labatt Laurentians' 1-0victory over Feildians Ernst and Young Orenda in the Molson Challenge Cup provincial men's soccer final at King George V Park.

Richard Kelly (9) of the St. Lawrence Laurentians slips a shot into the net as Feildians' goalkeeper Matthew Prim stretches in vain to make the save during the Molson Challenge Cup provincial men's soccer championship game Sunday at King George V Park in

Richard Kelly has a young fan from Marystown who thinks the world of the veteran St. Lawrence Laurentians' striker.

Kelly didn't disappoint Devin Foote on Sunday.

Kelly, who has numerous big goals over his long career, scored the winning goal in a the Labatt Laurentians' 1-0victory over Feildians Ernst and Young Orenda in the Molson Challenge Cup provincial men's soccer final at King George V Park.

As the other Laurentian players were receiving their gold medals, Kelly was kneeling down next to Devin to pose for a picture. Then, the two were asked to stand together and turn their backs for another picture to show off the young boy's No. 9 blue jersey with 'Kelly' on the back.

Kelly said Devin called him last week to congratulate him and wish him luck in the final. Before the championship game, Kelly got a team ball and had everyone on the Laurentians sign it and then he gave it to Foote before the game.

Kelly, 27, who was limited to seven games this season due to work commitments in Grand Bank, says he still has a passion for soccer and worked out on his own to keep in shape with the rest of his teammates, almost all of whom live in the St. John's metro area.

He said his team knew Feildians had pride and would rebound from the 5-0 loss in the playoff opener Friday night, a win that earned the Laurentians a bye to the final.

"We knew it was going to be tough today because they (Feildians) had nothing to lose," said the five-foot-seven Kelly. "We didn't expect any team to just give us the game."

A crowd of about 2,000 took in the final, which was played in perfect weather conditions. They watched as the Laurentians earned their fourth straight Challenge Cup title and the right to represent the province at the nationals Oct. 8-13 in St. John's.

"We didn't come out strong out of the gate," noted Kelly, "But we have a really strong defence with Ryan (Slaney), Marc (Pittman) and (goalie) John Douglas. We needed to control the ball a little more in the second half and I felt we did that."

St. Lawrence coach Derek Strang said he also knew they were going to face a different Feildian team Sunday.

"It was difficult for us because expectations were so high after our first game," Strang said.

"Our players were tight today," he admitted. "They weren't relaxed. As the game went on at 1-0, the tighter we got. We just gave up possession too quickly and allowed them to come at us. We held on basically."

Still, the Laurentians' experience and penchant for winning close games was good enough again on this day.

"We knew if we stayed focused and didn't make any crucial mistakes we can hold off any team," said Strang. "That's what we did today. Our defence worked for us. They (Feildians) didn't penetrate us... we kept them outside. We they sent balls over our defence, John (keeper John Douglas) kept punching them out."

It was a bitter pill for the Double Blues to swallow, especially since they seemed poised to pull off an upset.

"I don't know really what to say," said Feildians' Steve Croft. "It was a team effort... We could have done it. They are a good team but we showed them we could play with them. We had our chances."

Feildians had their chances

The game could have turned out differently if one of those chances - a 25-yard blast by Croft at the 23-minute mark had been two inches lower. Instead the ball, which had Laurentians goalkeeper smacked off the crossbar and the teams stayed tied until the last minute of the first half when Kelly, who had missed early in the game, put the winner past Matthew Prim.

The goal came just moments after some Feildian players felt a Laurentian player had handled the ball inside the penalty area.

Referee Mike Edmunds correctly ruled it was ball-to-hand and let the play continue.

However, a few Feildians players were still arguing the call when the Laurentians moved the ball quickly up the field, where it eventually found Kelly's boot. His low shot to the far corner gave Prim no chance to make a save as Croft desperately tried to block the ball's path to the net.

"We were unlucky after the hand-ball play and they went up the field to score," said Feildians all-star midfielder David Webb, who was not at his best.

"That was definitely the turning point in the game. But we're not going to reflect on that. The referee has been great all year."

Webb said the Feildians needed to change their game plan, which hadn't been too effective against the Laurentians all season.

"We realized we played them the same way six times this year, but we haven't really competed so we came in with a different game plan today (one up front and an extra man at midfield) and we gave them something to think about. But," he added, "sometimes you need a little luck."

"This means a lot," said St. Lawrence striker Mike Howlett after receiving his medal and being named playoff MVP.

"Getting a chance to play in the nationals at home is the only reason I'm playing this year. I'm a bit past my prime at 34 years old," he added with a laugh.

Prim and Douglas were standouts, along with Double Blues' Kevin Oram and Zach Hynes. St. lawrence veterans Howlett, who was also the regular-season MVP, and Rudy Norman had their moments and a strong Laurentian backline, that bent but never broke, stood out as a unit.

jbrowne@thetelegram.com




Game summary/awards

Championship game
St. Lawrence 1, Feildians 0
Scoring: Richard Kelly (44 minutes)
Shutout: John Douglas
Referee: Mike Edmunds
Cards (all yellow): St. Lawrence: Richard Kelly, Darren Pike, Mike Howlett, Andrew Perrott; Feildians: Ian Power, Steve Croft
---
Individual awards
Gerard Quirke Award (playoff MVP): Mike Howlett ,St. Lawrence
Keith Storey CBC Award (most-spirited player): Matthew Prim Feildians

Organizations: Labatt, Molson, Grand Bank

Geographic location: Marystown, St. John's, King George V Park

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Comments

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Recent comments

  • Terry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    I just wanted to re-comment on this topic. I want to say to Mike Edmunds (Referee) that he did call a good game( with the one exception), and from what I hear a good season. But the point is that the situation of a Hand ball inside the box that was blatant, should have been called. I have no bias here as I didn't care who won the game, but it certainly made a difference.... I will have to look at the ball to hand reference made in this article. Perhaps the rules have changed since I have played...

  • Keith
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    You can`t make a call on something like that which was accidential and could ruin a good game. In saying that but was there also a hand ball on the other team that wasn`t called for the same reason. But I guess you never seen that.

  • SoccerFan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Taken directly from 'FIFA 2008 Laws of the Game'..

    A direct free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player
    commits any of the following three offences:
    holds an opponent
    spits at an opponent
    handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area)


    In neither the case of the handball on the Laurentians or on the Fieldians did it appear that it was deliberate - simply a case of the ball hitting a hand/arm.

    The referee made the CORRECT calls.

    Congrats to the Laurentians and best of luck at Nationals!!!

  • Sam
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    If you had a dollar for every referee's call that 'unbelievably' went St. Lawrence's way over the history of the Challenge Cup you would be rich!
    They aren't that good and they'll never win a National title!

  • Mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    That Called should have been made if a Ref cant make the right calls in big games do to fear of out comes and backlash from the boot then he has no business doing the game in the first place it was gutless... The rules dont change do to importance of the game! theres not a special index in the rule book for Championship games! He would have made that call any other time ... that makes him gutless

  • Terry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    The Referee should have called the hand ball. I was at the game and didn't care who won. It was right in front of him and he didn't have the nerve to make the call!!!

    Don't let guys referee games that can't make big decisions!!!!

  • Bob
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Why can't you just be happy for St. Lawrence? They deserved to win. They have a shot at winning a medal at nationals, do you really think Felidans would have?

  • Terry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    I just wanted to re-comment on this topic. I want to say to Mike Edmunds (Referee) that he did call a good game( with the one exception), and from what I hear a good season. But the point is that the situation of a Hand ball inside the box that was blatant, should have been called. I have no bias here as I didn't care who won the game, but it certainly made a difference.... I will have to look at the ball to hand reference made in this article. Perhaps the rules have changed since I have played...

  • Keith
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    You can`t make a call on something like that which was accidential and could ruin a good game. In saying that but was there also a hand ball on the other team that wasn`t called for the same reason. But I guess you never seen that.

  • SoccerFan
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    Taken directly from 'FIFA 2008 Laws of the Game'..

    A direct free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player
    commits any of the following three offences:
    holds an opponent
    spits at an opponent
    handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his own penalty area)


    In neither the case of the handball on the Laurentians or on the Fieldians did it appear that it was deliberate - simply a case of the ball hitting a hand/arm.

    The referee made the CORRECT calls.

    Congrats to the Laurentians and best of luck at Nationals!!!

  • Sam
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    If you had a dollar for every referee's call that 'unbelievably' went St. Lawrence's way over the history of the Challenge Cup you would be rich!
    They aren't that good and they'll never win a National title!

  • Mike
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    That Called should have been made if a Ref cant make the right calls in big games do to fear of out comes and backlash from the boot then he has no business doing the game in the first place it was gutless... The rules dont change do to importance of the game! theres not a special index in the rule book for Championship games! He would have made that call any other time ... that makes him gutless

  • Terry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    The Referee should have called the hand ball. I was at the game and didn't care who won. It was right in front of him and he didn't have the nerve to make the call!!!

    Don't let guys referee games that can't make big decisions!!!!

  • Bob
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Why can't you just be happy for St. Lawrence? They deserved to win. They have a shot at winning a medal at nationals, do you really think Felidans would have?