There are many talented boys and girls who combine organised regional competition with school activities. Dunoon United Football Club's Claire Farrington has done herself, her school and the region proud with a marvellous performance on the big stage.
Claire has just returned home after leading the Invitational Girls Team to victory at the National Primary Schools Sports Association Girl's Football Championships held in Darwin last week. The Modanville Primary school girl progressed through selection trials that started with her school team, then small schools team incorporating other villages such as Dunoon and The Channon, before being selected in the Northern Rivers team. Claire was selected as captain in the North Coast team that competed in the State Titles in Sydney. North Coast finished eighth against typically tough opposition with the team conceding just three goals in six games.
The young central defender clearly impressed selectors, earning her a place in the National titles in Darwin. Teams from every state and territory were represented but in order to ensure that there is a full draw with eight teams, an invitational team was selected comprising 11 NSW players, two ACT players and two NT players.
Historically, the invitational team has "made up the numbers" and has never challenged the stronger states such as NSW and Queensland, who between them have won the national title for the past 15 years.
The players from NSW and ACT met in Sydney in mid-August for a three-day training camp, although the NT players were unable to attend because of the tyranny of distance and cost to do so. At this camp Claire was selected to lead the team in Darwin. In temperatures slightly in excess of 30 degrees the invitational team had a solid start to the competition with three wins, with traditional powerhouse state Queensland dominating with big wins. This was until a shock 1-0 defeat against Claire's team, leading to a challenge from Queensland authorities who put forward an argument that the invitational team should be ineligible to win as they were in the competition solely in order to eliminate the need for a bye.
All other states and territories voted that the invitational team should be eligible and the necessary changes to the rules were made. No invitational team had come even remotely close to being a medallist but 2012 will record the ultimate Cinderella story, led by a young girl from the tiny school of Modanville holding aloft a very prestigious sporting trophy.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.