One of the most exciting new developments in Irish schoolboys football this year has been the launch of the McDonald’s FAI Future Football Programme, which is designed to support clubs and enhance their great work at local level.
The programme included a McDonald’s Football Fun Day, a community football event.
Clonmel Celtic’s U-11s enjoyed a Football Fun Day in Dungarvan in August and progressed to the finals day held at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin last month. They did their club and town proud with a series of stunning performances that saw them go all the way to the final, where they just lost out in a penalty shootout to Waterford side Ferrybank.
Both sides were rewarded for their endeavours by playing an exhibition game on the Aviva pitch at half time during the recent Ireland v Kazakhstan World Cup game. It was the stuff of dreams for the kids, and for the parents and coaches involved it was a day that will live long in the memory.
Celtic had to overcome some tough opposition to make it all the way to the final, beating Douglas Hall (Cork) 1-0 (scorer O’Loughlin), Swords (Dublin) 3-0 (scorers Neville, French Davis and McGarry), Lagan Harps (Donegal) 2-0 (scorers Remmiasz and O’Loughlin) and drew 2-2 with Ballymun Utd (Dublin) (scorers O’Loughlin and Remmiasz) to win their group and face a semi-final against another Dublin team Cambridge 8s from Ringsend.
Celtic got the perfect start when Patryk Remmiasz fired home a long-range effort but the Dubliners were level within a minute and the game finished 1-1. In the penalty shootout goalkeeper Sophia Forrestal was the hero and produced the save that saw Celtic through to the final, where luck deserted them in another shootout.
However the skill, determination and sportsmanship displayed by the team throughout the competition was a credit to their coaches and parents. (a photo of the squad appears on the left).