2019 SPAR Primary 5s to conclude in Aviva Stadium


2019 SPAR Primary 5s to conclude in Aviva Stadium

As our Senior International team gear up for their respective outings next month, so too, do our future generation of young stars, as the countdown to the SPAR FAI Primary School 5s National Finals takes centre stage. Aviva Stadium, Dublin will host the event tomorrow (Wednesday, May 29) with six National titles up for grabs.
28th May 2019

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 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.

Also of note is that fact that three Gaelscoileanna will be participating out of the 24 schools involved with Scoil Íosagáin, Buncrana, Gaelscoil Chill Mhantáin and Scoil Mhuire Caiseal, Fánaid looking forward to the action which is set to commence at 11.30am with the small schools section in boys and girls kicking us off. Another impressive observation when reading through the line-ups are that out of the 192 players involved, 20 will make a return from last year as five schools make a remarkable comeback at National level.

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?

The SPAR ‘A’ Girls Cup will have debutants Lisacul NS, Castlerea, Roscommon (Connacht) alongside the experienced St. Fintan’s NS, Mayglass, Wexford (Leinster), Crusheen NS, Clare (Munster), and Scoil Mhuire, Caiseal, Fánaid, Donegal (Ulster) in the melting pot for the small girls schools section. Scoil Mhuire will be in familiar territory. Principal Gráinne Bn. Uí Dhubhthaigh led the crew to the Aviva back in 2017 when the team came a gallant fourth in the same division that they’re competing in this week. We also have the deadly duo from Mayglass and Crusheen making an astonishing appearance again following on from last season’s debut. The St. Fintan’s squad came fourth while Crusheen came third in 2018. The Wexford team have five players all back in contention with goalkeeper Jenna Ryan, Clara Kelly, Tara Cullen, Aoibheann Rankin and Ciara Murphy excited for a return to the Dublin venue. Meanwhile Aimee Colleran, Caoilfhionn Perill, Grace Gleeson and Sarah O’Donnell will be looking forward to a rematch against their Leinster counterparts.  Former Chairman of FAI Schools, Seán Carr will have a keen interest in this division as his former primary school, Scoil Mhuire, Caiseal, Fánaid will be in action for the Ulster kingpins.

The SPAR ‘B’ Cup will see a broad geographic remit covered as Cregmore NS, Claregalway, Galway (Connacht), Gaelscoil Chill Mhantáin, Cill Mhantáin (Leinster), Lisnagry NS, Limerick (Munster) and St. Oran’s NS, Cockhill, Donegal (Ulster) try to make a top of the table finish. Under the stewardship of Kathryn Doherty and Shaun McLaughlin, the pair guided the boys from St. Oran’s NS, Cockhill, Buncrana, Donegal to third place in the SPAR ‘B’ Cup last year. Previous to that the Donegal outfit have made an outstanding eight appearances at the National Finals. The school were finalists as far back as 2000 in the Girls ‘B’ Cup division and then again in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 claiming third that season and 2008 with a runners up medal for the boys in the ‘B’ Cup when Leah Victoria Park, Tullamore Town FC hosted the Nationals. Another familiar name included in proceedings will be Lisnagry as they featured in this contest in 2015 claiming National honours in the ‘B’ Cup. Can they replicate such success stories in 2019?

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. It’s fantastic to see more new schools progressing to this level and the players will savour the opportunity afforded to them in Faha and Glenswilly respectively. The quartet will be a thrilling division if the provincial deciders are anything to go by with some excellent football demonstrated at County and Provincial contests. 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.

Scoil Íde, Salthill, Galway (Connacht), St. Laurence’s NS, Sallins, Kildare (Leinster), Ovens NS, Cork (Munster) and Scoil Íosagáin, Buncrana, Donegal (Ulster) are in the final select for the girls large schools division, SPAR ‘C’ Girls Cup. We welcome back some familiar faces to the Aviva, namely; the Buncrana scholars under the managerial eye of Conor Delap and Mary Loughrey. The side are delighted to make the cut having fought hard in their provincial showcase to progress to this stage. The School were merited with a third place finish three seasons ago at Nationals as well as coming into Wednesday’s showpiece as defending National Champions having secured the elusive gold last season.  Teacher Delap will have the girls well drilled ahead of their encounter. Can our Cork, Kildare and Galway crews upset the odds against the Donegal charges

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.
SPAR ‘A’ Cup (small schools)   
Connacht                                             Ardkeeran NS, Riverstown, Sligo  
Leinster                                                ClonlisK NS, Birr, Offaly
Munster                                               Trafrask NS, Beara, Cork
Ulster                                                    SN Colmcille, Baile na Finne, Dún na nGall

SPAR ‘A’ Girls Cup (small schools)           
Connacht                                             Lisacul NS, Castlerea, Roscommon 
Leinster                                                St. Fintan’s NS, Mayglass, Wexford
Munster                                               Crusheen NS, Clare
Ulster                                                    Scoil Mhuire Caiseal, Dún na nGall            

SPAR ‘B’ Cup (medium schools)
Connacht                                             Cregmore NS, Claregalway, Galway  
Leinster                                                Gaelscoil Chill Mhantáin, Cill Mhantáin
Munster                                               Lisnagry NS, Limerick     
Ulster                                                    St. Oran’s NS, Cockhill, Buncrana, Donegal           

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

SPAR ‘C’ Cup (large schools)                      
Connacht                                             St. John the Apostle NS, Knocknacarra, Galway  
Leinster                                                Scoil Muire Banríon, Edenderry, Offaly
Munster                                              Scoil Phádraig Naofa, Rochestown, Cork
Ulster                                                    St. Joseph’s BNS, Carrickmacross, Monaghan

SPAR ‘C’ Girls Cup (large schools)            
Connacht                                             Scoil Íde, Salthill, Galway
Leinster                                                St. Laurence’s NS, Sallins, Kildare
Munster                                               Ovens NS, Cork
Ulster                                                    Scoil Íosagáin, Buncrana, Donegal