The curtain will finally come down on the FAI Post Primary Schools First Year Boys & Girls Futsal calendar this Tuesday, December 5 with a tantalizing National show-down in store. The event will take place in the impressive Waterford IT Arena, Carriganore for a second term.
The competition now in its tenth year has grown steadily with participation at an all-time high. The competition caters for boys and girls in first year. Competitions commenced in October with schools progressing from County to Provincial levels and now onto the National series.
As part of the FAI Schools development programme, futsal is used as a way of introducing youngsters to the game of football and thus increasing grassroots participation within the sport.
Over 5,000 students have taken part in the FAI Schools futsal Initiative inside a three month period in Post Primary Schools throughout Ireland.
Seán Carr, Chairman, FAI Schools paid tribute to the enormous contribution of the FAI’s Regional Development Officers in overseeing the competitions at local level.
“The growth of the game within the schools structure can be attributed to the hard work being done at local level by the Development Officers as they play a vital role in the success of the initiative each year”.
The climax of the Post Primary School’s event will see the cream of schools futsal on display in Waterford next week.
The focus will be on our local talent with eight schools competing for the coveted title of National Futsal Champions for 2017.
Schools from Carlow, Cork, Donegal and Sligo will contest the Girls section while Cork, Donegal, Galway and Wexford will all challenge for the crown in the Boys section.
The four finalists in the girl’s category have created great excitement in their respective schools with their progression to the National stage. St. Leo’s College, Carlow, Presentation Secondary School, Ballyphehane, Carndonagh Community School and St. Attracta’s Community School, Tubbercurry are all within striking distance of the silverware.
These schools are all newcomers to this level of competition and it will be their first appearance at the Nationals, one which they will relish, no doubt.
One to watch will be Vivienne O’Grady’s Presentation SS, Ballyphehane as they overcame last year’s Munster Champions Pobalscoil Inbhear Scéine of Kenmare to come through their grouping. The Kerry side came fourth in the Nationals twelve months previously so Ballyphehane will be hoping to progress a little better up the ranks. The Cork side is coached by Barbara O’Connell who accompanies O’Grady in the management ranks.
St. Leo’s College impressed at provincial level but were well tested by runners up Loreto Secondary School in their encounter. The Kilkenny side were runners up in 2013 but unfortunately Paul McGinley’s side couldn’t outdo a hardworking Carlow team.
The Carndonagh girls will be looking to continue their match winning momentum into the final series of matches which saw them overcome local rivals Convent SS, Letterkenny 4-2 to claim the Ulster crown in fine style.
Tubbercurry’s St. Attracta’s Community School will fly the flag for Sligo and Connacht this season with an electric display in their provincial encounter. They were up against very tough opposition in the likes of kingpins Claregalway College, Sacred Heart School, Westport and St. Clare’s Comprehensive School of Manorhamilton who have all been shining lights in schools soccer of recent years. It’s great to see some new faces emerge at National level.
The boys draw will be a closely fought encounter with St. Francis College, Rochestown, St. Joseph’s College, Galway, Carndonagh Community School and Good Counsel College, New Ross all bidding for glory.
Teacher Steve Bermingham is making his third consecutive appearance at this event. He guided Ashton College, Cork to a third place finish in 2015 and went one better with St. Francis College, Rochestown as they claimed runners up spot last season. He was accompanied by colleagues David Donovan and Patrick Croke who are also involved this season. Will this be their year?
The Cork side have been in formidable form in this competition as they cruised into the Nationals following a stunning performance in their provincial qualifiers. All eyes will be on Colin Henderson, Shane Tobin and Harry Nevin who were outstanding. The Roco lads scored 14 goals in 5 games, only conceding 3.
Alex Lee will be charged with leading St. Joseph’s College, Galway (the bish) this season. The Westerners won the title back in 2014 so they will be looking to emulate such successes on Tuesday afternoon with a fresh and energetic team named. Lee with be joined by Alan O’Dowd as the deadly duo hope to steer the bish to success.
Ulster starlets Carndonagh Community School will be looking to complete a double as they are represented by both the boys and girls in the Finals which is a wonderful achievement for the Inishowen outfit. Conor Doherty and Anita Hegarty will have a watchful eye on both squads as they compete at back to back times during the course of the day.
New Ross crew Good Counsel College defeated a talented Dublin Oak Academy of Bray to reach this prestigious stage. The Wicklow School have a brilliant record at these events and proved difficult to claim victories over. Dublin Oak won the title back in 2012 and were runners up in 2015 so John Fanning’s boys will be looking to bring the same form into this contest on Tuesday and claim some more high profile scalps such as the bish and roco.
Mark Scanlon, FAI National Co-ordinator for Schools & Third Level Football will oversee proceedings on the day and is very excited by the fixtures on display.
“Futsal is the way we see football being taken forward in the country and from what I have seen at Provincial Finals nationwide and in Dublin, it is very encouraging,”
“Current Republic of Ireland Captain and St. Catherine’s VS, Killybegs scholar Seamus Coleman played Futsal during his time with Sligo Rovers and his goal against Georgia was certainly reminiscent of Futsal skills.”
The competition has proven to be very successful at local level and this is evident with the huge numbers of entrants and the sheer quality of futsal being demonstrated. The competition has caught the imagination of everybody involved and should prove highly entertaining for the travelling supporters when the games commence…
St. Attracta’s Community School, Tubbercurry, Sligo | Macayla Burke, Leah Walsh, Rebecca Doddy, Eryn Lavin, Ellen Kelleher, Patrice Conboy, Nisha McDonagh, Cría Flanagan, Holly Gannon, Katie Cunney, Gráinne Scanlon, Fiona Whitehead
Teachers | Andrew Flynn & Hughie Harvey
Carndonagh Community School, Inishowen, Donegal | Yasmin Crumlish, Chloe Lacey, Emma Devlin, Alaina Keogh, Katherine Doherty, Lorinne Green, Ella McGonigle, Kate Doherty, Dacia Crumlish, Sophie Murphy, Caitlin Kelly, Ciara Gilmore
Teachers | Conor Doherty & Anita Hegarty
Presentation Secondary School, Ballyphehane, Cork | Amy Noonan, Laura O’Sullivan, Sophie Thompson, Claragh Callanan, Abi Callanan, Sophie Murray, Lya Gilhooly, Shianne Butsanna, Alix Mendez, Caitlin Power
Coach | Barbara O’Connell Teacher | Vivienne O’Grady
St. Leo’s College, Carlow | Caríosa Morohan, Kerrie Smith, Kate McDonald, Emma Walker, Katie Collins Byrne, Niamh Brophy, Eva Doyle, Kayla Fields, Lily O’Neill, Rachel McGrath
Teacher | Eoin Power
Carndonagh Community School, Inishowen, Donegal | Cadán Doherty, Seán O’Kane, Dara Harkin, Lee Coyle, Jamie McKinney, Aaron Porter, Ryan McLaughlin, Adam Duffy, Seán O’Donnell, Kyran Cantwell, Liam McWeeney, Matthew Mooney
Teachers | Conor Doherty & Anita Hegarty
St. Francis College, Rochestown, Cork | Cian Buckley, Ryan Delaney, Evan O’Connor, Miceal O’Mahony, Kevin Lyons, Colin Henderson, Shane Tobin, Padraig Murphy, Harry Nevin, Harry Flanagan, Derry Howard, Evan Collins
Teachers | Steve Bermingham, David Donovan & Patrick Croke
Good Counsel College, New Ross, Wexford | William Foley, Evan Cullen, Kyle Rankin, Darby Purcell, Sam Norval, Cathal Parker, Eoin Whelan, Tadgh Deegan, Cillian Byrne
Teachers | John Fanning & Seamus Walsh
St. Joseph’s College, Galway | Jack Folan, Daniel O’Connor, Seán O’Connor, Ekene Unorka, Ronan Bates, Leo Byrne, Michael Okocha, Alex Murphy, John Jordan, Matthew Rafferty, Joey O’Hara, Adam Kennedy
Teachers | Alex Lee & Alan O’Dowd