The Irish FA Foundation, in partnership with Translink, is providing eight ‘golden’ post primary schools with the opportunity to attend football masterclasses as schools’ football is set to return.
The eight schools were the first in Northern Ireland to achieve the Gold School Quality Mark award from the Irish FA for the structures and processes they have in place for schools’ football.
In previous years they competed for the coveted Translink Gold Schools’ Cup, however with normal schools’ football matches unable to be played this year due to Covid-19 the masterclasses will give pupils a much-needed return to the pitch instead.
Acting Director of the Irish FA Foundation, Keith Gibson, said: “These masterclasses will give the pupils a welcome return to schools’ football and I must thank Translink for their continued support. This initiative will provide opportunities for pupils to get back to the pitch again and hopefully we will be able to see some games before the end of the school year.”
The masterclass sessions will see qualified Irish FA staff provide resources and coaching sessions to improve and enhance football quality in anticipation of the return of the Gold Cup in the next school year.
Translink’s Hilton Parr said: “The pandemic has impacted all aspects of life with sport in schools being severely impacted. Working closely with our partners in the Irish FA Foundation we’ve been able to adapt our plans and create this new masterclass initiative which will support young people across Northern Ireland to keep active, improve mental wellbeing and develop their sporting talent in a safe way.
“We hope all the pupils enjoy their masterclass sessions. It will be a great way to improve fitness and skill levels ahead of the much-awaited return of our Gold Cup competition when schools are able to compete against each other once again.”
The eight participating post primary schools are: Bangor Academy, St Columb’s College (Derry-Londonderry), Boys’ Model School (Belfast), Laurelhill Community College (Lisburn), St Malachy’s College (Belfast), Our Lady and St Patrick’s College Knock (Belfast), Ashfield Boys (Belfast) and Holy Cross College (Strabane).
Image: Launching the Irish FA-Translink masterclasses are Translink’s Hilton Parr and masterclass participants Travis Little and Curtis Phillips.