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UNITY CUP SUCCESS FOR BELFAST DEAF UTD

With the generous support of the NI Executive through the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure through the ‘Promoting Equality, Tackling Poverty and Social Exclusion through Sport’ programme and Belfast City Council, intercultural football team World United working with the Irish Football Association hosted the Unity Cup 2013 at Ormeau Park Playing Field on Sunday 3 November.

The tournament was well supported this year with 8 teams taking part in the 11 a side tournament, all of whom are using football as a tool for social development in a wide range of areas. The competing teams in the 2013 tournament were from NICRAS (Northern Ireland Community of Refugees and asylum seekers), Limestone Utd ( Interface football team), NI Supporters team, Letterkenny, Inst Old Boys, Belfast Deaf Utd ,WAVE trauma centre and of course World Utd themselves. The Unity Cup promotes the World Utd Ethos of celebrating diversity through football, and in the spirit of the tournament the NI Supporters team ended up combining with the NICRAS team to give better numbers for 11 a side matches, creating new friends and team mates in the process.

With first sign of sunshine seen all weekend, the tournament got underway with the group matches working across 3 pitches. Deaf United, World Utd, WAVE and NI Supporters/NICRAS all came first and second in their respective groups, therefore progressing into the semi final knock out matches for the tournament Cup. The remaining teams Inst Old Boys, Limestone Utd and Letterkenny all played off against each other to win the shield competition.

At the final whistle of the semi finals, it was Deaf Utd and Wave who came through their respective games victorious to take their place in the Unity Cup Final. Meanwhile in the sheild competition Limestone United were just too strong for the other teams beating both Inst Old boys and Letterkenny to take the sheild trophy.

The final was a tight game between two fast improving sides, Wave Utd, who have recently formed a team to place into regular leagues, against the 2012 UK deaf football champions Belfast Deaf Utd. Belfast Deaf United went a goal up early on, Wave Utd came back with a goal but Belfast Deaf United ended up victors in a 2 – 1 win in the final

Belfast City Lord Mayor Mairtin O Muilleoir gave his support to the tournament and the work of World United promoting the tournament through his twitter account @newbelfast , he also took time out of his busy weekend schedule to make the presentations to the winning teams of the cup and Sheild.

World United Chairman Reginald Vellem commented, “We are really pleased with todays event, we had such a great response from teams wanting to take part and support our message of celebrating diversity through football. We had great support from our volunteers and of course thank you to Irish Football Association, DCAL and Belfast City Council for their support to run this event. Having Mayor Mairtin O Muilleoir there to give out the trophies at the end of the day was fantastic and he really got into the spirit of things with the teams, congratulations go Belfast Deaf United on winning the cup and Limestone for taking the prize in the shield completion. I am already looking forward to next year”

Claire Adams, Community Relations Manager at the Irish FA said, “We are proud to support World United and the annual Unity Cup. The teams taking part really embrace the Football for All ethos of creating a fun, safe and inclusive culture throughout football in NI. This match provided the perfect end to the Irish FA’s FARE (Football Against Racism Europe) Activity, and we look forward to working with these groups in the future.”