Fold have been crowned champions of the inaugural Northern Ireland Housing Association Football League.
They emerged as the overall winners following a 10-week competition, facilitated by the Irish Football Association, which saw eight sides from housing associations across Northern Ireland battle it out for the title.
A nail-biting final against Connswater Homes went to penalties before Fold took home the trophy.
Denise Burns from Helm Housing, who are the secretariat for the league, said: “We set this league up to promote health and wellbeing for staff as well as providing an opportunity for players from all the different housing associations to meet up and have a bit of fun. Everyone seems to have really enjoyed it and got stuck in from the start, so we’re already looking forward to next season.
“I was delighted that Helm’s own interim chief executive, John McPeake, was able to join us for the awarding of the inaugural McPeake Cup, named in his honour.
"He has been a dedicated advocate for the housing sector in Northern Ireland for many years and a huge supporter of this initiative. We are also particularly grateful to our sponsors Novosco, who provided the awards, and BT and NIBC who donated the prizes for players of the tournament.”
David Maginnes, senior account manager at Novosco, presented the winners with the trophy at PlayBall in Stormont Pavilion.
He said: “We are delighted to sponsor this league, which is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland. At Novosco we firmly believe in employee wellness, and it’s great to be part of helping to promote this culture within other organisations as part of this great initiative.
“Congratulations to all those who’ve taken part and who have contributed in making it happen.”
Kris Lindsay from the Irish Football Association added: “We were charged with establishing the first business football league in Northern Ireland and the Housing Association Football League has more than delivered. The standard of football was much higher than we expected, and it was great to see so many men and women taking part and enjoying themselves.
“Anything that promotes good health and participation through sport is something we are delighted to be involved in and we look forward to getting behind more leagues like this in the future.”
Image: The victorious team from Fold Housing Association.