Feast of football
Host of schools compete in Arklow
Arklow Town FC played host to the Wicklow County Final of the SPAR FAI Primary School 5s Programme last Wednesday.
The SPAR FAI Primary Schools 5s Programme has seen participation figures grow year on year to become the largest primary schools' competition in the country. 36,616 students from 1,691 schools are contesting the SPAR 5s this year, 1,054 of which hail from Wicklow.
Through a series of local qualification rounds just 6 schools progress from a hard-fought Wicklow County Final onto the provincial finals.
The 'A' Cup, open to boys and/or mixed teams from small schools, had four passionate schools with the final between the talented Scoil Naomh Brid of Knockananna and St Saviours school. Scoil Naomh Brid triumphed in what was a thrilling contest.
The 'B' Cup, for medium sized schools, again proved to be a compelling division with eight teams involved. The final was eventually won by Gael Scoil Chill Mhaintain who proved a little too strong over a talented Carrysfort NS side.
The 'C' Cup, for large schools, was another hard-fought contest between 2 very talented schools. St Kevins Greystones eventually came out on top of the large school's division.
The winners will now progress to the South Leinster Finals on April 30th, at Bunclody AFC, Co. Wexford. The rise in the number of girls putting boot to ball has been particularly pleasing for sponsors, SPAR, as 40 per cent of participants are now female. Participation in the girl's division of the SPAR FAI Primary Schools 5s Programme reached an all-time high this year with 15,344 fourth, fifth and sixth class girls registered making it more competitive than ever.
The Girls 'A', 'B' and 'C' Cup finals were held on the 10th of April where there was a fantastic atmosphere throughout the competition.
In the Girls 'A' Cup, for small schools, Coolafancy NS defeated Kilcommon NS in a really exciting and hard-fought match which ended 3 goals to 0.
In the Girls 'B' Cup Final, for medium sized schools, Sacred Heart Aughrim sealed qualification to the next stage after they overcame a tough challenge from Donard NS.
St Laurences Greystones put in a fine display against St Marys Blessington to progress from the Girls 'C' Cup division for large schools. St Laurences finished off the tournament with a 5 goal to 0 goal win and look in fine form heading into the South Leinster Finals.
The SPAR FAI Primary School 5s Programme has been in existence since the mid 1990's and has increased student participation levels by 14.5% since 2018 up to 36,320. The competition is run across six divisions, ensuring that schools of all sizes are catered for. Boys and girls are encouraged to play together but there is a separate competition for boys and girls dependent on school enrolment numbers.