FAI Primary & Post Primary Schools Futsal programme kicks off nationwide this month
As part of the FAI Schools development programme, futsal is used as a way of introducing youngsters to the game of football and thus increasing grassroots participation within the sport.
The First Year initiative is the only national futsal competition for youth players.
The programme has quickly become one of the most popular sections of the schools soccer calendar, with talented students from all over the country aspiring to replicate the talents of Lionel Messi, Zico, Juninio, Kaka and Ronaldo. These legends of the football world have inspired youngsters to get involved and in doing so have increased the profile of futsal on an International scale.
20,400 children took part in this initiative last year which was activated inside a three month period in both our Primary and Post Primary Schools throughout Ireland.
With only one more week remaining, teachers are encouraged to sign up to this exciting initiative with online applications closing at 5pm on Friday, September 27. The primary schools application can be accessed on www.fai.ie/primaryfutsal while the post primary application is available at www.fai.ie/postprimarfutsal
There has been 128 days of futsal activity earmarked throughout the country for 3rd and 4th class boys and girls in the FAI Primary Schools Futsal programme with the Dublin qualifiers the first region to commence action in late September.
This month will see over 80 competitions commence in late September in the FAI Post Primary Schools Futsal Programme nationwide with Dublin the first region to kick things off. The students in first year will take to the courts to showcase their skills with some hoping to make it through their local qualifiers, progress to Provincial level and with the ultimate aim of gold at Nationals in early December.
Last season 758 primary schools signed up to play, culminating in a total of 15,180 children taking part (43% female participation). The post primary schools had 280 schools registered, amounting to a total of 5,220 students in action of which 49% were female.
Now in its eleventh year, this exciting initiative has reached phenomenal participation rates. This is largely attributed to the hard work of the FAI’s Development Officers promoting the programmes at grassroots level as well as our excellent relationship with local teachers who have participated in other schools activities over the last few years. Now a regular fixture in the schools’ calendar, this is set to be one of the biggest years yet for futsal.
Over the last ten years, there have been numerous Provincial and National winners to grace this exciting competition.
Scoil Mhuire, Buncrana have been represented four times at National level with 2 boys and 2 girls teams involved previously. The Donegal girls grabbed top spot in 2015 and were third in 2013 while the boys were third in 2016 and 2011.
Another familiar name on the podium was St. Joseph’s College, Galway who made three entries at the National stage. The crew were fourth in 2017 but claimed the gold medal in both 2014 and 2009. A phenomenal achievement for the Bish scholars.
Another trio of appearances were racked up by Carndonagh Community School with the girls appearing twice and the boys once. A remarkable double was achieved in 2017 with the boys third and the girls fourth that year. While the girls were runners up last season.
There have been numerous schools that have made two returns to the top level with St. Mary’s Diocesan School, Drogheda, Louth, Dublin Oak Academy, Bray, Wicklow (Leinster), St. Francis College, Rochestown, Cork, Christ King Girls’ Secondary School, Cork (Munster), St. Attracta’s Community School, Tubbercurry, Sligo, Summerhill College, Sligo, St. Muredach’s College, Ballina, Mayo, Meanscoil Muire gan Smál, Convent of Mercy, Roscommon, (Connacht), Moville Community College, Donegal, St. Columba’s College, Stranorlar, Donegal, St. Patrick’s College, Cavan (Ulster) all featuring prominently with Provincial crowns.
Two schools in the abovementioned list of honours, have appeared twice at the National Finals and have both secured top spot on each occasion. Meanscoil Muire gan Smál, Convent of Mercy, Roscommon and Christ King Girls’ Secondary School, Cork match the record of St. Joseph’s College, Galway with two major honours. The Roscommon girls secured gold in 2011 and 2014 while the Cork ladies won big in 2010 and 2012.
Last year, it was Connacht that struck a double gold at Nationals. Sligo kingpins St. Attracta’s Community School, Tubbercurry capturing the ultimate prize while their counterparts in Mayo, St. Louis Community School, Kiltimagh rounded off a superb performance to take the title.
In 2017, ironically it was the Munster stars that shone with us seeing double when Presentation Secondary School, Ballyphehane in Cork and their neighbours St. Francis College, Rochestown snatched gold on National Finals Day.
Who will take the prestigious provincial crown and National titles in 2019? No doubt there will be some futsal fever in the schools nationwide as the various Counties gear up for their events.
POST PRIMARY SCHOOLS FUTSAL DATES
Leinster Girls November 12 National Basketball Arena, Tallaght
Leinster Boys November 13 National Basketball Arena, Tallaght
Ulster November 13 AURA Leisure Centre, Letterkenny
Munster November 19 Waterford IT Sports Arena
Connacht November 20 IT Sligo
National Final: December 5 Waterford IT Sports Arena