When we read in the Punch of Monday 29th June 2015 that St Gregory’s College, Ikoyi had defeated St Finbarr’s College, Akoka to win the Lagos State Secondary School Cup now tagged Masters Cup, it was really no news but like a blow below the belt or Mike Tyson’s biting off the ear of Evander Holyfield in a world Heavyweight Boxing bout, memories of an event that happened over 50 years ago came alight like a sonic boom. We recall in the middle 60s how St Gregory’s College had played a very competitive football match at the Onikan Stadium against St Finbarrs College and had won the game 2-1 to proceed to the next round of the Principals Cup, as it was then known. A snitch had sneezed and the St Finbarr’s students had learnt that the Gregorians had travelled over 60 kilometres to Otta, then a sleepy town in Western Nigeria, to procure the assistance of a juju merchant who had then supplied them with the otunmopor or ekurube, a native and local talisman, to ensure victory on the field on D-day over St Finbarrs College by the margin of “fobale” (ad victoriam plus one). This meant even if St Finbarr’s scored ten goals, St Gregory’s would reply with eleven goals and so on. St Finbarr’s had an impregnable and overwhelmingly superior team deftly and expertly coached and managed by Rev. Father Denis Slattery, the Irish Roman Catholic priest who was the founding Principal of that second best Catholic secondary school in Lagos. Father Slattery’s name was already carved in gold and was a household name, soccer lover and administrator extraordinaire who was determined, having groomed the best secondary school in Lagos in soccer, to win the school cup that year. When the grapevine jive hit Father Slattery who had lived in Nigeria and amongst Lagosians for decades and had succumbed to belief in the occult, he became highly agitated and vexed, and in his uncontrolled angst, took the matter to Rev. Fathers McCarthy, McAndrew, McGuiness and Carroll, the St Gregory’s Sports Master, supplied prima facie proof of evidence of the visit to Otta by the Gregorian players for the dastardly, diabolic and despicable liaison with local babalawos to ensure the defeat of his Finbarrs boys. How Roman Catholic Reverend Fathers, all expatriate Irish men, would believe such hogwash, balderdash and baloney, we do not know, but believe they did as they took umbrage and set up a probe where they received, as Roman Catholic Reverend Fathers are wont to do, as Father Confessors, confessions, admissions and attestations by the young lads of St Gregory’s College—the exorcist was at work. The young teenagers were all suspended from St Gregory’s College by the school authorities and they could not play for St Gregory’s team in the next round, which the team duly lost. St Gregory’s had a good team and some of the players were Charles Njoku, son of former Minister of Transport, Dr Raymond Njoku, Lati Gomez, son of Justice Gomez, George Amu, son of a Police Commissioner and now Arch Bishop, late Chris Okwudibonye, son of a Police Superintendent, Ade Fabiyi, Ladi Asenuga, Wangana Ugochukwu, Emmanuel Ehiemua, Benjamin Ohieri, son of Police Superintendent and now Medical Director of the Ebola famed First Consultant Hospital. We do not recall nor would we wish to name those who were suspended in an event of over 50 years ago. Some of the Gregorians of that era were Peter Tabiowo, Papa Sagoe, Fela Mash, Soga Sofola, Joe Molokwu, Francis Ajie, Bisi Igbon, Bayo Marquis, Hillary Cardoso, Ladi Akintola, Deji Balogun, Yinka Renner, Wale Rhodes-Vivour, Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, Dr Fatai Animashaun, Sir Victor Uwaifo, Patrick Njoku, Edmund Akpala, Yemi Magnus-Williams, Soji Thomas, Prof Andrew Ikpoh, Steve Oransanye Snr; I. K. Oransanye, Jide Akerele, Steve Omojafor, Mike Binitie, Peter Binitie, Biodun Binitie, Canice Etoh, Akin Januario, Bob Agim, Victor Damole, Emmanuel Ebube, Charles Eze, Bolaji Abosede, Steve Mumuni, Adeniyi Ademola, Robert Victor Edet, Robert Antigha, Funso Williams, Tokunbo Pearse, Eugene Juwah, Oyekan Adele, Gbadebo Akisanya, Victor Abebe, Femi Vaughan, Chief Abiola Johnson and Folarin Payne. The Punch article is reproduced below:
St. Gregory’s College on Friday defeated St. Finbarr’s College 3-1 to lift the 2015 GTBank Masters Cup trophy for the first time at the Onikan Stadium, Lagos.
The match, which was preceded by the women’s final between Queens College and Ansar Ud-Deen Girls College, lived up to its billing as it kept the fans on the edge of their seats throughout the duration.
The women’s final was no less entertaining as the first 45 minutes of their encounter produced two goal apiece.
The more enterprising Queens College, however, rose to the occasion in the second half to nail their opponents with a third goal to win the tournament for the third time running.
In the boys’ final, St Finbarr’s were the more aggressive as their efforts yielded a goal through Ayoka Kingsley. However, that did not last for long as St. Gregory drew level in the first half through Otetah Emmanuel.
St Gregory dominated in the second half and extended their lead through Adegbamigbe Toyosi. Not long after, David Obi netted their third goal to seal victory for the champions.
The winners in both categories went home with N750,000 each, trophies and medals. The runners-up and third-placed teams also got medals and cash prizes of N500,000 and N350,000.00 respectively.
Meanwhile, President of St Gregory’s College Old Boys Association, Dr. John Abebe, has promised cash rewards and scholarship awards for all members of the school football team that won the Masters Cup. He also extended the monetary incentive to their coaches.