Leah Victoria Park, Tullamore Town FC played host to the Offaly County Finals of the SPAR FAI Primary School 5s programme on Tuesday, April 4 and Wednesday, April 5, and schools from all over the county took part in the match on display.
The SPAR FAI Primary School 5s programme has seen participation figures grow year on year to become the largest primary schools’ competition in the country. 384 students from 18 schools participated in the Offaly Finals day with 6 schools progressing to the regional qualifiers
The ‘A’ Cup, open to boys and/or mixed teams from small schools, had 9 passionate schools with the final between the talented St. Broghan’s NS, Rathanagan and newcomers Roscomroe NS. It was a tremendous achievement for St. Broghan’s to qualify to that stage of competition as there are only 19 students in the entire school with a mixed team lining out for the Final. St. Broghan’s NS triumphed in what was a thrilling contest.
The ‘B’ Cup, for medium sized schools, again proved to be a compelling division with 16 teams involved. The final was eventually decided by a narrow margin. Mucklagh NS proved a little too strong over a talented St. Brendan’s PS, Birr.
The ‘C’ Cup, for large schools, was another hard fought contest between 14 very talented teams. Scoil Bhríde, Edenderry overcame St. Patrick’s BNS narrowly to come out on top of the large schools division with the school completing a double as the girls progressed too.
The winners will now progress to the Mid Leinster Finals on April 26 in Portlaoise Leisure Centre, Laois.
Participation in the girls division of the SPAR FAI Primary School 5s programme reached an all-time high this year with 11,272 4th, 5th and 6th class girls registered nationwide.
The Girls ‘A’ and ‘C’ Cup finals were held on the same day, with the ‘B’ Cup the day previously, in the same venue where there was a fantastic atmosphere throughout the competition.
In the Girls ‘A’ Cup, for small schools, Carrig NS defeated Seir Kieran’s NS, Birr in a really exciting and hard fought match which ended 3-1.
In the Girls ‘B’ Cup final, for medium sized schools, Mucklagh NS sealed qualification to the next stage after they overcame a tough challenge from Durrow National School by a 4-1 scoreline.
Scoil Bhríde outlasted all other challengers to progress from the Girls ‘C’ Cup division for large schools.
The SPAR FAI Primary School 5s programme competition has been in existence since the mid 1990s and has 28,256 participants from 1,483 schools involved this year, a 19% surge from last year.
The competition is run across six divisions, ensuring that schools of all sizes are catered for. Boys and girls are encouraged to play together but there is a separate competition for boys and girls dependent on school enrolment numbers.
Fergus McDaid, Secretary of FAI Schools stated, “This is our third year with title sponsors SPAR and the competition has grown yet again and now firmly holds the title of the largest primary schools’ competition in the country. SPAR’s ongoing support, both nationally and at a local level, has ensured the ongoing success of the programme and given Offaly children an opportunity to get involved in a professionally-run, fun and inclusive programme. The programme encourages children to become involved in soccer at an early age and emphasizes the fun aspect of the sport. FAI Schools look forward to welcoming schools to the National Finals on Wednesday, May 31 in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. We would also like to extend our thanks to all schools who have participated in 2017.”
Colin Donnelly, SPAR Sales Director said, “As a community based retailer, SPAR encourages a healthy and active lifestyle and is proud to be a supporter of primary schools’ soccer in association with the FAI. SPAR local retailers around the county have been getting behind theSPAR FAI Primary School 5s programme, which encourages children to get involved in soccer in a fun, safe and inclusive environment.”
Follow the action on social media via #SPAR5s or at www.faischools.ie and www.spar.ie
‘A’ Cup | Small Schools - Winners: St. Broughan’s NS Runners-up: Roscomroe NS
‘B’ Cup | Medium Schools - Winners: Mucklagh NS Runners-up: St. Brendan’s PS
‘C’ Cup | Large Schools - Winners: Scoil Bhríde Runners-up: St. Patrick’s BNS
Girls ‘A’ Cup - Winners: Carrig NS Runners-up: Seir Kieran’s NS
Girls ‘B’ Cup - Winners: Mucklagh NS Runners-up: Durrow National School
Girls ‘C’ Cup - Winners: Scoil Bhríde No runner up