Treble triumph for footballers of Roddensvale School in Larne
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The players lifted two trophies after a partnership between business advisory firm BDO NI and the Irish FA saw 11 schools from across Northern Ireland to compete in this year’s Special Schools’ FA Cup.
The five-a-side football tournament for pupils with a learning disability featured more than 100 players at Lagan Valley Leisureplex in Lisburn.
Roddensvale won both the Year 8-10 and 11-plus age categories – a remarkable achievement for the school and one which the pupils and staff celebrated in style.
The schools that took part included Glenveagh (Belfast), Riverside (Antrim), Castle Tower (Ballymena), Roddensvale (Larne), Ceara (Lurgan), Hill Croft (Newtownabbey), Rathore (Newry), Parkview (Lisburn), and Tor Bank in Dundonald.
Alan Crooks, development manager, disability football for the Irish FA Foundation, said: “What a fantastic day. It was great to see so many kids enjoying themselves at this event. Huge congratulations to Roddensvale who went home with both cups and I’m sure they will have a great time celebrating.
"Massive thanks to BDO as well. Their support helped make it a memorable day for so many pupils.”
Laura Jackson, partner BDO NI, said: “It was great to see so many local schools competing today in what is an important sporting initiative for those with learning disabilities who want the opportunity to take part in competitive sport. The benefits of team sports can be transformative for young people, advancing social skills, health and wellbeing, confidence, and independence at a critical age in their development.
“As new sponsors to this partnership with the Irish FA, BDO NI looks forward to continuing this collaboration and supporting more young people in their pursuit of personal development and sports participation.”
In April, Roddensvale players were also trophy winners at the Valley Leisure in an IFA-run football competition. The successes were highlighted during a recent school assembly.
Principal John Madden BEM said: “This year we managed to win all three competitions we entered, therefore winning the treble.
“Everyone at Roddensvale couldn’t be prouder of the pupils amazing achievements and wish them all the best in next year’s competitions.”