We spoke to Erin Barnett about Gibraltar United’s Rock Cup semi-final win, his season so far and more.
Barnett reflected on his teams performance after their 1-0 win over Mons Calpe, “I feel that the performance from the whole team was exactly as we had planned. We have spent a lot of hours preparing on the training ground for this important game, and i am glad that our hard work paid off. Being a Semi Final, We knew that it was going to be a very tight game between two similarly matched sides, and we are extremely happy as a team to have been able to take our chances and progress to the final. It was an extremely disciplined performance from the whole team, from 1 to 11, and i feel that keeping a clean sheet was fundamental in ensuring that we won the game.”
Gibraltar United will play Europa in the Gibtelecom Rock Cup final with the winner heading to the Europa League. We asked how it felt to have another shot at European football after missing out on it on the final day of last season, “To be honest, missing out on european football last season in such circumstances was extremely difficult, and therefore, to be able to have another huge opportunity this season is extremely rewarding and is fruits of the hard work that the whole team has put in. It still hurts when i think back to last season, and this certainly gives us that extra drive and determination going in to the final this year.”
Currently sitting fifth in the league with five games to go and now in the Rock Cup final – Barnett reflected on his sides season so far, “The season this year has been very strange. There has been many difficult and challenging times throughout the season, and as a result there has been many changes within the team. If we are completely honest with ourselves, this season has been rather disappointing in terms of our league position, and especially considering how we started the season. Nevertheless, winning the Rock Cup will make it an extremely successful season, and therefore, we will use the next six weeks to recover and prepare ourselves in order to give us the best possible chance of winning.”
The side, who are currently second in the
Premier Division, undertook the activities as part of their community
Liam Walker, Tjay De Barr, Ethan Jolley,
Dayle Coleing and Mikey Yome visited the hospital today, after a visit to
Europa’s youth team training sessions, handing out Easter eggs to both the
youth players and the children in the Rainbow Ward of the hospital, as well as
spending time with those in the ward.
Europa Sporting Director Eddie Yome had
this to say about today’s visits from their local first team players: “Europa
strongly believes that our senior players need to take time to give back to our
community and supporting our youngsters so that they are seen as role models as
they grow in our football family.”
After being part of
the Europa side that reached the Gibtelecom Rock Cup final, we caught up with
Europa and Gibraltar international defender Ethan Jolley to get his thoughts on
the game, his season so far and more.
Europa saw off Phoenix 4-1 on Tuesday,
despite going down to 10 men after an hour and giving away two penalties in the
game – how did Jolley feel the game went for his side? “I felt the team played
well, considering we had a man down after 60 minutes, and still managed to
control the game most of the time. There’s still room for improvement as a team
collectively but the outcome was a win which was our main aim.”
This is the fourth season in a row Europa
have made the final of the cup, and last year Jolley featured off the bench in
their 2-1 success over Mons Calpe in the final – what are the 22-year old’s
thoughts on reaching another final? “Apart from all behind the scenes we
deserve some credit not just the players but staff. It’s always good reaching
the finals of the cup, any game we play is just as important but after playing in
last year’s finals you can always tell there’s a sensation to it, especially
when its one game away from lifting silverware.”
Jolley’s team-mate for club and country,
Tjay De Barr, is top scorer in the cup with seven goals, and is very likely to
end the tournament in that position as well – how highly does the defender rate
his team-mate? “Well, Tjay De Barr is the kind of player anyone would want in their
team. He plays with the passion and desire and that’s what a team needs. He has
all the attributes a player needs, and in training you can tell he wants to get
better and keep progressing. You can tell he is learning and progressing from
the results he is getting as a player, and helping out the team. He is one of
those players that has been vital for the club this season. I must say to keep
an eye out (on De Barr).”
The increase in the HGP rule has seen
Jolley’s minutes on the pitch already increase from the whole of last season –
with five league games and a cup final to go, and in turn led to him making his
international debut in the final minutes against Estonia last month. How does Jolley
rate his own personal season? “My season all round has been good. As a player
you always want to get minutes and play to the best of your ability.
Individually I have been training and working hard to get the best possible
outcome in games and I can say I feel good playing and doing what I love most.
Every season a player must aim to achieve something greater than the last and
this season I think I have. This is my second consecutive season with my club
Europa, I am happy with my game time, happy with the results as a team and
happy with the performances.”
Northern Ireland produced a second half comeback to stun Gibraltar and come from two goals down to win 3-2 in an action packed match at the Tercentenary Sports Hall.
After losing their opening game on Saturday 3-0, Gibraltar came into the game hoping to get revenge. The early stages were a very even contest with both keepers called into action.
As the game went on, Tiffany Viagas started to see more of the ball and was pulling the strings in all of Gibraltar’s attacks. Halfway through the first half and Gibraltar broke the deadlock through Kayleigh Ferro.
Gibraltar goalkeeper Caitlin Robba made a good save shortly after, to keep out a shot from Olivia Brown. 17 minutes played and Gibraltar doubled their lead, Shania Robba drawed the keeper off her line and squared the ball for Joelle Gilbert to smash in from close range.
The hosts were awarded two penalties in the final minute of the first half, Kayleigh Ferro hit the first one over the bar while Joelle Gilbert’s hit the post and the Northern Ireland keeper Alice Harkness showed great reflexes to keep out Tiffany Viagas’ rebound.
After a relatively even start to the second half, Shania Robba nearly made it 3-0 for Gibraltar but Harkness made an excellent save to keep out. Four minutes later, Caitlin Robba made another great save to keep out a close range shot from Mairead McCann.
A minute later, Northern Ireland pulled a goal back as Hannah Henderson bundled the ball over from a corner. Playing again in less than 24 hours really took it’s toll on Gibraltar as two late goals from Olivia Brown secured the visitors a 3-2 win.
Conclusion: This weekend would have definitely been what the Gibraltar women’s team would have hoped for going into the games. Two losses but two excellent performances – from the experience of Keisha Doody, the technical ability of Tiffany Viagas and the goalscoring prowess of Kayleigh Ferro, the foundation has been laid down for what looks to be an exciting new chapter in Women’s football.
This month proved to be quite hard, with a number of players catching the eye with their performances – however we’ve gone for a midfielder who scored in every game in March, all of which were important in their own way. The goals against Glacis, and especially Phoenix, ensured Europa could go on to secure comfortable victories as they look to chase after the title, while his screamer vs Mons Calpe, at the time making it 4-1, ended up being decisive with the game ending 4-3. Quillo quietly goes about his work for the side, but this season has contributed with a number of goals, and therefore is our player of the month. Leonardo Carboni came a close second this month after some impressive performances for Mons Calpe, while Chico Rubio, who has been consistently strong for Gib United in March, finishes third.
of the Month – Rafael Escobar (Europa FC)
This one was a
toss-up between the top three, who all won their three league matches in March,
but given the opposition faced, and the manner of their wins, Europa’s Rafael
Escobar just about edges out Raul Procopio in second, and Victor Afonso in
third to Manager of the Month in March. In a title run-in where one slip could
prove to be the end of a title run, both Lincoln and Europa have managed to be
faultless in recent weeks, building up to what should be a blockbuster meeting
on Matchday 26. For their part, the important wins vs Mons Calpe and Phoenix,
as well as a comprehensive beating of Glacis which did their goal difference
wonders means Europa have clawed back some of the gap between the two title-chasing
sides in that department, while ensuring St Joseph’s don’t get a chance to join
the race fully.
Gibraltar’s Women’s Head Coach Gayle
Garcia, as well as assistant manager Janssen Olivero and GFA Women’s Football
Manager Laura McGinn spoke to the press today ahead of the International Women’s
Futsal matches between Gibraltar and Northern Ireland this weekend.
It’s been a tough season for Lions, currently sitting bottom of the Premier Division with 21 games played and only two wins to their name. Despite having a squad which is mainly experienced in Gibraltar football, it just hasn’t clicked for Albert Ferri’s men.
After that famous 4th placed finish in the 2015-16, Lions have finished 8th in the table for two consecutive seasons. Financial constraints have played a big part in their downfall, with the money in Gibraltar football getting bigger and bigger; Lions haven’t been able to keep up.
With the news coming out of the two leagues merging, Lions have used this current one as a way of bleeding through their young talent and giving them a teaser of what is to come next season. Lions have used 20 HGP’s this season, 5 more than the nearest team, and have given 8695 minutes to locals, 905 minutes more than Lincoln in 2nd, and it is 13.7% of the total minutes played by HGP’s this season.
Lions were defeated 5-1 by league leaders Lincoln Red Imps yesterday. Despite taking the lead through captain Alberto Caravaca, the Imps stepped things up and ran out comfortable winners in the end. Most notably, Ferri fielded seven home-grown players and finished the game with eight.
James Parkinson may not a household name, but he has been a regular for Lions this season and made his Gibraltar U21 debut against Cyprus last week. Other young players like Craig Bossano-Anes, John Paul Hernandez, Louis Parral, Brendan Ramagge and Jordan Carnegie have all been given minutes in Premier – alongside the more experienced folk such as Shea Breakspear, James Bosio and Kaylan Rumbo (just to name a few).
The direction of Lions is clear and one which many teams will potentially follow and it is a direction the Gibraltar national teams will benefit from.