Belfast school Holy Child PS and Waringstown PS from Co Down were the overall winners in the National Primary Schools Futsal Finals.
Holy Child defeated Ebrington Primary in the final to secure the boys’ trophy, while Waringstown won the decider against Bush Primary to lift the girls’ trophy.
More than 60 primary schools entered regional competitions across Northern Ireland and the 2022-23 finals, played at Belfast’s Shankill Leisure Centre, featured the boys’ and girls’ teams who were successful in those seven heats.
In the boys’ competition there was a tight battle in the group section, with all the teams snatching points from one another.
St Joseph’s Crumlin emerged as early favourites with victories in their first two games only to come unstuck with defeats against Holy Child and Ebrington.
Holy Child started the day with defeat to Ebrington, however this served as a wake-up call for the team from west Belfast, who won their remaining five games to emerge top of the group.
St Joseph’s reached 12 points in the group, however Ebrington took maximum points in their final group game against Killyman PS to pip them to runners-up spot - and that secured a place in the final against Holy Child.
Even though Ebrington had defeated Holy Child at the start of the day, the Belfast team grabbed the glory in the decider against the school from Derry-Londonderry thanks to a slick display of attacking futsal.
The girls’ section followed a similar pattern to the boys’ competition with numerous strong team performances.
The top two sides were Bush Primary from Dungannon and Waringstown.
In the group stages a well taken goal late on meant Bush took the spoils against Waringstown and emerged as group winners. Waringstown were runners-up.
In the final there was very little between the two sides. Chances came and went with neither side able to grab a goal. In the end it went to penalties and it was joy for Waringstown and heartbreak for Bush.
Irish FA Foundation Schools and Futsal Manager Gareth Allen said: “I am so impressed with what the boys and girls have done today. It is clear there is passion and support in schools to be involved in these types of competitions and the children have represented their schools so well.
“I am so impressed with the performance levels and skill on show today and it’s clear the future is bright for futsal in this country for both the men’s and women’s teams.”
Special guests at the final included the Northern Ireland men’s and women’s futsal team managers, Jonathan Michael and Keith Gibson respectively, along with Northern Ireland senior women’s team captain Marissa Callaghan.
Images: Marissa Callaghan presented Waringstown Primary’s girls’ team with their trophy, while Northern Ireland men’s futsal team manager Jonathan Michael presented the boys’ trophy to Holy Child PS at the National Primary Schools Futsal Finals.