National glory for Orchard County and Edenderry sides

Orchard County players and Stephen Blevins (coach) celebrate victory in the NI Small Schools' Championship final. The squad featured Harry Murphy, Miller Gray, Joe Williamson, Daniel Brown, Joel Willis, Darren Robinson, Sam Irwin, Sam Beattie, Ethan Parks and Tom Neill.
Orchard County players and Stephen Blevins (coach) celebrate victory in the NI Small Schools' Championship final. The squad featured Harry Murphy, Miller Gray, Joe Williamson, Daniel Brown, Joel Willis, Darren Robinson, Sam Irwin, Sam Beattie, Ethan Parks and Tom Neill.
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Edenderry and Orchard County pupils secured double delight in the Northern Ireland seven-a-side finals on Friday.

The national silverware serves as confirmation of progress by Mid-Ulster Schools’ Football Association sides since a switch to the seven-a-side format.

The seven-a-side blueprint was introduced by the Irish Football Association to aid grassroots development,

“What a day for Portadown and Mid-Ulster schools’ football,” said Orchard County’s Stephen Blevins, a MUSFA primary regional squad coach alongside Edenderry’s Peter Mullan. “Talented groups come along very rarely and it’s a privilege to watch them fulfil their potential on the biggest stage.

“I’m genuinely not surprised by such a positive outcome as this district has embraced the IFA small-sided games philosophy and, as a result, we have witnessed a definite increase in the number of local primary school players displaying significantly improved technique and confidence.”

Full report on page 59