It’s a long time since any Louth team has won a Leinster title in any sport! But that’s exactly what Monastery National School, Ardee did yesterday by winning the Leinster Under 13 FAI Five a side soccer competition. Monastery NS entered the Leinster Finals at the MDL grounds Navan as Louth and North Leinster Champions. They faced the Dublin (St. Dominic’s NS, Tallaght), Mid Leinster (Newbridge Educate Together NS, Kildare) and South Leinster (Gaelscoil an Inbhir Mhóir, Arklow, Wicklow) champions.
In the first game they faced St Dominic’s NS, Tallaght and went into an early lead thanks to long range shot from Liam Jackson. A few minutes later his brother Tom Jackson added a second goal. Jonathan Commins scored two more and Liam Jackson added another. Substitute Eddie Quan Ooi bagged another goal leaving a final score of 6 – 1 for Monastery NS. Darragh Mc Coy and Evan Mc Kenna made excellent contributions when they came on as substitutes in the second half.
Monastery NS now faced their toughest opposition in the South Leinster Champions, Gaelscoil Arklow, Wicklow. From the kick off Jonathan Commins charged down the right wing and smashed a shot into the net. In goals Gavin Kirk made four outstanding saves as Arklow piled on the pressure. Liam Jackson and Dónal McKenny defended intensely and kept the Arklow strikers under wraps. Then Dónal McKenny broke from defence and volleyed a shot to the net. Arklow pulled two goals back but two more goals from Jonathan Commins and another from Dónal Mc Kenny made it 5 -2 to Monastery NS at the final whistle.
The third and final game was against Mid Leinster Champions, Newbridge Educate Together, Kildare. Monastery NS needed one more win to secure their place in the all Ireland Finals. They started slowly but overcame Newbridge in a tough physical game by 5 goals to 1. Tom Jackson scored two great goals as did Jonathan Commins. And Liam Jackson who had defended brilliantly all day also scored a goal. To the relief of all the final whistle went and Monastery NS had secured another valuable win. Three games and three wins for the Louth lads saw them crowned Leinster U13 FAI 5 a side soccer champions. They now play in the Leinster colours against the Munster, Connaught and Ulster Champions for the All Ireland title!
The Monastery NS Team was Gavin Kirk, Dónal McKenny (Co-Captain), Liam Jackson (Co-Captain), Tom Jackson, Jonathan Commins, Eddie Bing Quan Ooi, Evan McKenna and Darragh McCoy. Managers Mr Jim Mc Gee and Ms Leanna Cusack now look forward to the All Ireland Finals at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, May 25th.