Schools from across Belfast were delighted to take part in the first-ever all-girls football tournament this week.
The tournament, held at the Belvoir Playing Fields on Wednesday 25 May, brought together and competed 100 girls from 10 different schools, many of whom had never competed in such an event before.
Organized by Hannah Morrison, teacher at Belvoir Primary School, she said she wanted to do something to encourage the growing popularity of girls’ football in Belfast and hoped the tournament would be the first of many to be held in Northern Ireland.
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For some of the participating schools, it was the first time they had an all-girls soccer team.
Speaking to Belfast Live, the young footballers said they had only played in mixed-gender football tournaments before and that playing against other girls their age made them feel more confident and competitive and that the day was thoroughly enjoyed by all .
Lilli, from Belvoir Primary School, said: “We have never participated in anything like this and it was so much fun.
“When we’ve had to play with guys in the past it can be very difficult to get them to pass the ball to you, but now anyone can play with the ball and that has given us all a lot more confidence.”
Ruby from Forge Primary School, who put together their first girls’ team for the tournament, said: “We’ve never had an opportunity like this before and it was great to play against so many other girls.
“When we play mixed football we don’t often get the chance to show how good we really are and it was wonderful to be part of the first tournament like this.”
Hannah Morrison, teacher at Belvoir Primary School, said she was delighted with the success of the tournament and thanked the IFA for their support throughout the tournament, which helped provide referees and facilities.
Northern Ireland footballers Megan Bell and Demi Vance also attended the tournament and presented their awards to winners Lisnasharragh Primary School and runners-up CairnsHill Primary School.
Ms Morrison said: “We are all delighted with how the tournament went today and that we were able to bring 100 girls from 10 different local schools here to Belvoir.
“None of the girls have ever played in a tournament like this that’s totally focused on them and I want to make this an annual event that will continue to grow in the future and encourage even more girls to get involved in football.
“I just want to thank the IFA for all the support they gave us today and throughout the organisation, because without them it could not have happened. They provided everything from referees and facilities to our little fun-zone and we are very grateful for all their help.
“The local Spar shop also did an excellent job of sponsoring today’s tournament and provided us with a truckload of drinks and snacks.
“It was also great to have two NI women’s soccer players, Megan Bell and Demi Vance, here today to present our awards and support all the teams here today and continue to support the growth of girls’ soccer.”
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