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Clontarf Cup inspires Indigenous schoolboys to make great choices

Rhiannon Clarke -

More than 200 Indigenous boys from various regions across Western Australia participated in the 2024 Clontarf Cup on Wednesday, held in Perth's CBD for the first time.

The annual football carnival is now in its 18th year, bringing together students from numerous Clontarf Academies. Some schools merged to form a single team, and others endured over eight hours of bus travel to participate in the event.

Those teams were Kalgoorlie, Geraldton, Fremantle, Cecil Andrews, Champion Bay, Kiara/Edumun/Carnarvon, Ellenbrook/Northam, Girraween/Swan View, Narrogin/Collie/Newton Moore, Gilmore/Albany, Esperance/Kent Street, Katanning/Coodnaup and Belmont/Yule Brook.

Clontarf Foundation Deputy CEO Craig Brierty said there's about 15 to 20 academies represented at the Clontarf cup from the south and southern half of the state.

"This is an event that we hold, that allows them to celebrate that they are making great choices in their lives and that allows us to get them along here to participate," he said.

"All these young men that are here make great decisions…boys from years 10, 11 and 12… go to school everyday and participate in education; they're just really good blokes," said Mr Brierty.

Cecil Andrews kicks a goal (Image: Rhiannon Clarke)

The Clontarf Foundation has provided assistance to more than 6,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys and young men since its establishment in 2000.

Through their support, these individuals have achieved the milestone of completing Year 12 and have successfully obtained employment opportunities.

Throughout the day teams competed against each other in brief matches, followed by the long bomb competition, where Lincoln Franklin from Champion Bay took home the prize.

Clontarf Foundation encourages Indigenous boys to attend school everyday and those who do are invited to compete in the cup. (Image: Rhiannon Clarke)

Esperance/Kent Street emerged victorious in the Division 2 grand final against Gilmore/Albany, securing their first trophy.

Meanwhile, in the Division 1 grand final, Kalgoorlie triumphed over Cecil Andrews, proudly bringing the golden trophy back to the goldfields.

Competing in friendly competition for good attendance at school aside, boys were scouted to be picked to participate in the State of Origin match.

The Clontarf cup brings together students from numerous Clontarf Academies. (Image: Rhiannon Clarke)

"One of the things about this is that we can keep the boys, this is a way of encouraging them to stay at school. So they come along…to be selected into the state team and then we go to the state of origin," said Mr Brierty.

"So this is part of the incentive program to keep coming to school."

The other award given out on the day was the Clontarf Spirit Award which was presented to a player from each team who demonstrated exceptional sportsmanship, mateship, and who gave their best effort in every game.

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