Girls shine at Irish FA Schools’ Indoor Nationals finals

Irish FA vice-president David Martin presents the year 10/11 trophy to the team from east Belfast school Our Lady & St Patrick's.
Irish FA vice-president David Martin presents the year 10/11 trophy to the team from east Belfast school Our Lady & St Patrick's.

Twenty-four girls’ football teams from schools across Northern Ireland competed in the annual Irish FA Schools’ Indoor National Finals.

In the run-up to the finals, which were staged at Valley Leisure Centre in Newtownabbey, six regional heats were held with an impressive 130 teams, representing 55 schools, participating.

The competition was organised into three age groups: year 8/9 (under-13); year 10/11 (under-15) and year 12-plus (under-18).

The winners of each age group at each heat moved through to the National Indoor Finals where they were joined by last year’s finalists.

The year 8/9 section proved to be extremely competitive with most teams evenly matched. Holy Cross College (Strabane) proved too strong for Glengormley High in the final, claiming the title with an emphatic 4-0 victory.

Throughout the group stages of the year 10/11 section there was little separating the teams with a great standard of football on display. The decider between Belfast schools Our Lady & St Patrick’s and Breda Academy was extremely competitive but Our Lady & St Patrick’s were crowned champions thanks to a 2-0 win.

The year 12-plus section was another tightly contested group and the final was a thrilling encounter which finished in a draw and had to be decided by spot kicks. It was Belfast school Mercy College who held their nerve during the penalty shoot-out, winning it 6-5 against St Colm’s High (Dunmurry).

IFA vice-president David Martin, who presented the trophies, said: “I am delighted to support the Schools’ Indoor Cup. These successful annual events are integral for promoting interest and participation in girls’ football, which is directly linked to the Irish FA’s recently launched Let Them Play youth strategy.”