Two more finals in Electric Ireland-sponsored schools’ football competitions for girls’ teams are set to be staged next week.
Blanchflower Stadium in Belfast is preparing to host a Year 8 nine-a-side competition decider and the Junior Cup final on Tuesday (2 May).
Earlier this week Kilkeel High School lost out in the Electric Ireland Schools’ Cup for senior girls’ teams (Under-18) to Holy Cross College Strabane, so they will be hoping to go one better next week when they contest the Year 8 competition decider against Belfast’s Blessed Trinity College (11am start).
Whoever wins the trophy on Tuesday will make history as it’s the inaugural final of the competition.
Kilkeel reached the decider after defeating Blessed Trinity’s north Belfast neighbours, Girls’ Model, 3-2 in their semi-final. And Blessed Trinity booked their place in the final following a 2-1 last four win against St Joseph’s College.
Gareth Allen, Schools and Futsal Manager with the Irish FA Foundation, said: “This competition has certainly been one we have all been keeping an eye on.
“Through Electric Ireland’s support we are delighted to see girls in Year 8 (first year) have the chance to get involved straight away as they enter post primary education.
“It’s a key age group as these girls are going to be future Junior and Senior competitors and champions. It’s great to see the impact football can have in schools, helping girls to settle and make friends. Hopefully these girls can become a part of their schools’ sporting history.”
The second final of the day will see Edmund Rice College (Glengormley) taking on Newbridge Integrated College (Banbridge) in the Junior Cup decider.
The U14 competition, which was won last year by debutants Dominican College, attracted the largest number of entries (47) in all the Electric Ireland-sponsored schools’ competitions staged during this school year.
Newbridge, who fell at the semi-final stage in last year’s competition, will be hoping that Ryan Gourley can lead them to glory this time.
Having defeated a strong Portadown College side in the semi-finals, confidence is high in the squad, according to the coach.
He said: “We are really excited for this year’s final. The girls have been brilliant the whole way through this competition and shown their resilience by overcoming sides that have previously defeated them in other competitions.”
Edmund Rice will not only be hoping for victory but one that is a little more straightforward than their semi-final success against Ballyclare High.
That game was a classic which will live long in the memories of both players and spectators. It was 4-4 at full time and 5-5 after extra time, with the tie eventually settled on penalties in Edmund Rice’s favour.
Image: Dominican College celebrate their success in last year’s Electric Ireland Junior Cup final.