The Count John McCormack Multi Purpose Hall in the Athlone Institute of Technology is the place to be this Thursday evening as the Grand Finals of the Athlone District Schoolboy/Girl League annual FUTSAL Tournament reach their climax.

For the previous week the AIT venue has reverberated to the crescendo of 62 action packed games, some 245 goals and any amount of drama and excitement.

An exhilarating series of Qualification games in four Groups now see’s eight different teams contest the business end of the Stacey Cup and Rowan Shield competitions in this Thursday’s eagerly awaited Grand Finals.

ADSL FUTSAL is organised into a Cup and Shield competition with four teams qualifying for the final stages in each competition.

On Thursday evening those four teams will play off for the Stacey Cup and the Rowan Shield in a series of round robin games before the top two will meet once again in the Cup and Shield Finals to decide the 2018 Stacey Cup and Rowan Shield Champions.

All eight Finalists had to play very well to qualify for these Finals.


Qualification for the Rowan Shield kicked off on the second day of the New Year with the first games in Group A.

Ballinasloe Cheetahs, boasting four girls in their eight player Squad, went on to top this Group unbeaten with three wins and a draw from their four Group games. They won their first three games overcoming St. Francis Cheetahs 3-0; the Ballinasloe Jaguars 6-0 and the St. Josephs Blues 4-3 to secure their qualification and then drew their last game with the Temple Villa Tigers to top the Group as well.

The Ballinasloe Cheetahs scorer in chief is Kyron Blair but this team is fuelled by girl power with Blaithnaid Kelly, Aiveen Curley, Erin Brogan and Laura Trappe very much to the fore together with a few token males in James Kenny, Cody Greene and Callum O’Connor!

A young St. Josephs Blues were the second team to qualify for the Rowan Shield from Group A. This team play some fantastic football and scored an incredible 22 goals in qualification. Dan Costello scored most of those but they also have a super keeper in Jimmy Walshe and some fantastically skillful players in Patrick Misienicz, Cian Gilhooly, Ciaran Cummins, John Timlin, Colin Moran and a rock at the back in Shay McGuinness. They will do well on Thursday.

Group B of the Rowan Shield took place on last Thursday with the St. Francis Lions becoming the first and only team to qualify for Thursday with a 100% record with four wins from four scoring 12 goals and only conceding one goal all night. Goals were fairly evenly spread out among Shane Wheatley, Lorcan McCormack, Adam Kearney and Conor Lough with Tiernan Mitchell, Matthew Keane, Patrick Hussey and Liam Rafferty making for a very strong Squad.

In second spot in Group B were the AC Celtic Rebels who qualified with three wins from four. Matthew Lynch is a goal machine for the Rebels scoring 6 of their 10 goals but he is ably aided and abetted by Mark Elliott, Luke Duffy and Fionn McMahon in front of goal together with Daniel Ganly, Cillian Nugent, James Connaughton and Ian Rushe.

The Rowan Shield should be a fantastic competition on Thursday.


Qualification for the Stacey Cup kicked off on the 3rd of January with an amazing 21 games in Group A.

The Hodson Bay Bhoys lost the first of those 21 games, going down 2-0 to a slick Temple Villa Aces, but thereafter just got better and better and won their next 6 games to qualify and top the Group.

Hodson Bay were also the Group’s top goal scorers with 17 goals and had the second best defence conceding only 4 over their 6 matches. This is a very good side. Adam Feeley and Brendan Ferry interchange in goal, Niall Derwin brings huge energy, Charlie O’Carroll, James O’Rourke and Cathal Ferry pitch in with most of the goals together with Conor Skene and Jamie Nicholson in a strong squad that may take some beating.

St. Josephs Blues qualified in second spot with the same record as Hodson Bay with five wins and just one defeat from six games and were only pipped to top spot by reference to the game between the two. The Ballybay Boys won that but only 2-1 and there is little between these teams.

Destiny Ezenna is the driving force behind St. Josephs with Joshua Osho the cutting edge up front. Luke Wheatley, Shane Doran, Liam Lennon, Caimin Macken and Loba Collins will need to play a big part on Thursday if St. Josephs are to go as well as in qualification.

Group B in the Stacey Cup on last Friday was the “Group of Death” with 7 excellent teams fighting it out for the last two Final spots.    

Ballinasloe Jets only took top spot with a sensational 3-2 win in the very last game over the excellent St. Francis Cougars who also qualified for Thursday’s Finals.

Ballinasloe recorded 5 wins and just one defeat in six outings. Charlie Killeen scored in every one of those games including a belter to win that last game of the night. Junior Harte is an excellent keeper, Cormac Harrington and Josh Bradley give great stability at the back while there is flare in abundance in Cameron Keighery, Ryan Dowd, Jamie Coyne and Joshua Lloyd. Ballinasloe have never won the Stacey Cup. Could 2018 finally be their year?

The fact they will renew rivalry with the St. Francis Cougars is reason alone to go on Thursday. Their game last Friday was one of the best ever in 11 years of ADSL FUTSAL.

The Cougars have a match winner in Brandon Wykes who scored 14 goals in qualification. Ben Manning is a top keeper, Kyle Greene is outstanding at the back; Jack Curry and Darragh Lough raid with great effect down the flanks; Kevin Jordan, Tommy Marsh and Philip Heavey make up a very strong squad as St. Francis seek to retain their crown.

It should all make for a wonderful night on Thursday. The Opening Ceremony is at 6.00pm; the first of 14 games kicks off at 6.15pm with the Rowan Shield Final scheduled for 9.15pm and the Stacey Cup Final for about 9.30pm.

A huge crowd is expected and the best advice is to get there good and early. Good luck to the competing teams.


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