Schools from across Belfast were delighted to take part in the first ever girls-only football tournament this week.
The tournament held at Belvoir Playing Fields on Wednesday, May 25, saw 100 girls from 10 different schools come together and compete against one another, with many having never taken part in an event like it before.
Organised by Belvoir Primary School teacher Hannah Morrison, she said that she wanted to do something to promote the growing popularity of girls football in Belfast and hoped that the tournament would be the first of many that will take place in Northern Ireland.
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For some of the schools taking part it was the first time they have had an all girls football team.
Speaking to Belfast Live, the young footballers said they had previously only taken part in mixed gender football tournaments and that they felt more confident and competitive competing against other girls their age and the day had been hugely enjoyed by all.
Lilli from Belvoir Primary School, said: “We have never taken part in something like this before and it has been so much fun.
“When we have had to play with boys in the past it can be very hard to get them to pass you the ball, but now everyone gets to play with the ball and it has made us all a lot more confident.”
Ruby from Forge Primary School, who created their first ever girls team to be part of the tournament, said: “We have never had an opportunity like this before and it has been amazing playing against so many other girls.
“When we play mixed football we don’t often get the chance to show just how good we really are and it has been wonderful to be part of the first ever tournament like this.”
Belvoir Primary School teacher Hannah Morrison said she was thrilled with how successful the tournament had been and thanked the IFA for their support throughout, with it helping to supply referees and facilities.
Northern Ireland Women’s footballers Megan Bell and Demi Vance also attended the tournament and present winners Lisnasharragh Primary School and runners-up CairnsHill Primary School, with their awards.
Ms Morrison said: “We are all thrilled with how the tournament has gone today and that we have been able to bring 100 girls from 10 different local schools here to Belvoir.
“None of the girls have ever taken part in a tournament like this which is entirely focused on them and I would like to make this an annual event that will grow from strength to strength in the future and encourage even more girls to get involved in football.
“I would just like to thank the IFA for all of the support they have provided us with today and while we were organising because it would not have been able to take place without them. They have provided everything from referees and facilities to our little fun-zone and we are very grateful for all their help.
“The local Spar shop has also been great in sponsoring the tournament today and providing us with a cart load of drinks and snacks.
“It has also been brilliant having two NI Women’s footballers, Megan Bell and Demi Vance, here today to present our awards and support all of the teams here today and continue to support the growth of girls football.”
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