World Cup fever hits JMU Journalism

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The line-up for the 2013 JMU Journalism World Cup semi-finals was revealed today, as the Alumni were paired with the second years and Level 3 will take on Level 1, but the draw was somewhat overshadowed by events off the pitch.

Happier times: Chris Shaw and Liam Deveney before the 2013 Alumni captain controversy

Happier times: Chris Shaw and Liam Deveney before the 2013 Alumni captain controversy. Pic: Jill Mathews

For the first time since the inaugural event in 2010, there are no defending champions this year as Level 3 completed an incredible hat-trick of victories last spring, taking the title with them when they graduated undefeated.

With those players to call upon, the Alumni were said to be favourites but JMU Journalism can exclusively reveal that they have been rocked by the shock retirement of a tournament legend, sparking a captain controversy behind the scenes.

Three-time winner Liam Deveney has announced he has quit the game following career-ending leg surgery… but not before being offered the Alumni captaincy after Chris Shaw was relieved of the skipper’s armband.

Deveney turned down the chance to become the Alumni captain and the lure of a possible fourth victory, telling JMU Journalism: “I’ve been struggling since my knee operation last year and won’t be playing football again.

“I couldn’t imagine pulling on a kit if I’m unable to maraud around the pitch in the style I’ve grown accustomed to.”

Semi-Final draw

Level 3 v Level 1: Sunday March 3

Alumni v Level 2: Sunday March 17

Games to be played at IM Marsh campus in Aigburth

Shaw, who has lost every game he has ever played in the JMU Journalism World Cup, was sensationally reinstated as Alumni captain less than an hour after being sacked from the role.

Rather than dwell on that unhappy episode, Shaw chose to look ahead to his side’s semi-final against last year’s runners-up, Level 2.

He said: “It’s an interesting draw and throws up yet another new challenge for the imperious Alumni outfit. With players spread far across the country and beyond, I’ve already started the process of cherry-picking the highest quality squad available – which will be further boosted by the influx of the reigning champions.”

Level 3 also have a captain crisis on their hands as current skipper Joshua Killner is facing a vote of confidence from his own team after Rory Kelly put his name forward for the job. Level 3, who are settling the issue using an online voting system, are desperate to erase memories of their team’s past performances on the back of conceding 14 goals in two knock-out defeats.

Level 2 skipper Nick Seddon, who guided last year’s debutants to the final after a record-breaking 8-3 victory in the semis, said: “The defeat in the final last year was tough to take. After being so impressive in the semi-finals we were taken apart by the third years and taught a tough lesson.

“However, I feel we are a stronger team this year. We know each other better and we are confident that we won’t make the same mistakes again. With the absence of the reigning champions, I feel we have a great chance of getting our hands on the trophy and I consider us to be favourites.”

JMU Journalism World Cup Final 2010 penalty appeal. Pic: Jill Mathews

JMU Journalism World Cup Final 2010 penalty appeal drama. Pic: Jill Mathews

In other team news, Kieran Etoria-King was named as the Level 1 captain to lead the university newcomers.

Veteran Alumni striker John Mathews is struggling with a long-term back problem but hopes to recover to continue his goalscoring form up front.

Contact your team captain on Twitter to confirm your availability to play: 

Alumni: @shawct >> 

Third years: @JoshKillner >> 

Second years: @ NickSeddon92 >> 

First years: @K_EtoriaKing >>

Click here to visit the full JMU Journalism World Cup archive >>