Belfast Telegraph

Boys in the bubble have a ball for charity tournament

Maureen Coleman

It was a World Cup celebration with plenty of bubbly - though not of the sparkling variety.

Up to 16 teams dressed in giant air-filled bubbles battled it out in the sunshine yesterday in an alternative five-a-side sports tournament.

Writers' Square in the Cathedral Quarter was transformed into a fully grassed football pitch to hold Northern Ireland's first ever Bubble Ball outdoor competition, to raise funds for local charity, Children's Heartbeat Trust.

The tournament was organised by Brian McGeown and Anthony Farrell, owners of city centre bar Aether & Echo, to raise cash to provide life-saving operations for babies, children and young people with heart disease in Northern Ireland.

With team names like Athletico Madras and Bayer Never Losin taking part, the emphasis was on fun – though there was plenty of body-bouncing, fouling and diving going on.

Referee Brian McGeown said: "There are no rules at all, you can bounce anyone and batter anyone as much as you like. It's all just good fun, although there have been a few grazed knees."

Among the participants was BBC weatherman Barra Best, playing for Bayer Never Losin.

He said: "This is the first time I've ever taken part in Bubble Ball and to be honest, I'm exhausted.

"It's like being in a sauna in one of those bubbles, especially with the sun shining."

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