The inaugural Women In Sport Schools Flag Football tournament which took place at St. Conleiths National School in Derrinturn on Friday the 30th of March. Three teams of girls, from primary schools in Edenderry, Johnstown and Derrinturn, took part in the tournament. St. Marys, Edenderry were crowned champions after defeating St. Patrick N.S. Johnstown Bridge in a sudden death play-off. Around 200 pupils and teachers from the participating schools were in attendance to cheer on their teams thus adding to the atmosphere of the event.

The Women In Sport programme was launched by the Irish Sports Council in 2005 and is aimed at promoting greater participation in sport by girls and women. With the support of the Irish Sports Council, the Irish Flag Football Association (IAFA member organisation) is running a pilot WIS flag football programme in four primary schools in the midlands. Flag football is a recreational non-contact version of American football that is suitable for people taking up the sport for the first time and/or for recreational purposes. Approximately 180 girls in the 10-12 age range are participating in this pilot programme which involves coaches going into schools to run flag football as part of the schools’ physical education lessons. The programme is complimentary to the existing schools flag football programme which is running in a number of boys and mixed schools. The three schools who entered teams into the tournament are all participants in the WIS programme.

The first game of the tournament paired St. Mary’s Edenderry with St. Conleiths N.S. Derrinturn. Following two turnovers, Edenderry came out strong and scored the first touchdown of the game to take the lead. Derrinturn then responded with a long drive which resulted in the tieing touchdown. For the remainder of the game, both defences appeared to have the upper hand. However, with only 15 seconds to go, Derrinturn threw a deep pass into the endzone for the winning score. Final score 12-6 in favour of Derrinturn.

The next game paired St. Patricks N.S. Johnstown Bridge with Edenderry GNS. Edenderry scored early with a 55 yard touchdown run. Johnstown then responded with a touchdown. Edenderry then took the lead with a touchdown pass. Johnstown looked like they would respond, after moving the ball downfield via five completed passes, but the Edenderry defence intercepted them and returned the interception for a touchdown. Edenderry scored again late in the game to make the final score 24-12 in their favour.

 The final game of the tournament paired St. Conleiths N.S. Derrinturn with St. Patricks N.S. Johnstown. If Derrinturn won, they would win the tournament. If Johnstown won, it would end tied and come down to points scored. Johnstown opened the scoring with a touchdown run. Their defence appeared to have the upper hand for much of the game and Johnstown extended their lead to 12-0 with another touchdown. Derrinturn then got back into the game and scored to make it 12-6. With only 30 seconds remaining, Johnstown scored again to make the final score 18-6 in their favour and to put themselves in a tie with Edenderry for the title.

All three teams finished with one win a piece, so it came down to points scored. However, both Edenderry and Johnstown were equal with 30 points each. The tournament would be decided by a sudden death play-off between the two teams. Edenderry scored on the first possession of sudden death after completing three passes to get into the endzone. On Johnstowns possession, the Edenderry defence held strong. Johnstown were forced to lauch a long pass into the endzone on fourth down, but it was intercepted to seal the victory for St. Marys Edenderry.