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Tuesday 08 Nov 2022
Translink broadens its support for schools’ football

The Irish FA and sponsors Translink have added a girls’ participation programme to the successful annual Translink Schools’ Gold Cup competition. 

The Gold Cup, which is now entering its fifth year, involves eight schools from across Northern Ireland battling it out over three age groups to be crowned the number one school in the country. 

The participants include Belfast schools Ashfield Boys’ High, Boys’ Model, Our Lady and St Patrick’s College Knock and St Malachy’s College.

Also in the mix are Bangor Academy, Strabane’s Holy Cross College, Laurelhill Community College in Lisburn and St Columb’s College from Derry-Londonderry. 


This year the partnership between the Irish FA and Translink has expanded to offer opportunities for girls to play football in schools through the introduction of the Translink taster session programme. 

The taster sessions will provide more than 1000 participation opportunities for girls aged 12 and 13 to engage and learn about football in schools while also signposting them to their local clubs. 

Irish FA Foundation Schools and Futsal Manager Gareth Allen said: “We are delighted to announce the continuation of the Translink Schools’ Gold Cup along with the addition of the girls’ programme. 

“One of the objectives within the foundation’s new schools strategy is the introduction of new girls’ programmes to maximise participation in schools, so we are delighted to launch this with Translink.

“I would like to thank Translink for their support for both boys’ and girls’ football in Northern Ireland. They have been a fantastic partner for the association and we look forward to growing schools’ football together.”

David Cowan, Director of Commercial Operations at Translink, said the Gold Cup was a great way to nurture local talent.

He further pointed out: “At Translink we are very proud of our long-term partnership with the Irish FA which helps support young players from across Northern Ireland as they take part in this popular competition, through both our sponsorship and also the transport provision to help teams get to and from their matches. 

“Team sport such as football plays a vital role in building confidence, encouraging team spirit, promoting active lifestyles and helping wellbeing, so it’s great to see the introduction of girls’ taster sessions, which we hope will not only help promote the sport to more young people but also provide a stepping stone to finding players of the future.” 

This season’s Gold Cup competition will get under way on Tuesday 22 November with back-to-back winners St Columb’s hosting Holy Cross Strabane in the pick of the first round games. 

In the other fixture in Group B St Malachy’s will make the trip across Belfast to face Ashfield Boys. 

In Group A Bangor Academy will host Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, while Boys’ Model travel to Lisburn to face Laurelhill Community College. 

The Translink competition involves eight post-primary schools in Northern Ireland who have been awarded the Gold Schools Quality Mark accreditation by the Irish FA Foundation.

Each season participating schools face each other across the U13, U15 and U17 age groups.

Image: Northern Ireland senior women’s team captain Marissa Callaghan joined Translink’s David Cowan and representatives from participating schools to announce the launch of this season’s Translink Schools’ Gold Cup and new taster sessions for girls.