The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park is to host the final of the Danske Bank Under-18 Schools’ Cup for the first time this season.
The Northern Ireland Schools’ FA, which runs the Schools’ Cup, revealed the venue for the final when it launched the competition and the Danske Bank Girls’ 11-a-side competition at Belfast’s Campbell College.
The Schools’ Cup decider is scheduled to be played on Tuesday 14 March next year and NISFA chairman Paul Kerr expressed his delight that it would be staged at the historic venue.
Image: Pupils from Belfast’s Campbell College and Dominican College Belfast joined John Mulhern, Danske Bank area manager in Belfast, and NISFA chairman Paul Kerr at the launch of the Danske Bank-sponsored schools’ competitions.
He said: “Every young boy in Northern Ireland dreams of playing at the national stadium and this will provide extra incentive for the schools.
It's been a privilege to watch the competition go from strength to strength, and what a fantastic opportunity it is to play in the final at the National Stadium
“We are pleased to also announce that we have had record numbers entering our competitions this year and would like to thank the schools and teachers for providing these opportunities for the pupils.
“I would like to thank Danske Bank for their continued support for both boys and girls schools’ football and look forward to seeing the quality on offer in both competitions.”
John Mulhern, Belfast area manager at Danske Bank, said the bank was delighted to support boys and girls football and is looking forward to another exciting season.
He further pointed out: “Our partnership with the Northern Ireland Schools’ Football Association is now in its eighth year, and we’re very proud to support youth sport and local communities across Northern Ireland.
“It's been a privilege to watch the competition go from strength to strength, and what a fantastic opportunity it is to play in the final at the National Stadium. We’d like to wish the pupils in both competitions the very best of luck.”
Irish FA Foundation Director James Thompson said the U18 final, and both competitions in general, would be an opportunity to showcase the quality of schools’ football in Northern Ireland.
“In June we launched our new schools’ football strategy and one of the aims was increasing participation in schools’ football. Working closely with our partners in the Northern Ireland Schools’ FA we strive to offer thousands of participation opportunities for both schoolboys and schoolgirls,” he explained.