THE SPAR/FAI Primary School 5s programme is ready for kickoff with a record numbers of schools participating in what is the biggest competition in Primary Schools Soccer.
Small-sized games played on appropriately sized pitches, there are separate competitions for boys and girls but girls are permitted to play in the boys' competitions.
Schools are categorised according to their enrolment numbers in fourth through to sixth classes and are then graded into Sections A, B or C with A being the smallest school size.
An unprecedented 170 Cork city and county Primary Schools have entered over 400 teams to partake in this year's events which will be hosted in Blarney, Carrigaline, Clonakilty, Mayfield and Midleton.
Cork co-ordinator Fergus McDaid explained how the idea of a Primary School Soccer competition in Cork was born over 30 years ago.
"It was organised for many years by local teachers.
"As the popularity of the programme grew, FAI enlisted the expertise of Development Officers to assist in rolling out the programme.
"Colin O'Brien, Mick Conroy, Dave Bell, Stephen O'Mahony and Ray Claffey have been of enormous assistance in developing this hugely popular competition with several of them still very much an integral part of its ongoing success.
"With their help and the support of the above-mentioned clubs this year's competition promises to be better than ever."
Following the qualifying rounds, schools will be afforded the opportunity to run out on the hallowed ground of Turner's Cross, the spiritual home of Cork soccer for the Cork finals.
These finals are scheduled for March 24-25 with the Munster finals to follow in Cahir Park, Tipperary on April 28-29.
All provincial winners will then progress to compete in the national finals which will be held in the spectacular surroundings of the Aviva Stadium on May 12, an experience never to be forgotten.
Over the years Cork Schools have proven their mettle on this stage with previous All-Ireland winners.
Those include Trafrask NS from Beara (Boys A 2019), Clogheen/Kerry Pike (Girls B 2018), St Anthony's BNS, Ballinlough (Boys C 2015, 2012, 2011, 2008, 2003) and Scoil Barra Beaumont (Boys C 2002).