BALBRIGGAN'S LORETO Secondary have been crowned FAI Schools Girls First Year Futsal Leinster champions for the first time after a thriling day's competition at Franciscan College, Gormanston, last Wednesday.
The Post Primary Schools futsal competition is in its fourth year nationally after a successful pilot programme and caters for first-year students. The competition was split into two sections, boys and girls, with two groups in each section and group winners progressing to their respective final.
The College's indoor facilities are unrivalled and an impressive 288 participants from 23 schools representing each and every one of the counties in Leinster made it a day to remember at the Meath facility. Loreto, well prepared by teacher Stuart O'Brien, had to work had for their success throughout the day.
They were impressive throughout the group stages, winning four out of their five games. An opening 3-1 win against former champions Eureka Secondary School was followed by a 2-1 success over a tough Scoil Chriost Rí side. Presentation Kilkenny were next up and Loreto slotted two past the Cats without reply.
Their penultimate game against Mercy Secondary School, Ballymahon, resulted in a 4-0 victory. With top spot in the group table guaranteed, Loreto faced Sacred Heart in the final game of the series and the Tullamore girls gave a wonderful performance to secure the two points with a 4-0 win that saw them finish a gallant second in the group one table and end the Fingal girls' 100% record.
Loreto's opposition in the final were group two table-toppers St Leo's College, Carlow, who had won all five of their group games with a goal difference of +15 and it proved to be a hugely entertaining affair, with the underdogs from Balbriggan holding their own in an end-to-end battle to overcome a classy Carlow side 2-1. Loreto's reward is a place in the All Ireland Finals back in Gormanston this Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in the Leinster Boys competition Donabate Community College finished third in their group with the help of a 2-0 victory over Colaiste Choilm, the eventual beaten finalists.
Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan: Eibhlin McCarthey, Lauren Deweer, Naomi Harper, Sorcha McAleenan, Shauna Healy, Laoise McAleenan, Yvonne O'Sullivan, Saoirse McDonaugh, Dominka Lewandowska, Ann Casey. Teacher: Stuart O'Brien.
Dublin (Boys) Donabate Community College: Niall Shields, Jack Simpson, Cian Shortle, Darren Maher, Adham Kinsella, Shetemi Ayetigbo, Mark Madden, Stephen Brody, Harry Nugent, Neil Moddy. Teacher: Barry Tiernan.