Staff and pupils at Long Tower Primary School have been celebrating this week after reaching the finals of a major national football competition.
Under the leadership of teacher, Gabriel Kelly, the school’s girls’ and boys’ football teams have both qualified to represent Derry in the IFA national finals of Indoor Football (Futsal).
Both teams fought their way through qualifying heats which were held recently in the Foyle Arena. A number of schools from across the city had entered and were whittled down through a series of competitive matches. At the end of the action, Long Tower’s girls and boys had both made it through to the national finals.
Both teams will be proudly flying the flag for Derry at the finals which take place on Monday, April 25, in Belfast where they will meet winning teams from all the other regions.
Teacher Gabriel Kelly, who is in charge of football at the school, said: “Although it will be an early start for the boys and girls that morning, the excitement and experience gained will be well worth it. The boys and girls are actively engaged in sport in the school and are learning the values of hard work, motivation and self-discipline which will be invaluable for life. The children have been training hard for the finals and hope to show the rest of the province the talent that Derry has to offer.
“Many past pupils have gone on to play professionally in Ireland and further afield. The school has always taken great pride in its football heritage and the Brandywell area is of course steeped in football history. Derry City FC is close to the school and their coaching staff and management team often visit to train and advise the youngsters,” added Mr. Kelly.
The last time Long Tower Primary School contested a national final was in 2012 when the girls’ team made it through all the way without losing a single match in the competition. Mr. Kelly told the ‘Journal’ that everyone at the school is hoping for a repeat of that success.