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Tuesday 27 Jun 2017
Northern Ireland-based sides shine at tournament

More than 500 players from 70 disability football clubs throughout the UK and Ireland descended on the Billy Neill complex in Dundonald to compete in the annual tournament.

Two Northern Ireland-based teams tasted success in this year’s George Best Community Cup.

Northern Ireland-based clubs did exceptionally well this year, winning two out of the four cups on offer.

With over 350 games on 12 pitches in four ability bands, the action was fast and furious throughout.

The George Best Community Cup is an annual five-a-side cup competition for clubs catering for players with a disability. It is run by the Irish Football Association and supported by the George Best Foundation and Cash for Kids through the Mary Peters Trust.

Wrexham FC won the Ability Level 4 trophy at the tournament, defeating Llandudno of Wales in a derby final.

The Ability 3 cup was won by new club CSP from west Belfast, while Ability 2 was won by newly formed Llandudno, although they did require penalties to see off the challenge of Sutton United.

Belfast Deaf United won the top section, defeating Foyle Belles 4-2 in a hotly contested final.

This year’s George Best Community Cup was the biggest one to date in terms of competing clubs and the number of matches.

The tournament organiser, Irish FA Foundation disability football development manager Alan Crooks, was delighted with the event.

He said: “The support we get from the George Best Foundation through the Mary Peters Trust has enabled us to develop the competition to the size it is today.

“It was great to see so many visiting clubs from Britain, including the disability sections of several Football League clubs like Bradford City and Charlton Athletic.

“The football was exciting in all four bands and it was good to see so many players of all ability levels getting the opportunity to play competitive football. Congratulations to all the players, coaches and volunteers who made the 2017 George Best Community Cup a memorable one.”

Dame Mary Peters said: “It was a joy to see all the competitors in action. I was particularly delighted to see some females taking part.

“This is such a big event now. It has grown in stature and the organisers should be very proud. Cash for Kids and the Mary Peters Trust are delighted to be part of this tournament and hope to continue this partnership into the future.”

You can see some highlights of the event in our gallery below.