Cholmcille’s champions

by Gazette Reporter
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Ballybrack can claim host to All-Ireland champions as of last week after Scoil Cholmcille’s girls soccer stars took the Section B title in the Aviva Health FAI Primary School Fives national finals.

The squad, which included eight girls under the guidance of coaches Aidan Boyle and Nessa Farrell, secured the crown after two wins and a draw saw them top their table and claim the All-Ireland schools’ championship.

The group stages saw them face Roscommon’s Summerhill NS, Scoil Spioraid Naoimh from Limerick and Donegal’s Woodlands NS, and the Dun Laoghaire side scored eight goals on the way to the title.

Even though it was a league format, Cholmcille’s final game was a winner-takes-all clash which was effectively a cup final which added to the occasion.

Speaking after the girls’ success, coach and school principal Aidan Boyle could not hide his delight: “It’s obviously a big deal for the school, it’s the first national title the school has ever won.

“We are lucky to have a group of girls who haven’t lost a match in two years. They’ve won a whole host of competitions this year, including the Dublin, Leinster and All-Ireland five-a-sides, as well as the girls’ Dublin Cup, which they won the Thursday before the All-Ireland.”

The eight champion players were Courtney Maguire, Bobbi Downer, Molly Murphy, Nadine Clarke, Maya Stubbs, Abbey Corcoran, Dearbhla Grant and Kaci Lawless.

The girls also have a semi-final of their league competition to look forward to, which they are also hoping to win, according to the coach.

On the occasion of playing in the Aviva Stadium, Boyle spoke of how excited his side were. “Some of them had been there before, in FAI finals and mini-games, but even still it was a huge honour for the players and the coaches. It was a beautiful day, the facilities were amazing, so it was a great experience overall.”

The school were the only Dublin winners from the five different sections on the day which makes the feat that little bit more special.

Despite the fives squad being made up of sixth-class girls, the larger girls squad in the school contains a number of fourth- and fifth-class girls, and it will be hoped they can match the success of this year’s senior players next time round.

“We have a very strong tradition of soccer here in Ballybrack,” said Boyle. “Our boys actually won the Dublin final this year but lost out in the Leinster, plus we heard many times at the Aviva that we had one of the most impressive teams on show so I’m sure we’ll keep it going next year.”

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