Irish grassroots day prizes kids and deaf football

The Football Association of Ireland was active during the week of UEFA Grassroots Day with activities all over the country including competitions for schoolchildren and deaf students.

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) staged a busy week of events for UEFA Grassroots Day with activities organised throughout the country including competitions for schoolchildren and deaf students.

One club that was particularly active was Tramore AFC. The Waterford-based side held a Grassroots Week, beginning with a seven-a-side tournament involving 12 mixed-gender teams formed by businesses from the Munster and Leinster areas. On UEFA Grassroots Day itself, Wednesday 25 May, more than 80 children aged between three and 11 from the local community took part in similar small-sided matches.

Tramore also hosted two tournaments – the Noel Hayes memorial fair play tournament and the Sonny Nolan memorial tournament. The former event engaged over 200 children from Waterford city and county in a seven-a-side competition, with the focus being on fun, expressing yourself and showing respect to the opposition. Points were awarded for these core elements rather than goals, while medals were presented to every player.

Elsewhere, the FAI arranged a fifth summer soccer school for students from St Joseph's School for Deaf Boys and St Mary's School for Deaf Girls in Dublin. The soccer school had 68 participants – 30 boys and 38 girls – aged between six and 15, all of whom learned new football skills with the emphasis on enjoyment and making new friends. Each child received a full playing kit and on completion of the four days' activities was rewarded with an FAI school certificate.

Disabled people also had priority in Salthill where the Special Olympics Connaught five-a-side finals took place. Men's and women's teams travelled from Galway, Mayo and Westmeath for the event, with a total of 57 male and 18 female players all playing a minimum of two games apiece.