Connacht schools win National Futsal Titles
Battle-hardened by a competitive provincial qualifier, St. Louis CS were quick out of the blocks in the Boys Competition with an opening round win against Mercy Secondary School, Mounthawk, Tralee, Kerry. Ronan Clarke was crucial for the Mayo side in their 2-1 win with his influence on the game leading to a much-deserved winning goal. It placed St. Louis at the top of the table after St. Columba’s College, Stranorlar, Donegal and St. Mary’s Diocesan School, Drogheda, Louth could only settle for a point a piece in a 1-1 draw.
By virtue of the tiebreaker permutations, St. Louis CS sealed the title after the second round with victory over St. Columba’s College. Conor McGinty had given the Donegal side a first-half lead, but that lead was soon diminished and overturned by the exploits of Believe Igharo. The youngster equalised for his school and completed his hat trick late in the game with two quick-fire goals.
Elsewhere, Mercy Secondary School, Mounthawk got their first points on the board by edging St. Mary’s DS, Drogheda in a nine-goal thriller. Player of the Tournament Odhran Ferris was pivotal for the Kerry school scoring a brace in the 5-4 win. As the Tralee school and St. Columba’s were held by St. Louis on a head-to-head basis, and it was mathematically impossible for St. Mary’s DS to catch their Mayo adversaries, it meant the trophy was destined for the West coast.
Their relaxed demeanour perhaps cost them the full nine points from the day as they fell two goals behind to St. Mary’s DS in the final game. Ronan Clarke was once again a mercurial figure for his side grabbing the equaliser to ensure they would not taste defeat. St. Louis CS nearly stole the victory at the end of the game but were denied by a brilliant save by Drogheda stopper, Oisin Brennan.
Last year, St. Attracta’s CS, Tubbercurry came desperately close to lifting the national trophy but were forced to settle for a runners-up spot. Perhaps motivated by their schoolmates, the Sligo girls entered the WIT Arena with great determination. They dominated in their opening game against Ursuline Secondary School, Thurles, Tipperary. Captaining the side, Jessica Casey put in a stellar goalscoring performance in the 3-0 win.
The second game followed a similar script with Pixie O’Hara capturing the spotlight with a hat trick against Carndonagh Community School, Donegal. O’Hara was excellent throughout the day and took the prestigious Player of the Tournament award. Colaiste Chiarain, Leixlip kept pace with their Sligo rivals with a 2-1 win over Ursuline Secondary School. Two long range efforts from Ella Malone proved to be the difference for the Kildare side.
Going into the final game, three teams still had an opportunity of claiming the top prize. St. Attracta’s CS entered the game with the knowledge that a point would be sufficient for them to avenge the ghosts of 2017. Colaiste Chiarain needed victory over the Sligo side to pip them to the post whilst Carndonagh Community School were hoping St. Attracta’s CS would falter and force a three-way play-off between the sides. Carndonagh kept their end of the bargain with victory over Ursuline Secondary School, however St. Attracta’s CS would not be denied and won in great style against their Leinster opposition. Ciara Brennan opened the scoring with a superb scissor-kick and the captain, Jessica Casey, sealed victory with a finish direct from a corner.
Boys’ National Futsal Finals
Winner St. Louis Community School, Kiltimagh, Mayo
Runner-Up St. Columba’s College, Stranorlar, Donegal
Third Mercy Secondary School, Mounthawk, Tralee, Kerry
Fourth St. Mary’s Diocesan School, Drogheda, Louth
Player of the Tournament Odhran Ferris – Mercy Secondary School, Mounthawk, Tralee, Kerry
St. Columba’s College, Stranorlar 1-1 St. Mary’s Diocesan School, Drogheda
Mercy SS, Mounthawk 1-2 St. Louis Community School, Kiltimagh
St. Columba’s College, Stranorlar 2-6 St. Louis Community School, Kiltimagh
St. Mary’s Diocesan School, Drogheda 4-5 Mercy SS, Mounthawk
St. Columba’s College, Stranorlar 4-2 Mercy SS, Mounthawk
St. Mary’s Diocesan School, Drogheda 2-2 St. Louis Community School, Kiltimagh
Girls’ National Futsal Finals
Winner St. Attracta’s CS, Tubbercurry, Sligo
Runner-Up Carndonagh CS, Donegal
Third Coláiste Chiaráin, Leixlip, Kildare
Fourth Ursuline Secondary School, Thurles, Tipperary
Player of the Tournament Pixie O’Hara – St. Attracta’s Community School, Tubbercurry, Sligo
Coláiste Chiaráin, Leixlip 0-3 Carndonagh CS
St. Attracta’s CS, Tubbercurry 3-0 Ursuline Secondary School, Thurles
Coláiste Chiaráin, Leixlip 2-1 Ursuline Secondary School, Thurles
St. Attracta’s CS, Tubbercurry 3-0 Carndonagh CS
Coláiste Chiaráin, Leixlip 0-2 St. Attracta’s Community School, Tubbercurry
Carndonagh CS 2-1 Ursuline Secondary School, Thurles