NEXT Wednesday week will be a red-letter day for Trafrask NS in Adrigole as they compete in the national final of the Spar FAI Primary School 5s at the Aviva Stadium.
As the name indicates, the competition is five-a-side football and Trafrask have come through regional, county and provincial finals to compete on the biggest stage.
Manager of the team is Aidan Cremin, who is the coaching officer for Adrigole GAA Club and was asked to get involved as he had already undertaken Gaelic football sessions in the school.
He outlines the work which has gone into making it this far.
‘I was asked last year to do it by the principal, Louisa O’Donoghue,’ he says.
‘There was no sixth class in the school, so it was a young panel that took park, but the boys benefited from it this year.
‘We sent two teams to Clonakilty for the first stage of it and we got through that to make the regional final in Midleton, with four teams to quality from six taking part.
‘After that, it was the Cork final in Turner’s Cross and then the Munster final was in Tralee, we beat Kilmurry-Ibrickane from Clare in the last game to make it through.’
With rolling subs on a pitch 40m long and 25m wide, the games are hectic affairs, with the relatively short time-period – 10 minutes a half – not an impediment to high-scoring, as evidenced by Trafrask’s 6-0 win over Kilmurry-Ibrickane.
‘Getting the first goal is vital,’ Cremin says, ‘and it can be very tiring for the players as they are up and down the pitch. When you’re playing three or four games in a day, you need a break!’
Many of the squad play with Bantry Bay Rovers, and the soccer commitments have helped their GAA, as the school (it’s a two-teacher school with 45 pupils) has two seven-a-side teams in action in the Sciath na Scol finals on May 24th, while Adrigole NS has a team in the mixed section.
Opposing them in the round-robin competition at the Aviva will be schools from Sligo, Offaly and Monaghan, while preparations include a coffee morning after mass on Sunday, May 27th, featuring the school against other local sides.
‘It’ll be a big event,’ Cremin says.
‘We’re heading up the night before and on the day they’ll be paraded from the dressing rooms on to the pitch.
‘The school have given us great support and the parents have been brilliant, they’ll all be travelling up too.’
The Trafrask NS squad includes: Ben O’Sullivan (captain), Liam Crowley, Donagh O’Sullivan, Kevin Harrington, Jack Crowley, Mark Downing, Tom O’Connor, Tommy O’Sullivan, Seán O’Shea, Jack Harrington.