MARTIN Cassidy in hoping for a victorious swansong as his seven-year stint in charge of Jersey comes to an end after tomorrow’s 105th Muratti Vase.
Looking for a fifth victory out of six in the showpiece event in the Island’s football calendar, Cassidy is confident his side can come up with the goals needed to bring the famous trophy home from Footes Lane.
The annual duels against Channel Island foes Guernsey have been tight affairs under his tenure, with five of the finals being decided by one goal and a sixth on penalties in Jersey’s favour.
But besides the Muratti wins, Cassidy also guided Jersey to victory in the FA Inter-League Cup in 2021, taking them to the Uefa Regions’ Cup intermediary round and just missing out on a place in the finals.
‘The achievements we have made over the last seven years have been incredible,’ said Cassidy. ‘Probably when I’ve got time to reflect on it I will realise what an amazing job that we’ve all done.
‘I’ve loved working with the best players on the Island but it has also a testament to what goes on at all the clubs which have helped the Jersey FA team be as successful as they have been.’
Cassidy has picked an experienced squad packed with Jersey Bulls regulars.
It also features Grouville marksman Karl Hinds, who scored a record-breaking 47 goals this season. Also making the squad are UK-based James Carr, Harry Curtis and Toby Ritzema, but there is no place for Jack Cannon, ending his dream of becoming the outright most-capped player in Jersey history.
Bulls striker Lorne Bickley also had a prolific season and is expected to partner Hinds up front to provide a real goal threat to the Guernsey defence. However, Cassidy acknowledges that the Guernsey players have been used to playing at a higher level than Bulls and any successful defence of the Muratti in enemy territory is going to be difficult.
‘I expect chances will be few and far between, but we’ve got to concentrate for the whole game and make sure we don’t make any mistakes,’ he said. ‘[Last year] Guernsey certainly had more chances and Euan [Van Der Vliet] made four or five match-winning saves. Every time we tried to get back up the pitch we would get fouled and they were really clever about that.
‘But this year we will try to open them up a bit more and get past their pressing, get into their last third and create chances. We’ve got the players to do that and they are focused and determined to finish the season on a high.
‘There’s not been many goals in the past and I am hoping we can get some goals ourselves but I would be quite happy to win it one-nil and finish on a high. We’ve got good options down both wings so we can get the ball out to wide areas. In midfield we’ve got a lot of energy and we’ve got goals that can come from there.
‘Hopefully, we will get some individual brilliance, good teamwork, create some chances and we come back from an entertaining game with a win.’
It will be the first time the Muratti has been played on Sarnian soil since 2019 when Jersey won 3-1 on penalties after the match finished 0-0 after extra time. The Caesareans then successfully defended the title last year at Springfield thanks to Lorne Bickley’s solo strike in the second half.
Kick-off is at 3pm.
Full squad: Euan Van Der Vliet, Pierce Roche, Jonny Le Quesne, Harry Curtis, Jay Giles, James Carr, James Querée, Luke Campbell, Ben Le Rougetel, Joe Kilshaw, Adam Trotter, Toby Ritzema, Miguel Carvalho, Francis Lekimamati, Karl Hinds, Lorne Bickley
The last ten Muratti results
2022: Jersey 1, Guernsey 0
2019: Guernsey 0 Jersey 0 (Jersey win 3-1 on pens)
2018: Jersey 1, Guernsey 0
2017: Guernsey 2, Jersey 1
2016: Jersey 1, Guernsey 0
2015: Guernsey 2, Jersey 3
2014: Jersey 1-4 Guernsey
2013: Guernsey 2-1 Jersey
2012: Jersey 0-2 Guernsey
2011: Guernsey 1-1 Jersey (Jersey win 3-0 on pens)