Magic day at the FAI Schools Primary 5s finals day

Magic day at the FAI Schools Primary 5s finals day

It was a magical day for the 224 students from 28 schools across the Republic of Ireland as they replicated many of the famous Irish International stars by performing heroics at the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday afternoon (May 31).

The day marked the conclusion of the 2023 FAI Primary School 5s Programme with the hosting of the National Finals at the iconic Dublin venue.

This year the programme featured 1,802 schools with a total of 41,384 children participating which is a new record for the Primary 5s programme which has been in existence since the mid-1990s.

With the Women’s World Cup just around the corner, it was great to see Jamie Finn, current Birmingham City and Women’s International player in attendance as Ambassador for the Primary 5s Programme. The competition saw 43% female participation this year. The interest in girls football is sure to explode next season with the Women’s exploits in Australia next month.

Joining Jamie yesterday afternoon was Programme Ambassador Conor Levingston, former Underage International and more importantly former participant in this programme. Conor made two appearances at the National Finals with St. Joseph’s NS, Gorey. He picked up a runners-up medal at the National Finals in 2009 and a winners medal the following year in the large schools, ‘C’ Cup when Tullamore Town FC hosted the event.

Conor also helped launch the event in the Aviva Stadium in 2013 as it was the first time in the competitions history that it was made available to host the National Finals so we were celebrating 10 years of the event at the Dublin 4 venue. Also in attendance was Republic of Ireland Men’s Manager Stephen Kenny who was on hand to speak to the players and watch some of the future stars in action. Stephen was accompanied by FAI President Gerry McAnaney who assisted with the medal presentations.

There were seven section winners from varies Counties as Dublin, Carlow, Wicklow, Galway, Mayo, Donegal and Cork all won out in their respective divisions. The first winners of the afternoon were Scoil Eoin, Crumlin, Dublin who captured the Special Schools Cup following three wins from three.

They overcame Clare outfit St. Anne’s of Ennis 3-1 in the opening campaign. Goalkeeper Tony Mullin was fantastic and kept his side in contention with some wonderful saves. Their second outing saw them notch up a 5-2 victory against Ulster’s Scoil Íosagáin of Buncrana.

The Dublin stars turned on the style for their supporters when they slotted five past St. Columba’s NS from Douglas to ensure top spot. Scoil Íosagain went on to pick up second place while St. Columba’s claimed third and St. Anne’s fourth.

Double celebrations for the Crumlin school as Kairon Wynne was named Player of the Tournament.

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

The other 24 qualifying schools have come through three months of fun filled nationwide activity. The journey began with their local County events, Regional and/or Provincial qualifiers to reach this stage of the competition with excitement mounting around the local areas.

Carlow’s St. Joseph’s NS, Hacketstown secured the ‘A’ Cup title with an outstanding 9 points on the board. They overcame Limerick’s Scoil Naomh Iosef 3-1 in their opening contest as Oisín Wall netted a hat-trick while Tiernan O’Flynn got on the scoresheet for Dromcollogher. The Carlow crew enjoyed a hat-trick of goals against Scoil Naomh Colmcille, Dun na nGall in their penultimate test as Páidí Connolly, Oisin Wall, William Myers duly converted. The final game against St. Mary’s NS, Mountbellew saw them come from 3-1 down to win 5-3 to lift the title. Páidí Connolly, Oisin Wall, William Myers, Adam Doyle (2) were the goal scorers for Barry Murphy’s side while Ronan McDermott and a brace from Jack Nolan were noted for the talented Mountbellew lads. And for his heroics throughout the day, Páidí Connolly was named Player of the Tournament.

A huge cheer descended around the Stadium when he went up to accept this accolade from Women’s International star Jamie Finn. The Girls ‘A’ Cup went to Castleblakeney NS, Galway as they enjoyed a clean sweep with a 2-0 win over Scoil Cholmcille, Kerrykeel with a brace from the industrious Mairead Mullins. Next up was Kilbehenny NS, Limerick as they scored three without response with Lillian Fleming bagged a brace alongside Mairead Mullins. The final outing saw Ardnagrath NS, Athlone go down 2-1 to the eventual Champions. Lillian Fleming, Mairead Mullins netted for the Galway girls while Sorcha Aspell was on target for the Athlone charges. It was no surprise when Mairead Mullins was announced as Player of the Tournament for that section following an unbelievable display in the Aviva.

Raphoe’s St. Eunan’s NS snatched the ‘B’ Cup by a single point as two wins and a draw saw them grab the title from runners up St. John the Apostle, Knocknacarra. The Donegal crew enjoyed a 6-2 win against the Galway opponents with Ronan McGranaghan (2), Odhran McHugh (2), Ben Farrell and Riley McBride on target. Conor O’Sullivan’s sharp shooters included a double from Cayden Harty in a highly entertaining game. The penultimate outing saw them grab a draw against Offaly’s St. Colman’s NS, Mucklagh with Ronan McGranaghan scoring twice. Keith O’Rourke and Jayden Daly found the back of the net for the Leinster Champions. The Raphoe lads knew a win in the last game would be enough to see them lift the respective trophy and they found their form with a 5-1 win over Ballylooby NS. Ben Farrell, Ronan McGranaghan (2) and Odhran McHugh (2) slotted home with Evan Lonergan getting the solitary goal for the Tipperary men. Raphoe had another reason to celebrate as Ronan McGranaghan, St. Eunan’s NS was selected as the Player of the Tournament following his wonderful endeavours throughout the day.

The Girls ‘B’ Cup went to Scoil Phádraig, Westport, Mayo as they collected all 9 points on offer. Saoirse Reynolds converted the only goal of the game to defeat Ulster stars St. Patrick’s NS, Lurgybrack in the opening contest. Claire Ryan, May Duckett and an OG saw them overcome Scoil an Spioraid Naoimh, Roxborough Limerick on a 3-1 score-line with Aoife Grant netting for the Munster team. Scoil Phádraig lifted the title with a hard fought 2-1 victory over Scoil Naomh Peadar S’Pol, Ballon, Carlow in their final outing with Violet O’Malley (2), and Aine Deacon the goal-scorers. Some consolation for the Limerick school when Ellen Goggin, Scoil an Spioraid Naoimh, Roxborough was announced as Player of the Tournament following her stand out performances on the day.

Wicklow starlets St. Kevin’s NS, Greystones turned out to be the Champions in the ‘C’ Cup for large schools in what was a very competitive group. There were three draws in the six games with Greystones notching up 7 points with 1 draw and 2 wins. They drew the first game one apiece with Limerick’s Monaleen NS. Dylan Corbett cancelling out Mohammed Mukbel’s effort. The second performance was much more improved as they overcame Scoil Choilmcille, Leitir Ceanainn 4-0 with Stephen Moran and Dylan Corbet both scoring twice. The last game saw goals from Cillian Walsh and Cian Lawless to take the 2-0 victory. Although Scoil Cholmcille, Leitir Ceanainn, Dún na nGall may have been somewhat disappointed with their overall performance, it was delightful to see youngster Seán Gallagher receive the Player of the Tournament.

The final title of the day went to Gaelscoil Charraig Ui Leighin, Co Chorcaí as they were named Girls ‘C’ Cup Champions with three wins from three. The Cork crew saw off Scoil Ui Riada with goals from Orla Ni Mhurcha and Lucy Ní Choitir for a 2-0 win. The next fixture, saw Rob Ó Sé side feature another win, this time it was 3-1 with Lucy Ní Choitir, Zoe Ni Mhurchu and Ruth Nic Craith converting. Their opponents Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh, Gaillimh saw Jenna Rose Ni Chearúil grab a vital goal but they couldn’t get anything past Doireann Breathnach in the Cork goal. The last test saw them play out a six-goal thriller with the Cork girls coming out 4-2 winners against Leitir Ceanainn scholars Gaelscoil Adhamhnáin. Zoe Ni Mhurchu, Lucy Ní Choitir, Ruth Nic Craith and Molly Ní Shearcaigh were on song for the Champions while Jessica Ní Bheirn and Éadaoin Ní Chinnéide converted for Pól Mac Giolla Bhríde’s side. The Player of the Tournament accolade went to the hardworking Lucy Ní Choitir, Gaelscoil Charraig Ui Leighin, Co Chorcaí as this added to the celebrations for Rob Ó Sé and Máire Ní Longáin’s stars.

2023 Roll of Honour

Football For All (Special Schools)

Winner Scoil Eoin, Crumlin, Dublin
Runner Up Scoil Íosagáin, Buncrana, Dublin
Third St. Columba’s, Douglas, Cork
Fourth St. Anne’s School, Ennis, Clare
Player of the Tournament Kairon Wynne, Scoil Eoin, Crumlin, Dublin

A Cup

Winner St. Joseph’s NS, Hacketstown, Carlow
Runner Up Scoil Naomh Iosef, Dromcollogher, Limerick
Third St. Mary’s NS, Mountbellew, Galway
Fourth Scoil Naomh Colmcille, Dún na nGall
Player of the Tournament Páidí Connolly, St. Joseph’s NS, Hacketstown, Carlow

Girls A Cup

Winner Castleblakeney NS, Galway
Runner Up Ardnagrath NS, Athlone, Westmeath
Third Scoil Cholmcille, Kerrykeel, Donegal
Fourth Kilbehenny NS, Limerick
Player of the Tournament Mairead Mullins, Castleblakeney NS, Galway

B Cup

Winner St. Eunan’s NS, Raphoe, Donegal
Runner Up St. John the Apostle, Knocknacarra, Galway
Third St. Colman’s NS, Mucklagh, Offaly
Fourth Ballylooby NS, Tipperary
Player of the Tournament Ronan McGranaghan, St. Eunan’s NS, Raphoe, Donegal

Girls B Cup

Winner Scoil Phádraig, Westport, Mayo
Runner Up Scoil Peadar S’Pol, Ballon, Carlow
Third Scoil an Spioraid Naoimh, Limerick
Fourth St. Patrick’s NS, Lurgybrack, Donegal
Player of the Tournament Ellen Goggin, Scoil an Spioraid Naoimh, Roxborough, Limerick

C Cup

Winner St. Kevin’s NS, Greystones, Wicklow
Runner Up Castlebar Primary School, Mayo
Third Monaleen NS, Limerick
Fourth Scoil Cholmcille, Leitir Ceanainn, Dún na nGall
Player of the Tournament Seán Gallagher, Scoil Cholmcille, Leitir Ceanainn, Dún na nGall

Girls C Cup

Winner Gaelscoil Charraig Ui Leighin, Co Chorcaí
Runner Up Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh, Gaillimh
Third: Scoil Ui Riada, Cill Choca, Chill Dara
Fourth: Gaelscoil Adhamhnáin, Leitir Ceanainn, Dún na nGall
Player of the Tournament Lucy Ni Choitir, Gaelscoil Charraig Ui Leighin, Co Chorcaí

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