The countdown to the National Finals of the SPAR FAI Primary School 5s programme is on!

 

The SPAR FAI Primary School 5s Programme is reaching its crescendo with the National Finals taking place on Wednesday 30th May at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.   24 teams will battle it out to be crowned champion, with winners awarded in three categories – small/ medium / large schools. The following schools will be competing on the day:

 

 

SPAR ‘A’ Cup (small schools)                     

Connacht                                             Ardkeeran NS, Riverstown, Sligo

Leinster                                                Clonlisk NS, Offaly

Munster                                               Trafrask NS, Beara, Cork

Ulster                                                    Latnamard NS, Monaghan

 

SPAR ‘A’ Girls Cup (small schools)           

Connacht                                             St. Teresa’s NS, Corrigeenroe, Roscommon

Leinster                                                St. Fintan’s NS, Mayglass, Wexford

Munster                                               Crusheen NS, Clare

Ulster                                                    St. Brigid’s NS, Glenmakee, Inishowen, Donegal

 

SPAR ‘B’ Cup (medium schools)

Connacht                                             Scoil Náisiúnta Mhuire, Bawnmore, Galway

Leinster                                                Gaelscoil Chluain Dolcáin, Baile Átha Cliath

Munster                                               Scoil Íosagáin, Aghada, Cork

Ulster                                                    St. Oran’s NS, Cockhill, Inishowen, Donegal

 

SPAR ‘B’ Girls Cup (medium schools)     

Connacht                                             Belcarra NS, Castlebar, Mayo

Leinster                                                Rathoe NS, Carlow

Munster                                               Clogheen/Kerry-Pike NS, Cork

Ulster                                                    Scoil Chróine, Dungloe, Donegal

 

SPAR ‘C’ Cup (large schools)                      

Connacht                                             Scoil Iósaif Naofa, Oranmore, Galway

Leinster                                                Scoil Assaim, Raheny, Dublin

Munster                                              Glasheen BNS, Cork

Ulster                                                    Scoil Íosagáin, Buncrana, Inishowen, Donegal

 

SPAR ‘C’ Girls Cup (large schools)            

Connacht                                             St. John’s NS, Breaffy, Castlebar, Mayo

Leinster                                                Our Lady of Good Counsel GNS, Johnstown, Dublin

Munster                                               St. John the Baptist GNS, Cashel, Tipperary

Ulster                                                    Scoil Íosagáin, Buncrana, Inishowen, Donegal

 

 

As the Republic of Ireland Senior teams gear up for their respective outings shortly, 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 on Wednesday, May 30 with six National titles up for grabs.

 

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 the 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.

 

This year the programme featured 1,528 schools with a total of 31,728 children participating which is a new record for the 5s programme which has been in existence since the mid-1990s.

 

Colin Donnelly, SPAR Sales Director said, “As a community-based retailer, SPAR encourages a healthy and active lifestyle and is proud to be a supporter of primary schools’ soccer in association with the FAI. SPAR local retailers throughout the Country have been supporting the programme for four years, which encourages children to enjoy the benefits of exercise in a fun, safe and inclusive environment.”

 

13 counties will be represented in the Aviva with Donegal leading the charge with 5 representatives. The Donegal army hail from Buncrana (2), Dungloe, Cockhill and Glenmakee. The rebel County, Cork have an impressive 4 schools qualified. While the Capital, Dublin have 3 schools in action. Galway and Mayo will see two schools each selected. Meanwhile, Carlow, Clare, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary and Wexford will each have one representative. The action will commence at 11.30am with the small schools section in boys and girls kicking us off.

 

It will be an extra special outing for Scoil Íosagáin, Buncrana who have both their girls and boys competing in the large schools division next week. The Inishowen sides are in the unique position of potentially capturing double Cup success in the Aviva. The only school to complete this famous landmark achievement was Bohola NS, Mayo when the boys captured the ‘A’ Cup and the girls snatched the Girls ‘A’ Cup in 2006, making it a day to remember for the Claremorris contingency.  Can Maria Doherty & Conor Delap’s teams equal this historic milestone?

 

Another unique feature will see three sets of twins performing on the day as Ardkeeran’s Matthew and Ryan Parke, Fionn and Robert Carney of Clonlisk NS will all contest the SPAR ‘A’ Cup while Ciara and Aoife Kelly from Rathoe NS will compete together in the SPAR Girls ‘B’ Cup. The family affair continues with sister’s Keri and Jodie Loughrey of Buncrana lining out alongside mom, Mary who coaches the side as well as cousin’s Sarah Kiernan and Lucy Cogan who play for St. Teresa’s NS.  Crusheen NS will see sisters Caoilfhionn and Síomha Perill in action in the SPAR Girls ‘A’ Cup.

 

The SPAR ‘A’ Cup has Ardkeeran NS, Riverstown, Sligo (Connacht), Clonlisk NS, Offaly (Leinster), Trasfrask NS, Beara, Cork (Munster) and Latnamard NS, Monaghan (Ulster) all in the driving seat for National honours. All four are newcomers to this stage of proceedings so the excitement among the traveling parties will be at fever pitch come match day. Who will be crowned the new SPAR ‘A’ Cup Champions for 2018? It should make for some very interesting viewing. Ardkeeran will be without the services of Lee Flanagan through injury as Darragh McKeon is drafted in as a late replacement. Youngster Owen Elding will be hoping to replicate his Dad Anthony’s Cup success which saw him score the winner in the Aviva back in 2013 with Sligo Rovers in the FAI Cup Final.  Whatever the outcome, it will be a memorable outing for all involved.

 

The SPAR ‘A’ Girls Cup will also feature all debutants this season with St. Teresa’s NS, Corrigeenroe, Roscommon (Connacht), St. Fintan’s NS, Mayglass, Wexford (Leinster), Crusheen NS, Clare (Munster) and St. Brigid’s NS, Glenmakee, Inishowen, Donegal (Ulster) in the melting pot for the small girls schools section. All four teams will provide a scintillating assortment of skills to the contest as all provincial winners were exceptional this season with some stand out performances particularly in their County qualifiers. This group will definitely be worth viewing.

 

The SPAR ‘B’ Cup will see a broad geographic remit covered as Scoil Naisiúnta Mhuire, Bawnmore, Galway (Connacht), Gaelscoil Chluain Dolcáin, Baile Átha Cliath (Leinster), Scoil Íosagáin, Aghada, Cork (Munster) and St. Oran’s NS, Cockhill, Inishowen, Donegal (Ulster) try to make a top of the table finish. The Munster Champions will be in familiar territory as their girls were runners up in the Girls ‘A’ Cup back in 2006 while the boys came fourth in the ‘B’ Cup five years ago. Mentors Jerome Sheahan and Lar Collins will relish a return to the top flight with their young guns. Another School that has a strong affinity with the competition is Ulster kingpins, St. Oran’s. The boys will fly the flag on Wednesday but their girls have reached this stage numerous times. They first appeared in 2000 and this was followed up in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 and more recently in 2016 finishing fourth. The boys starred in 2008 picking up a runners up medal. The impressive Clondalkin select have some notable pedigree in their ranks with former Underage International Thomas Morgan’s son Tomás Ó Muireagáin featuring. Thomas who is a Development Officer with the FAI, Captained the Under 20s to a third place finish in the 1997 World Cup under the tutelage of Manager Brian Kerr. Tomás will wear the Captain’s armband on Wednesday as he has impressed during the SPAR5s campaign to date, notching up 36 goals in the three outings and his favourite is the little chip from distance. The youngster’s godfather is Irish legend Wes Hoolahan so we can keep a watchful eye on the next super star in the family.

 

Belcarra NS, Mayo (Connacht), Rathoe NS, Carlow (Leinster), Clogheen/Kerry-Pike NS, Cork (Munster) and Scoil Chróine, Dungloe, Donegal (Ulster) make the cut for the medium schools in the SPAR ‘B’ Girls Cup which should serve up some delightful football if the Provincial Finals were anything to go by. There is however an injury doubt for the Carlow charges as Aoife Kelly sustained a shoulder injury during the week which rules her out but twin sister Ciara will be in action between the posts for Ronan Browne’s side.  Mia Ní Dhónaill will be the youngest player competing in the series as Scoil Chróine go in search of glory! A first time appearance for the Dungloe natives alongside Belcarra NS who could be the surprise package of this group! Clogheen/Pike-Kerry were in action back in 2002 so it’s lovely to see the Cork School make a return to this level following such a long hiatus.

 

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. Scoil Iósaif Naofa, Oranmore, Galway (Connacht), Scoil Assaim, Raheny, Dublin (Leinster), Glasheen BNS, Cork (Munster), Scoil Íosagain, Buncrana, Inishowen, Donegal (Ulster) will take to the field. The most experienced contenders in this year’s competition will be the Buncrana side who will be guided by teacher Maria Doherty and Coach Jonathon Adair.  Scoil Íosagain have appeared in no less than 8 National Finals dating back to 2004. The school collected bronze medals on each occasion, either being placed third or fourth with appearances in the ‘C’ Cup in 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015. The girls select even made it all the way in 2006 in the Girls ‘B’ Cup as they were placed third that afternoon. A lively encounter will ensue with some top quality pairings in store in that division.

 

St. John’s NS, Breaffy, Castlebar, Mayo (Connacht), Our Lady of Good Counsel GNS, Johnstown, Dublin (Leinster), St. John the Baptist GNS, Cashel, Tipperary (Munster) and Scoil Íosagáin, Buncrana, Inishowen, Donegal (Ulster) are in the final select for the girls large schools division, the SPAR ‘C’ Girls Cup. We welcome back some familiar faces to the Aviva, namely; St. John’s NS, defending Champions Our Lady of Good Counsel and Scoil Íosagáin. The boys from Breaffy have a wonderful track record in this competition with the School collecting gold in 2003 with Mayo star Aidan O’Shea on the team that day. The School made a comeback in 2009 with the boys runners up in the ‘B’ division that season while the girls featured in 2015 with a third place finish. John Moran and Kevin Duggan will no doubt have their team well prepared for the final contest of the season. Liadh Burns, Ella Moriarty and Lillymae Coyne will all make a welcome return for the Johnstown starlets as they go in search of back to back title wins with the deadly duo of David O’Connor and Mark Barry at the helm. There is rumours of an injury doubt to the match day line-up which could hamper their ambitions of retaining the title. Newbies St. John the Baptist from Cashel will fear no one as they do battle on Wednesday. The girls are looking forward to the challenge as their County and Provincial campaign has been immensely successful so they’ll be hoping for more of the same come match-day. Conor Delap’s 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 two seasons ago at Nationals so Delap will have the girls well drilled ahead of their encounter.

 

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 2018. 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 2018 as well as a SPAR Player of the Tournament accolade in each division to be awarded. Ambassador’s Megan Campbell and Keith Andrews will be on hand to distribute the silverware on the day.

 

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 as well as a great prize for the Best Supported School.

 

Cheer on the Schools from your classroom or office chair if you can’t make the trip to Dublin and follow the progress on the FAI Schools Facebook and Twitter pages (@faischools) #SPAR5s

 

Background to the Programme:

SPAR is once again supporting the competition in 2018, having begun the partnership in 2015. Each year, we’ve seen the number of children participating grow and grow, meaning this is now the largest primary school’s competition in the country.
The programme has been in existence since the mid 1990’s and in 2017 had 28,576 participants from 1,495 schools. The competition is run across six divisions, ensuring that schools of all sizes are catered for.
The five-a-side school blitzes are open to boys and girls from 4th, 5th and 6th class, and puts emphasis on fun and inclusivity.
Check out these great videos from the 2017 finals here:

Schedule of Events for 2018:
Ulster Finals: May 2, 2018, Cootehill Harps FC, Co. Cavan
Connacht Finals: May 3, 2018, Solar 21 Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo
Munster Finals: May 9, 2018, Mounthawk Park, Tralee, Co. Kerry
Leinster Finals: May 10, 2018, MDL Grounds, Trim Road, Navan, Co. Meath
National Finals: May 30, 2018, Aviva Stadium, Dublin

 

SPAR FAI Primary School 5s programme roundup for 2017

The SPAR FAI Primary School 5s programme for 2017 came to a pulsating conclusion in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin last month (May 31).

A record year for the SPAR FAI Primary School 5s Programme as it proved even more popular than ever with 28,500 children from 1,495 schools taking part in county, regional and provincial blitz days nationwide. This resulted in a phenomenal increase of 16% in participation figures in the last twelve months and over a staggering 60% increase in female participation.

FAI 1

A major highlight for the young players was the appearance of our SPAR FAI Primary School 5s Programme ambassador and former Republic of Ireland International Keith Andrews, who was on hand to present the prizes to all 192 players representing the 24 schools ensuring everyone was a winner on the day.

FAI 2

There was some special support for Granagh NS as Patrick O’Donovan TD, Minister of State for Tourism & Sport was on hand to cheer them on from the side-line as was Helen McEntee TD, Minister for Mental Health & Older People as she showed her interest in local outfit St. Patrick’s NS, Castletown who were in the same competing section.
The schools were divided into provincial representatives from small, medium and large schools divisions which culminated in 12 Counties being represented on the day.

 

 

THE WINNING TEAMS

SPAR ‘A’ Boys Cup:
Winner: Granagh NS, Kilmallock, Limerick

SPAR ‘A’ Girls Cup:
Winner: Drimina NS, Tubbercurry, Sligo

SPAR ‘B’ Boys Cup:
Winner: Scoil Mhuire gan Smál, Ballymote, Sligo

SPAR ‘B’ Girls Cup:
Winner: Carnmore NS, Oranmore, Galway

SPAR ‘C’ Boys Cup:
Winner: St. Ciaran’s NS, Hartstown, Dublin

SPAR ‘C’ Girls Cup:
Winner: Our Lady’s of Good Counsel GNS, Johnstown, Dublin

 

 

SPAR are the Official Convenience Retail Partner for the FAI

In 2017 we were delighted to partner with the FAI for the launch of “The Players Guide to Healthy Eating”. This is the first ever publication of this guide and we hope that you pick up some new ideas and habits from it. We hope children share the ideas from the guide with their friends, class-mates and families to embrace a balanced, nutritious diet. Eating healthier food helps children to concentrate for longer and learn more in school. It also supplies children with the energy they need to perform at their best at sport. In creating this guide, we’ve worked with our Dietitian Ellen Roche, as well as nutritional experts at the FAI, to supply a great range of healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options as well as healthy school lunch ideas and healthy eating tips.
Enjoy!

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