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HIGH ACHIEVERS: Gloucester Hornets celebrate 50th anniversary with three Ontario Cup titles

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic

By Martin Cleary

After struggling through a season of silence, the Ottawa Gloucester Hornets Soccer Club rejoiced with a season of celebration.

The on-going COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the 2020 competitive soccer campaign, but the players returned this season under strict health and safety protocols, which allowed the Hornets to celebrate their 50th anniversary in a special way.

The Hornets captured three Ontario Cup age-group championships this month. The Ontario Cup returned this season for the 105th time and it attracted 300 teams and 6,000 athletes.

For the third time in the past eight Ontario Cup championships, the Gloucester Celtic emerged as the men’s champion. Ottawa Gloucester Hornets won their first-ever Ontario Cup for girls or boys, when the girls’ U16 team stormed to victory. The Gloucester Celtic required penalty kicks to seize the men’s masters (35+) championship.

The Celtic played stellar defence throughout the men’s summer tournament and defeated Mississauga AC Diavoli 4-1 in the recent final.

In their first four games, the Celtic didn’t allow a single goal, while scoring 11 to blank Scarborough Olympic Flame Ares Blue U18 7-0, Panathinaikos Toronto FC 1-0, defending Ontario Cup and current national champion Ottawa St. Anthony’s 1-0 in the quarterfinals and Polish Eagles Kitchener SC 2-0 in the semifinals.

After a scoreless first half in the championship game, Celtic exploded for four goals in the second half. Justin Dasah scored in the 49th minute off a diving header and Kieran Sanders scored the first of his two goals at the 70th minute. Luca Piccioli added another insurance marker at the 83rd minute.

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Diavoli’s Alba Vuktila was the only player to score against the Celtic and that goal came at the 90-minute mark. Seconds later, Sanders returned Celtic’s three-goal margin with his second goal.

Meanwhile, Leah Disipio was a one-woman scoring machine as she counted all three goals in the Hornets’ 3-1 victory over Milton Magic Blue in the Ontario Cup girls’ U16 final. Gloucester defeated Brampton SC Navy 2-0 in the semifinals.

Ottawa Gloucester Hornets U16 girls 2021 Ontario Cup champions. Photo: Ontario Soccer

Disipio gave the Hornets a 1-0 lead at the 22nd minute, but Milton substitute Saige Lovell evened the match just before halftime with a 42nd-minute goal. The game appeared to be heading for extra time, but Disipio scored in the 86th and 89th minutes to give the Hornets their historic triumph.

The Celtic went to penalty kicks to defeat Scarborough Malvern Magic 4-3 in the men’s masters final, after both teams were scoreless in regulation time and overtime. The champions advanced to the final by a forfeit decision against Thornhill Madrid Masters.

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 48 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at

Martin can be reached by e-mail at and on Twitter @martincleary.

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