Three Offaly schools to compete in FAI Primary School 5s National Finals

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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news@offalyexpress.ie

Three Offaly schools to compete in FAI Primary School 5s National Finals

Three Offaly schools to compete in FAI Primary School 5s National Finals

Three Offaly schools will take part in the SPAR FAI Primary School 5s National Finals in the Aviva Stadium today, Wednesday, May 29.

The schools are ClonlisK NS, Birr, St. Colman’s NS, Mucklagh and Scoil Muire Banríon, Edenderry.

Six national titles are up for grabs with the Offaly school gunning to take home three of them.

Six sections will see the schools divided in Provincial representatives in small, medium and large schools divisions. The girls are encouraged to play with the boys in the SPAR ‘A’ Cup, SPAR ‘B’ Cup and SPAR ‘C’ Cup sections but there is a separate competition for girls only; SPAR ‘A’ Girls Cup for small schools, SPAR ‘B’ Girls Cup for medium schools and the SPAR ‘C’ Girls Cup for large schools.

The event will see 192 children from 24 schools participate in the final stages of competition following four months of fun-filled nationwide activity. The qualifying schools have come through their local County events, Regional and/or Provincial qualifiers to reach this stage of the competition with excitement mounting around the local areas.

13 counties will be represented in the Aviva with Donegal leading the charge with five representatives. The qualifying schools came through their Ulster showdown in two separate groups with schools progressing from Donegal and Inishowen earlier this month.

Galway have an impressive four schools lining out which is a great recognition of the football stronghold with Salthill, Claregalway, Clarinbridge and Knocknacarra all featuring.

Cork and Offaly have three schools each qualified which is a wonderful advertisement for the hard work done in those areas to develop their footballing prowess. Cork’s finalists originate from Beara, Ovens and Rochestown while Offaly’s high flyers scale the likes of Birr, Mucklagh and Edenderry so there will be huge excitement in these regions.

Monaghan, Sligo, Roscommon, Kildare, Wicklow, Wexford, Clare, Limerick and Kerry will each have one representative.

This year the programme featured an amazing 1,696 schools with a total of 37,448 children participating which is a new record for the 5s programme which has been in existence since the mid-1990s. 

The SPAR ‘A’ Cup has Ardkeeran NS, Riverstown, Sligo (Connacht), Clonlisk NS, Birr, Offaly, (Leinster), Trafrask NS, Beara, Cork (Munster) and SN Colmcille, Baile na Finne, Dún na nGall (Ulster) all in the driving seat for National honours.

Extraordinarily three of the four qualifiers will be returning from last season. Trafrask NS were runners up to eventual winners Latnamard NS of Monaghan in 2018. The Ulster Champions were beaten this season in the Ulster decider as SN Colmcille, Fintown are new to this level of competition. Ardkeeran NS have Jack Tuohy and Niall Kenny back in the team as they enjoyed a fourth place finish twelve months previous. Clonlisk NS will have experienced players to call on, for example, Robert Carney, James Sampson, Liam O’Riordan and Fionn Carney returning to the Aviva.

While Trafrask NS have Liam Crowley, Tom O’Connor, Mark Downing and Jack Crowley all relishing more action in the stadium.  Will this trio match the calibre of last year or will new kids on the block SN Colmcille scoop the top spot?

Scoil Mhuire, Clarinbridge, Galway (Connacht), St. Colman’s NS, Mucklagh, Offaly (Leinster), Faha NS, Kerry (Munster) and Glenswilly NS, Donegal (Ulster) make the cut for the medium schools in the SPAR ‘B’ Girls Cup. 

St. Colman’s made an appearance in 2016 flying the flag for the county with a third-place finish in the Girls ‘B’ Cup. Whilst Scoil Mhuire have displayed their skills in this competition on three previous occasions in the Girls ‘A’ Cup in 2007 with a gold medal to their credit. Their first National title was then followed up in the Girls ‘B’ Cup category with a third-place spot in 2009 and most recently the Girls ‘B’ Cup gold medal went to the school in 2010 making it two National titles for the school in two different divisions. 

An array of talent will be on display in the SPAR ‘C’ Cup for large schools. All four teams will be at full strength for the final showdown. St. John the Apostle NS, Knocknacarra, Galway (Connacht), Scoil Muire Banríon, Edenderry, Offaly (Leinster), Scoil Phádraig Naofa, Rochestown, Cork (Munster), St. Joseph’s BNS, Carrickmacross, Monaghan (Ulster) will take to the field with an even contest in store. 

2014 saw teachers Jimmy Lacey and Paul Fitzpatrick make the trip to Dublin as St. Joseph’s BNS, Carrickmacross played in the SPAR ‘C’ Cup which merited a fourth place medal. While their 2017 appearance brought the same result. This time out Jimmy will be accompanied by James Conlon. Can the duo improve on this medal tally? The Edenderry contingency are back following a four-year absence which saw the lads claim a bronze with third in 2015 in the ‘C’ Cup.

The day promises to be fun-filled and action-packed as the future starlets entertain the crowds in the Aviva as the final curtain comes down on the SPAR FAI Primary School 5s programme for 2019. The event will be a family fun day focusing on providing participants and spectators alike with huge excitement and entertainment, making it a day to remember for all involved.

All 192 players will receive a medal, the six winning teams will be crowned SPAR Champions for 2019 as well as a SPAR Player of the Tournament accolade in each division to be awarded.  Students will also be in with a chance of securing an epic prize in the Future Sports Journalist competition which is open to all participating schools.

Offaly squads involved:

Clonlisk NS, Birr, Offaly | Ciarán Keeshan, Robert Carney, James Sampson, Liam O’Riordan, Fionn Carney, George Dwyer, Killian Curtis, Jack Byrne

Teachers/Coaches | Marion Crean & David Carney

St. Colman’s NS, Mucklagh, Offaly | Sarah Ryan, Clodagh Power, Méabh Eager, Sophie Hamill, Holly Burns, Ellen Dolan, Eimear Gillespie, Nicole Merriman

Teachers/Coaches | Claire McIntyre & Keith O’Connor

Scoil Muire Banríon, Edenderry, Offaly | Calum Hurst, Gearóid Tyrrell, Charlie Connell, Gary Foran, Orlandas Jakas, Lee Mooney, Declan Osagie, Eoghan Cullen

Teachers/Coaches | Shane O’Looney & Ger Ryan