GAA Football

St John the Baptist and Bunscoil Phobal Feirste back where they belong

The girls of St John the Baptist and Bunscoil Phobal Feirste were backing competing in Gaelic football yesterday after an absence of over a year

SARSFIELDS GAC felt well and truly alive again yesterday with the sound of screaming schoolchildren from the proud parishes of St John the Baptist and Bunscoil Phobal Feirste as they celebrated their long-awaited return to inter-school competition.

Due to the pandemic, it's been 15 months since schools were allowed to compete against one another on the sporting field with the two west Belfast primary schools renewing their rivalry.

For the children as well as the teachers, yesterday was a day to savour at sunny Sarsfields.

Michael Pollock, PE co-ordinator at St John the Baptist, was delighted to see children from both schools enjoying taking another important step towards normality.

“It was great to see the kids cross the white line today,” he said. “You could see the joy in their faces and getting the chance to put that school jersey on again because when they wear it they all grow a foot taller. It was just a brilliant day for both schools.”

Mr Pollock added: “It’s important for us, as teachers, to focus on the children’s academic well-being but it’s also essential that we cater for their physical and social well-being – and Gaelic Games is a great vessel for that.”

Mr Pollock is keeping his fingers crossed that Cumann na mBunscol can come up with a fixtures schedule in order to play some school championships before the end of term.

“Hopefully there are many more days before the children finish school because they’ve had a really tough year,” said the St Gall’s footballer.

St John the Baptist principal Mr Chris Donnelly commented: “We should never underestimate the difference sport makes in many young people’s lives, and it’s great that once again we can see and hear the children enjoying experiences that should form an integral part of their childhood.

“Hopefully we will be able to organise a number of additional fixtures in the short number of weeks ahead before the summer holidays.”

St John the Baptist boys celebrate a score from their team

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GAA Football