Ballyneale National School’s soccer team returned triumphant to their school last week after winning the A section of the FAI Primary School Five-A-Side national finals at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
It was the first time the school has won the All Ireland Primary Schools Section “A” title and it’s only the second time a Co. Tipperary team has claimed gold in the small schools division as Leugh NS won back in 2004.
And there was a double reason to celebrate as the Ballyneale team captain Manus McFadden won the Player of the Tournament award.
Ballyneale and Lisaniskey played out a ten goal thriller in the opening game of the A Section finals with a 5-5 stalemate the result.
The goals came from Ballyneale Captain Manus McFadden (2), Angela McGuigan (1), Ian Holloway (1) and Mark O’Meara (1) while James Fitzpatrick (5) netted for Roscommon.
Another draw transpired in the second round of games as Mullahoran and Fermoyle played out a 2-2 draw.
Cormac O’Reilly scored for the Cavan outfit while Crónán Flood (1) and Kian Gilmore responded for Longford.
Ballyneale found their form in the second of their three outings as they swept Fermoyle aside with a 4-1 win.
Manus McFadden (1), Angela McGuigan (2) and Ian Brett (1) got their names on the score sheet as Kian Gilmore got the solitary goal for Fermoyle.
Mullahoran kept level with the Tipperary side on points as they defeated Lisaniskey 3-1 in their second game.
The third and final game for Mullahoran and Ballyneale was effectively the decider in this group as they were level on four points each.
Manus McFadden scored four splendid goals while Cavan came up short with goals from Cormac O’Reilly, Ryan O’Reilly and Gavin Brady in this crunch encounter.
Ballyneale NS were on their way to a well deserved podium finish.
Ballyneale’s teacher Sarah Whelan and coach Ian Sheehan were delighted with the victory having brought the team through their county qualifiers, Munster and now the All-Ireland series
It was no surprise that Manus McFadden picked up the Player of the Tournament accolade following his super performances throughout the day.
More than 16,000 children took part in the competition nationwide over a period of three months. Teams from 20 school competed in the finals on Saturday, May 24.