The SPAR FAI Primary School 5s Programme was officially launched on the set of Fair City in Dublin yesterday by former Republic of Ireland International Keith Andrews and current Republic of Ireland Women’s International Megan Campbell.
The five-a-side football programme has gone from strength to strength and now stands as the largest primary school’s programme of its kind in Ireland. The target for this year is to attract 35,000 players from around the country.
Open to boys and girls from 4th, 5th and 6th class, the emphasis is firmly placed on fun, inclusivity and fostering a passion for physical activity.
SPAR, in its 5th year as supporters of the FAI, are looking to surpass 2018 participation figures, which saw a record 1,528 schools and 31,728 children don their sports kit to take to pitches and fields around the country.
Registration for the programme will close on February 15th, and county blitzes will kick off at the end of February running from county level to regional then provincial finals.
24 schools will make it all the way to the National Finals which will be held at the Aviva Stadium on May 29th.
SPAR recently renewed its support of the FAI and the SPAR5s programme until 2021.
Participation figures have grown year on year with the number of schools taking part jumping from 1,064 in 2015 to 1,528 last year. 40 per cent of participants are now young girls.
“The SPAR5s is a programme we are very proud of, that, as its essence, encourages children to get involved in sport and develop a love for football and physical activity and perfectly complements our SPAR Better Choices message,” said Sales Director Colin Donnelly.
“Each year we are inspired by the enthusiasm and passion shown by students and teachers taking part in the programme which has helped to drive participation levels well over 30,000.”
“Having recently renewed as the Official Convenience Store of the FAI we are looking forward to working with schools and communities across the country to further elevate the stature of the SPAR FAI Primary School 5s Programme.”
“SPAR have 400 high quality, conveniently located outlets spread across the country who are equally as enthusiastic about this programme, which allows us to give back to our loyal customers and help support schools and communities across the country.”
“The competition is growing at an incredible rate with the standard of football improving each year, especially among our female students,” added Sean Carr, Chair of the FAI Schools Committee.
“We are excited about our extended partnership with SPAR, who are an ideal sponsor for this competition and we look forward to working with them to increase our phenomenal participation rates again this season.”
Image Credit: Stephen McCarthy, Sportsfile