THE stakes were high as a group of school children competed in a penalty shoot-out with Ireland football hero Niall Quinn.
The former Ireland international was on hand to offer 20 kids from St Ultan’s National School in Ballyfermot tips to improve their game.
And Niall said that the future soccer stars’ energy made him pine for his days as a footballer.
“They’re obviously going to a very good school and they were a delight to be around all day,” Niall said.
“They were running around with such energy and enthusiasm, it made me wish I was still playing myself,” he said.
The event, held in Ballyfermot Leisure Centre, is part of Dublin Bus Schools Education Programme, now in its eleventh year.
The project aims to recognise the work carried out by voluntary groups and gardai to support young people during the summer months and promote the value of public transport in local communities.
“It’s a very distinct message for smaller areas and has been vital to community spirit,” said Niall (47)
The former Sunderland manager told the children they would face great challenges when they enter secondary school.
“There is a lot of negative things being put out there to kids and I just wanted to remind them of the importance of being fit and healthy,” Niall said.
Cliona Ní Fhatharta, media and communications manager with Dublin Bus said the programme is having a positive effect on every community in Dublin.
The man of the moment was the winner of the penalty shootout, Cian Lawlor.
The schoolboy’s grandmother had even bought Niall’s autobiography so Cian (11) could get it signed by the former Arsenal and Ireland player.