Ynys Môn 2 (Liam Morris 67, Mel McGinness 84)
Guernsey 1 (Keanu Marsh 5)
Inter-Island Games men’s football final – June 21, 2019
Wherever you are in North Wales today it is likely the sun has been blazing and temperatures have soared.
It was exactly the same three years ago on this date – June 21, 2019.
Anglesey was like a furnace and nowhere was the heat more intense than at the New Stadium in Holyhead.
Even without the dazzling sunshine, the atmosphere was red-hot at the home of Hotspur.
And what an occasion it proved to be for Ynys Môn – one of the greatest in the island’s sporting history.
Twenty years on from winning their only previous football gold medal at the Island Games in Gotland, Sweden, Môn Mam Cymru were to do it again.
The 2019 Inter-Island Games was a stand-alone football tournament, not part of the usual showpiece as hosts Gibraltar were without suitable stadia.
Anglesey fitted the bill and how they prospered.
Having won their group with victories over the Western Isles, Orkney and Jersey, the hosts then got past Shetland Islands in the semis to meet Guernsey in the final.
In front of a 3,000-plus crowd, which had already been entertained by Ynys Môn’s women narrowly losing to Isle of Man in their final, the Welsh girls having never reached such an advanced stage of the competition before, the mood was at fever pitch before the men’s showdown.
Hometown hero Mel McGinness produced the gold medal-winning goal for Môn, but it was captain and goalkeeper Paul Pritchard who was the stand-out figure of the final.
Pritchard. who announced his retirement from Island Games football before the game, saved a penalty and produced a series of other great stops to keep Anglesey in the contest against a sharp Guernsey attack.
Môn started well, Liam Morris drilling across the face of goal before follow-up efforts were blocked, but Pritchard was soon delivering heroics at the other end as he concocted a tremendous double save from a free kick.
In the fifth minute Guernsey grabbed the lead, Keanu Marsh providing a lethal finish from inside the box.
The hosts rallied and in the 12th minute were awarded a penalty for deliberate handball despite the shot finding the net.
Offender Frank Tobin was shown a straight red card, reducing the Sarnians to 10 men, but Sam Jones’ kick was brilliantly saved by James Hamon.
A big turning point arrived in the 26th minute when a foul on Marsh resulted in a Guernsey pen, but Pritchard, diving to his left, magnificently denied Matt Loaring.
Pritchard was not finished there, as before the break the Porthmadog glovesman made another stunning double stop after Marlon Jardim burst clear.
Come half time Môn had their keeper to thank for being only a goal down.
HALF-TIME: Môn 0 Guernsey 1
Anglesey started the second half in determined fashion and only the bravery of Hamon stopped substitute Alex Boss in his tracks.
McGinness lashed a screamer over the bar, then Jay Gibbs was inches wide with a left-footer.
The equaliser was coming and it arrived on 67 minutes when Jordan Taylor lofted the ball into the box and Liam Morris scored with a beautifully struck volley.
The crowd roared even louder as they sensed this was to be Ynys Môn’s night.
And on 84 minutes Holyhead Hotspur ace McGinness wrote himself into Island Games folklore by coolly putting away the decider.
An unforgettable evening for Anglesey football and a fully deserved gold medal for Campbell Harrison and Iwan Williams’ men.
Paul Pritchard, Dean Garmey, Alex Jones, Tom Taylor, Cai Powell-Roberts, Jay Gibbs, Ryan Taylor, Jordan Taylor, Mel McGinness, Sam Jones, Liam Morris.
Subs: Alex Boss, John Littlemore, Gari Owen, Guto Hughes, Gerwyn Roberts, Tomos Clarke, Dan Thomas, Dafydd Jones Matthew Jones.
Ynys Môn’s football Island Games record
Winners 1999, 2019
Runners-up 1989, 1991, 1997, 2001
Playing Record (1989-2019)
Goals For 108
Goals Against 89