Sligo and Donegal teams to contest schools national finals at the Aviva Stadium

The SPAR FAI Primary School 5s National Finals take centre stage this week as the Aviva Stadium in Dublin will host the event onWednesday, May 31 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 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.


12 counties will be represented in the Aviva with Galway leading the charge with 4 representatives. The Galwaigen army hail from Oranmore, Taylor’s Hill, Doorus and Raleigh Row in the City. Donegal and Monaghan have 3 schools each qualified. While Cork, Dublin, Meath, Sligo and Tipperary have 2 schools apiece. Meanwhile, Clare, Kilkenny, Limerick and Louth will each have one representative. The action will commence at 11.30am with the small schools section in boys and girls kicking us off.


This year the programme featured 1,495 schools with a total of 28,567 children participating which is a new record for the 5s programmewhich has been in existence since the mid-1990s.


The SPAR ‘A’ Cup has Scoil Chiaráin Naofa, Doorus, Galway (Connacht), St. Patrick’s NS, Castletown Kilpatrick, Meath (Leinster), Granagh NS, Kilmallock, Limerick (Munster) and Scoil Bhríde, Mullaghrafferty, Monaghan (Ulster) all in the driving seat for National honours. Three of the four are newcomers to this stage of proceedings apart from Granagh NS, Kilmallock who have featured previously. Seamus Murphy’s side starred in 2014 in the SPAR ‘A’ Cup with a fourth place podium finish and they were finalists as way back as 2001 in this competition.


The SPAR ‘A’ Girls Cup will have debutants Drimina NS, Tubbercurry, Sligo (Connacht),

Boyerstown NS, Mullaghmore, Meath (Leinster), Little Flower NS, Ballytarsna, Cashel, Tipperary (Munster), and Scoil Mhuire, Caiseal, Fánaid, Donegal (Ulster) in the melting pot for the small girls schools section. Boyerstown NS, Meath will be in familiar territory. Principal Cathal O’Bric led the Mullaghmore boys to the Aviva back in 2015 when the team came a gallant fourth in the SPAR ‘B’ Cup for medium schools. This week will see the return of the Meath outfit as the girls contest the SPAR ‘A’ Girls Cup for small schools. It will be a delightful outing for the crew as three of the boys sisters feature this week with Daragh Reilly’s sister Orlaith, Adam Roger’s sister Alana and Kyle Cosgrove’s sister Amber all lining out for a family affair on Wednesday. The girls will be hoping to emulate the lad’s success and perhaps go one better this time out. Elsewhere, Seán Carr, Chairman of FAI Schools will have a keen interest in this division as his former primary school, Scoil Mhuire, Caiseal, Fánaid will be in action for the Ulster kingpins.


The SPAR ‘B’ Cup will see a broad geographic remit covered as Scoil Mhuire gan Smál, Ballymote, Sligo (Connacht), St. Peter’s NS, Dromiskin, Louth (Leinster), Scoil an Athar Tadhg, Carraig na bhFear, Cork (Munster) and Dooish NS, Ballybofey, Donegal (Ulster) try to make a top of the table finish. Under the stewardship of Patricia Hunt, the teacher guided the girls from Scoil Mhuire gan Smál,Ballymote, Sligo to third place in the SPAR ‘B’ Girls Cup in 2011 when Leah Victoria Park, Tullamore Town FC hosted the Nationals. She will relish the chance for her boys team to play in the marvellous surrounds of the Aviva come match day as they compete in this division with John Lavin lending a hand. This should be an exciting contest with all four schools impressing in the provincial stages.


Carnmore NS, Oranmore, Galway (Connacht), Kilkenny School Project, Kilkenny (Leinster), Ballyea NS, Ennis, Clare (Munster) andGaelscoil Ultain, Monaghan (Ulster) make the cut for the medium schools in the SPAR ‘B’ Girls Cup. Monaghan’s Gaelscoil Ultain will make their fourth appearance in the history of this competition. The Gaelscoil previously qualified in 2002, claiming fourth in the ‘A’ Girls Cup for small schools. A purple patch saw the school return in 2011 and 2012 with fourth place in both years in the same division for medium schools. What can Joe Ó’Gallchóir’s charges do this season as they compete yet again in the ‘B’ Girls Cup with Sinéad Nig Uidhir assisting? David Weadick’s Kilkenny School Project will have the youngest team competing this season with 10 year old Millie Gilsenan the youngest participant of all 192 players. It will be a family affair as sister’s Jenny and Kate Beirne Bowden line out alongside twins Enya and Chiara Cardillo.


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 Iognaid, Galway (Connacht), St. Ciaran’s NS, Hartstown, Dublin (Leinster), Nenagh CBS Primary, Tipperary (Munster), St. Joseph’s BNS, Carrickmacross, Monaghan (Ulster) will take to the field with an even contest in store. 2014 saw teachers Jimmy Lacey and Paul Fitzpatrick make the trip to Dublin as St. Joseph’s BNS, Carrickmacross played in the SPAR ‘C’ Cup which merited a fourth place medal. Can the duo improve on this medal tally?


Scoil Róis, Taylor’s Hill, Galway (Connacht), Our Lady of Good Counsel, Johnstown, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin (Leinster), Scoil Niocláis, Frankfield, Cork (Munster) and Woodland NS, Letterkenny, Donegal (Ulster) are in the final select for the girls large schools division, SPAR ‘C’ Girls Cup. We welcome back some familiar faces to the Aviva, namely; Scoil Niocláis, Frankfield, Cork. They make their return for the second consecutive year with the talented Katie McCarthy and Ellie O’Mahony still involved with the squad.  Teachers Kevin O’Connelland Jonathan Owens guided last season’s squad to a fourth place finish in this section. Can the Cork crew impress again with the experienced duo of McCarthy and O’Mahony in action for their side?  Another School to grace the Aviva back in 2014 were Woodland NS, Letterkenny with Evelyn Roche actively involved. Her side were placed fourth in the SPAR ‘B’ Girls Cup for medium schools that afternoon but this year they will line out in the SPAR ‘C’ Girls Cup for large schools with Michael O’Malley leading the way. Prior to that, the Donegal outfit picked up bronze in 2010 when the boys came third in the SPAR ‘C’ Cup.

Drimina NS, Tubbercurry.

Drimina NS, Tubbercurry.

Dooish NS, Ballybofey.

Dooish NS, Ballybofey.

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 2017. 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 2017 as well as a SPAR Player of the Tournament accolade in each division to be awarded.  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.




SPAR ‘A’ Cup (small schools)                     

Connacht                                             Scoil Chiaráin Naofa, Doorus, Galway

Leinster                                                St. Patrick’s NS, Castletown KP, Meath

Munster                                               Granagh NS, Kilmallock, Limerick

Ulster                                                    Scoil Bhríde, Mullaghrafferty, Monaghan


SPAR ‘A’ Girls Cup (small schools)           

Connacht                                             Drimina NS, Tubbercurry, Sligo

Leinster                                                Boyerstown NS, Mullaghmore, Meath

Munster                                               Little Flower NS, Ballytarsna, Cashel, Tipperary

Ulster                                                    Scoil Mhuire, Caiseal, Fánaid, Donegal


SPAR ‘B’ Cup (medium schools)

Connacht                                             Scoil Mhuire gan Smál, Ballymote, Sligo

Leinster                                                St. Peter’s NS, Dromiskin, Louth

Munster                                               Scoil an Athar Tadhg, Carraig na bhFear, Cork

Ulster                                                    Dooish NS, Ballybofey, Donegal


SPAR ‘B’ Girls Cup (medium schools)     

Connacht                                             Carnmore NS, Oranmore, Galway

Leinster                                                Kilkenny School Project, Kilkenny

Munster                                               Ballyea NS, Ennis, Clare

Ulster                                                    Gaelscoil Ultain, Monaghan


SPAR ‘C’ Cup (large schools)                      

Connacht                                             Scoil Iognaid, Galway

Leinster                                                St. Ciaran’s NS, Hartstown, Dublin

Munster                                              Nenagh CBS Primary, Tipperary

Ulster                                                    St. Joseph’s BNS, Carrickmacross, Monaghan


SPAR ‘C’ Girls Cup (large schools)            

Connacht                                             Scoil Róis, Taylor’s Hill, Galway

Leinster                                                Our Lady of Good Counsel, Johnstown, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin

Munster                                               Scoil Niocláis, Frankfield, Cork

Ulster                                                    Woodland NS, Letterkenny, Donegal




SPAR ‘A’ Cup (Small schools, mixed/boys)

Scoil Chiaráin Naofa, Doorus, Galway | Cathal Corless, Pádraig Pearl, Michael MacSweeney, Andrew Horan, Joshua O’Connor, Adam Huban, Stephen Faul, Adam Noone

Teachers | Aonghus McNamara, Martina Tarpey


St. Patrick’s NS, Castletown Kilpatrick, Meath | Ewan Sheridan, Bernard Doherty, Kelan Sheerin, Cormac Farrelly, Killian Smyth, Rian McConnell, Joao Gabriel Gomes, Arón Monaghan

Teachers | Niall Martin, Anthony Monaghan


Granagh NS, Kilmallock, Limerick | Eoin Horgan, Mark O’Shea, Pádraig Murphy, TJ Tierney, Luke Hayes, Seán O’Gorman, Ian Sheehy, Zack Hayes

Teachers | Seamus Murphy, Tom O’Gorman


Scoil Bhríde, Mullaghrafferty, Monaghan | Gorey Doogan, Jack Ward, Eoghan Hoey, Aaron Kennedy, Eóghan Farrelly, Anton Smith, Kian Duffy, Patrick Farrelly

Teachers | Shane Donnelly, Philip Kelly


SPAR ‘A’ Girls Cup (Small schools, girls only)

Drimina NS, Tubbercurry, Sligo | Holly Gannon, Leah Walsh, Ciara Brennan, Eimear Hunt, Macayla Burke, Rhianne McSteen, Aoife Roche

Teachers | Ruth Kelly, Theresa Sheerin


Boyerstown NS, Mullaghmore, Meath | Toyah Hennessey, Orlaith Reilly, Alannah Rattigan, Katie McHugh, Amber Cosgrove, Alana Rogers, Chloe Rogers, Caoimhe Keyes

Teachers | Cathal O’Bric, Margaret Hennessey


Little Flower NS, Ballytarsna, Cashel, Tipperary | Maia O’Sullivan, Sarah Bell, Katelyn Downey, Grace Fitzpatrick Ryan, Alessia Mazzola, Hannah Downey, Caoimhe Maher

Teachers | Siobhán McGrath, Catherine Molony


Scoil Mhuire, Caiseal, Fánaid, Donegal | Méabh Ní Dhubhthaigh, Olivia Ní Fhríl, Rachael Ní Fhríl, Clodagh Ní Thiaróin, Aoife Ní Shiail, Isult Ní Mhathúna, Alannah Ní Fhríl, Aoife Nic Suibhne

Teachers | Una Sweeney, Gráinne Uí Dhubhthaigh


SPAR ‘B’ Cup (Medium schools, mixed/boys)

Scoil Mhuire gan Smál, Ballymote, Sligo | Shane Rafferty, Mark Tighe, Finlay Hutchinson, Michael Lavin, Thomas Sweeney, David McDonagh, Gerard O’Brien, Mark Scanlon

Teachers | Patricia Hunt, John Lavin


St. Peter’s NS, Dromiskin, Louth | Cian Sheridan, Ryan Doran, James Woods, Evan McEnteggart, Nathan Todd, Rory McLoughlin, Jake Kenny, Seán Allen

Teachers | David McDomish, Pat Mulligan


Scoil an Athar Tadhg, Carraig na bhFear, Cork | Martin Murphy, Aaron Ryan, Zach Lynch, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Lewis McGrath, Cian Crowley, John O’Sullivan, Ryan Bradburn

Teachers | Michael White, Dermot O’Driscoll


Dooish NS, Ballybofey, Donegal | Darragh Boyle, Jack Long, Kevin McCormack, Conor McGinty, Patrick Long, Mark Mbuli, Eoin McGonagle, Andrew Murray

Teachers | Ciarán McDevitt, Jason Ewing


SPAR ‘B’ Girls Cup (Medium schools, girls only)

Carnmore NS, Oranmore, Galway | Leah O’Halloran, Roisín Collins, Elsa Iusulano, Brónagh Kelly, Alannah Fahy, Sara Cogley, Aoife Collins, Elisha Bohan

Teacher | John Reilly


Kilkenny School Project, Kilkenny | Mai Gordon Dalton, Femke Tooley, Millie Gilsenan, Jenny Beirne Bowden, Mell Snyder, Chiara Cardillo, Kate Beirne Bowden

Teacher | David Weadick


Ballyea NS, Ennis, Clare | Rebecca Carmody, Hannah Mai Neylon, Rebecca McCarthy, Sinéad Collins, Anna Whelan, Aisling Costelloe, Orla Hogan, Emer Phelan

Coaches | Kieran Ryan, Shane Hogan


Gaelscoil Ultain, Monaghan | Katie Ní Thréinir, Deirbhile Ní Chianáin, Scarlett Ní Earáin, Caitlín Ní Fhaogáin, Ally Nic Cearáin, Emma Nic Giolla Mhichíl, Hannah Nic Uaid

Teachers | Sinéad Nig Uidhir, Joe Ó’Gallchóir


SPAR ‘C’ Cup (Large schools, mixed/boys)

Scoil Iognaid, Galway | Ronán Ó’Loideáin, Maitiú Mac Thomas, Dónal Mac Giolla, Maitiú Ó’Fatharta, Milo Ó’Máillr, Ailéin O’Conghaile, Luc Ó’Braonáin, Jay Ó’Máirtín

Teachers | Eoin Durkin, Siobhán Divilly


St. Ciaran’s NS, Hartstown, Dublin | Seán Molly, Josh Clarke, Adam Kavanagh, Alex Jones, Calum Jameson, Belguy Manzambi, Jake Brady, Eric Marku

Teachers | Declan Tobin, Peadar Reilly


Nenagh CBS Primary, Tipperary | Cian Carmody, Seán-Keith Crosse, Adam McAiliffe, Nikodem Kozlowski, Paddy Parcelea, Charlie O’Gorman, Kian Kelly Mitchell, Brian McEvoy

Teachers | Eoin Buckley, Damien Hayes


St. Joseph’s BNS, Carrickmacross, Monaghan | Odhran Maher, Luke McGeown, Nathan Campbell, Fionán Carolan, Tadgh Dunne, Augustus Lupari, Darragh Mee, Ben Fagbemi

Teachers | Paul Fitzpatrick, Jimmy Lacey


SPAR ‘C’ Girls Cup (Large schools, girls only)

Scoil Róis, Taylor’s Hill, Galway | Lauren O’Donnell, Daisy O’Connell, Rosie Dolan, Grace O’Connor, Ivanna Lally, Eve Dossen, Linda Delaney, Alyssa O’Connor

Coaches/Teachers | John Power, Bridie McNamara


Our Lady of Good Counsel, Johnstown, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin | Aja Chambers, Liadh Burns, Maedbh Hanney, Rebecca Prenter, Ella Moriarty, Ava Gibson Doyle, Lilymae Coyne, Nia Hayden

Teachers | David O’Connor, Mark Barry


Scoil Niocláis, Frankfield, Cork | Laura O’Brien, Fiona McCarthy, Jennifer Sheehy, Heidi O’Sullivan, Katie McCarthy, Ellie O’Mahony, Olivia Greaney, Aobha Murphy

Teachers | Kevin O’Connell & Jonathan Owens


Woodland NS, Letterkenny, Donegal | Aoife Sweeney, Gliodhna Patton, Niamh Sweeney, Amy Hegarty, Laura Doherty, Sinéad Otoo, Aoibhinn Franklin, Maria Kelly

Teachers | Michael O’Malley, Evelyn Roche