On Saturday in Lord Lurgan Memorial Park (Allenhill Park), local club the Lurgan Shamrocks - formed only a year ago by local men Barry McCavigan and Ryan Henderson - held their first tournament.
It had the aim of bringing boys and girls from across Ireland to north Lurgan to take part in a prestigious football tournament. What started off as an idea quickly grew and Barry had to close the numbers at 25 teams after it was announced that the clubs would be playing for the “Jay Beatty Cup” in honour of local boy and Celtic FC Ambassador Jay.
A lot of work went into organising the event and on Saturday at 10am it all came to fruition as all 25 teams paraded around the pitch in the glorious sunshine with wee Jay leading the way to the applause from the hundreds who had turned up to show their support. It was a very proud moment for Barry.
With teams travelling from all over Ireland, the standard of football on the day was a credit to all the clubs and the hard work that they put in every day. There were 10 trophies up for grabs on the day and with two age groups battling it out on the perfect pitches.
Glentoran FC won the 2006 group and Windmill Stars who won the 2007 group, both clubs were delighted to be able to lift the Jay Beatty Cups.
“There were 10 trophies up for grabs with Cup and Shield competitions being played, so that every team regardless of ability had an opportunity to win a trophy, the tournament was played in a fantastic atmosphere in perfect conditions and the feedback from all who took part was amazing and we hope to have it again next year only bigger and better” said Barry.
A lot of work went into organising this day and the Lurgan Shamrocks passed on their thanks to all those who made it possible - the referees, Matthew Symon, Emmet McAreavey, Karol Gallagher and coordinators Brian Mallon, Bomber McCarron and the local council who could not have been anymore helpful and a special mention to Kevin and Billy who worked tirelessly all day.
To all the clubs who took part and to all those that turned up to support them, organisers are extremely grateful.
Last but not least they would like to thank Jay Beatty for whom the tournament was in honour: “Jay is a role model and an inspiration to all in our town and beyond and we were delighted to have him there on the day.”