The girls from Ballapousta National School will take part in the North Leinster SPAR FAI Primary Schools 5s competition in Navan later this month, after winning through at the Louth County final last week.
Held at Oriel Park in Dundalk, Ballapousta sent both boys and girls teams to the event and while the boys could’t quite get through to the next round, there was no such problem for the girls.
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 and in Louth this year almost 1,000 students from 42 schools all over county participating. 21 schools took part in the Finals Day in Oriel Park with just six progressing to the regional qualifiers in Navan.
Both the boys and girls teams took part in the ‘B’ Cup for medium sized schools. Of five teams competing in the section, Ballapousta’s boys made the final but were edged out 2-3 by St Peter’s NS from Dromiskin.
The competition is open to 4th, 5th and 6th class pupils from schools across the nation. Participation in the girls division of the SPAR FAI Primary Schools 5s programme reached an all-time high this year with 11,272 4th, 5th and 6th class girls registered aound Ireland.
Seven of them were from Ballapousta, an accompanied by teacher Peter Dooley, the girls triumphed in the Girls ‘B’ Cup final – beating Callystown NS from Clogherhead 3-1. That win means the girls will be at the MDL Grounds in Navan for the North Leinster final on April 27th.
The SPAR FAI Primary School 5s programme has been in existence since the mid 1990’s 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.
“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,” Fergus McDaid, Secretary of FAI Schools stated. “SPAR’s ongoing support, both nationally and at a local level, has ensured the ongoing success of the programme and given Louth 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 Aviva Stadium. We would also like to extend our thanks to all schools who have participated in 2017.