Sports

Holy Family claims McDonald’s Sixes title

Thursday, 25 May 2017

THE enduring appeal of the annual McDonald's Sixes local primary schools' indoor soccer competition was confirmed again in this year's event last Friday at the Station Centre.

After the early league matches to establish seeding position for the knockout phase, the expectation is that the top form teams continue to make progression.

St Mary's PS Killyclogher was emerging as very strong contenders, having come through unbeaten from this phase. They then played Gibson PS, who finished eighth. A shock exit was on the cards for St Mary's, but they survived 5-4 on penalties. Second place Holy Family PS also had a huge scare against Christ the King PS who had an opportunity to take the lead, but it was Holy Family who progressed on a 1-0 score line.

The goal of the tournament from Charlie McCrory against All Saints PS put Omagh Integrated PS into the semi-final where they would meet Omagh County Primary PS who eclipsed defending champions McClintock PS 1-0 in a penalty shootout.

It was now league kingpins St Mary's against league runners-up Holy Family who contested the first semi-final which turned out to be a classic nip and tuck struggle, with a Ryan McGarvey penalty breaking the deadlock and Holy Family would contest the final. Omagh Integrated and Omagh County Primary was a similar cagey affair which went to a penalty shootout, Omagh Integrated making the final after a 2-1 victory.

A new name, Holy Family or Omagh Integrated, would now be engraved on the McDonald's Sixes Winners Shield for 2017. When Ethan Kelly drilled a superb low shot from distance the McDonald's Shield looked a sure bet to be heading toward the Dublin Road campus, as the Omagh Integrated School was developing a foothold in the game. This dominance was broken by Niall McCarney whose powerful run ended with a crashing shot to the net for 1-1,

Omagh Integrated now looked nervous as the tension ratcheted up. A mistake could lose it, and a moment of inspiration could win it, but it finished honours even.

A high drama finish of sudden death penalty shootout would decide the destiny of this year's championship. Holy Family blasted their shot into the net and when the Omagh Integrated's shot shaved wide of the post it was joy for the Brookmount Road based school, claiming their first ever title. The graciousness of the Integrated pupils towards their opponents at the end exemplified the true sporting spirit of this McDonald's tournament and emphasised the importance sport plays in teaching resilience to young people. Special guest of honour,

Linfield FC's Mark Stafford (who was kindly released from NIE duties to conduct prize giving) was a first class soccer ambassador for the occasion, encouraging the boys and girls to practice hard at developing their skills, to enjoy playing their sport and to listen to the honest advice from their teachers and coaches. Official at all matches was Pat Chesters, courtesy of the Fermanagh and Western Referees' Association.

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