Belfast Telegraph

Best football fest kicks off in style

Hundreds of young people from throughout Ireland, north and south, turned out to the launch of the George Best Community Cup — an event organisers have said “marks the social change in Northern Ireland”.

In the residential area of Inverwood Court, last Thursday, July 15, the huge crowd witnessed the unveiling of a mural dedicated to the football competition.

David McConnell, George Best Community Cup organiser, said: “To have 600 young people from across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland travel to east Belfast represents a momentous occasion for the George Best Community Cup.

“The young people have come together in sporting competition — but I think more importantly it provides a platform for the players to come together in a social setting, to share and be part of an historic event like this. A few years ago you could not have imagined that an event like the one we had last week would take place in east Belfast.”

The George Best Community Cup — Belfast 2010 builds on a successful three-day cross-community and cross-border football tournament delivered in 2009.

This event has an anti-racism and anti-sectarian theme. The mural is seen as the competition’s landmark and it is hoped it will help promote respect and mutual understanding throughout the sporting competition.

An added attraction of the mural is that the winners of the U-13's and U-17's competition will have their names engraved into the winners’ plaque each year.

Louise Little, George Best Community Cup event manager, said: “There was a magnificent atmosphere at Inverwood Court —a real sense of celebration and coming together. For everyone involved, it will be an event that lasts long in the memory and one we’ll look back at with fond memories. Even the weather held for us.”

Chris Lyttle MLA said: “It is an inspiration to see the local community using sport and the legacy of one of our most famous sporting heroes to bring to bring diverse communities together.”

Councillor John Kyle and Barbara McNarry, sister of George Best, were among those also in attendance at the launch.

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