Mounthawk Park, Tralee played host to the Kerry County Final of the SPAR FAI Primary School 5s Programme.
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. 37,448students from 1,696 schools are contesting the SPAR 5s this year, 1,176 of which hail from Kerry. Through a series of local qualification rounds just 6 schools progress from a hard-fought Kerry County Final onto the provincial finals.
The ‘B’ Cup, for medium sized schools, proved to be a compelling division with 4 teams involved. The final was eventually won by Gaeilscoil Mhic Easmainn Tralee who narrowly won 3-2 over a talented Gaeilscoil Faithleann Killarney side.
The ‘C’ Cup, for large schools, was another hard-fought contest between 9 very talented teams. St Olivers Killarney eventually came out on top of the large school’s division.
The winners will now progress to the Munster Finals on May 14th/15th in the Seanchoill Sports Complex, Limerick.
The rise in the number of girls putting boot to ball has been particularly pleasing for sponsors, SPAR, as 42% 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 4th, 5th and 6th class girls registered making it more competitive than ever.
The Girls ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ Cup finals were held on the 1st of May where there was a fantastic atmosphere throughout the competition.
In the Girls ‘A’ Cup, for small schools, had 5 passionate schools with the final between the talented Kilgarvan Ns and Knockanes Ns. Kilgarvan triumphed in what was a thrilling contest 1-0.
In the Girls ‘B’ Cup Final, for medium sized schools, this again proved to be a compelling division with 4 teams involved. The final was eventually won by Faha Ns after extra time against very talented Firies Ns side.
Holycross school Killarney put in some fine displays to progress from the Girls ‘C’ Cup division for large schools. Holycross finished off the tournament with a 4 goal to 1 goal win and look in fine form heading into the Munster 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.
Dave Archbold, Secretary of FAI Schools stated, “This is our fifth year with title sponsors SPAR and I am delighted to report that the competition has grown yet again and now firmly holds the title of the largest primary schools’ competition in the country. SPAR’s ongoing support, both nationally and at a local level, has ensured the ongoing success of the programme and given 36,616 children an opportunity to get involved in a professionally-run, fun and inclusive programme. FAI Schools look forward to welcoming schools to the National Finals on Wednesday, May 29th in Aviva Stadium. We would also like to extend our thanks to all schools who have participated in 2019.”
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 retailers in Kerry have been getting behind the SPAR FAI Primary School 5s Programme, which encourages children to get involved in football in a fun, safe and inclusive environment.”