PICTURES: Offaly students show their class at FAI soccer tournament

Tullamore played host to the event

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Leah Victoria Park, Tullamore played host to the Offaly County Final of the SPAR FAI Primary School 5s Programme on April 12.

The SPAR FAI Primary Schools 5s Programme has seen participation figures grow year on year to become the largest primary schools’ competition in the country. 200 students from 18 schools participated in the Offaly County Final with just 6 schools progressing to the provincial finals.

The ‘A’ Cup, open to boys and/or mixed teams from small schools, had 4 passionate schools contesting with Clonlisk National School winning, and Ballyboy National School finishing runners up.

The ‘B’ Cup, for medium sized schools, again proved to be a compelling division with 4 teams involved. Mucklagh National School winning all their games and only conceding 4 goals, proved a little too strong for the other teams in the group with the talented St. Brendan’s Primary School side finishing runners up.

The ‘C’ Cup, for large schools, was another hard-fought contest with very talented schools. St. Patrick’s BNS, Portarlington eventually came out on top of the large school’s division thanks to a 4-0 win over runners up, Edenderry BNS.

The winners will now progress to the Mid Leinster Finals on April 25 in Portlaoise Leisure Centre, Laois.

Participation in the girl’s division of the SPAR FAI Primary Schools 5s Programme reached an all-time high this year with 12,832 4th, 5th and 6th class girls registered.

The Girls ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ Cup finals were held on April 12 in Leah Victoria Park, Tullamore where there was a fantastic atmosphere throughout the competition.

In the Girls ‘A’ Cup, for small schools, Carrig National School defeated Clonlisk National School in a really exciting and hard-fought match which ended 3-2.

In the Girls ‘B’ Cup Final, for medium sized schools, Mucklagh National School sealed qualification to the next stage after they overcame a tough challenge from Shinrone National School.

St. Philomena’s National School put in a fine display against Scoil Mhuire, Tullamore who finished runners up to progress from the Girls ‘C’ Cup division for large schools. St. Philomena’s finished off the tournament undefeated, and look in fine form heading into the Mid Leinster Finals.

The SPAR FAI Primary School 5s Programme competition has been in existence since the mid 1990s and has 31,728 participants from 1,528 schools involved this 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 fourth 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."

"The programme encourages children to become involved in soccer at an early age and emphasises the fun aspect of the sport. FAI Schools look forward to welcoming schools to the National Finals on Wednesday, May 30th in Aviva Stadium.  We would also like to extend our thanks to all schools who have participated in 2018."

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 the SPAR 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.

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