The North Tipperary Schoolchildren’s Football League (NTSFL)

The North Tipperary Schoolboys league as it was known then was founded in 1981. It caters for clubs in Tipp, Clare & Offaly. The name of the league has changed since then to the North Tipperary Schoolchildren’s League (NTSFL) in order to incorporate and acknowledge the playing of girls within our league. The Girls now have their own dedicated league that started 4 years ago and is increasing in numbers with each passing year.

The league has seen many changes over the years such as leagues being played at in every age group and not just even ages. The league now caters for players from under 6’s to U16’s in the boy’s section & from U10 to U16 in the girls. We play non-competitive up to and including U12’s for the past number of years and now it is compulsory as the FAI have implemented this in their own player development plan.

There has been a huge increase in numbers of children playing football in the league with participation increasing by over 300% in the last 5 years. We now have 22 clubs with this rising year by year.

The introduction of a dedicated FAI RDO James Scott in our region has brought professionalism and increased organisation to the league whilst the starting of the Emerging talent programs has increased the standard of players within our league. This has being recognised with many players progressing to FAI regional centres, League of Ireland U17s, U19’s & Senior LOI. Players such as Tommy Holland (Limerick FC) formerly of Ardcroney & Jack Brady (Shelbourne FC) formerly of Lough Derg are now plying their trade in the Senior grades of the National League.

Many players have progressed to play underage Internationals for Ireland in recent seasons such as Tommy Holland, David Kelly, Stephen Nolan and most recently Barry Coffey (Nenagh AFC). The league runs ETP programs from U10s right through to U16s with over 200 children taking part.

The league has many people over the years to thank for it still been in existence. In past times, the figures of Denis Ryan, Pat O’Connor, Tony O’Sullivan, Tom Quinlan & Thomas Ryan put huge effort and time into organising and running the league and it’s because of these people that soccer is becoming a stronghold in North Tipperary.

In recent times progression and moving forward has been the focus of the league with the introduction of on-line registration, ID Cards, Futsal Academies and the possibility of the league having their own facility in the very near future.

Written by Mark McKenna – NTSLF Secretary (July 2016)