Around 100 schoolgirls from across Knowsley were at Halewood Leisure Centre this afternoon competing in the grand final of the Sylvia Gore Schoolgirls’ Cup. This is the first year that this new tournament has been held – named in honour of the late Sylvia Gore, a former Knowsley resident who made a remarkable contribution to girls’ and women’s football in this country.
Plantation Primary School came out winners on day with Cronton Church of England Primary School being narrowly defeated on penalties after a well fought final.
The competition, launched by Knowsley Council with the blessing and support of Sylvia’s family has been organised by Volair and the Knowsley School Sports Partnership. On hand to present the tournament shield to the deserving winners was football pundit and former England international footballer Sue Smith who was herself coached by Sylvia as a youngster. She was joined by the Leader of Knowsley Council, Graham Morgan and members of Sylvia’s family. Also watching the talent on display was Everton FC’s Aurora Galli and Nathalie Bjorn.
Sue Smith commented:
“It was a real privilege to be invited along to this event today and to see so many young girls getting involved in football. There was some fantastic talent on show and I couldn’t be more pleased that this tournament is being held in honour of someone who has made such a positive contribution to the game and to encouraging girls and women to take up the sport.
Sylvia Gore was my first football manager and someone I became lucky enough to call a good friend. I feel incredibly honoured to have known her personally and had the opportunity to be inspired by her passion and determination. She was a huge inspiration to me and I hope that her story will do the same for many of the girls here today too.”
Mr Sanders from Plantation Primary School in Halewood said:
“This tournament has been an amazing experience for all the girls involved and something that they won’t forget. Our team had never played together before and to watch the girls develop and grow as footballers and team players over the past few months has been great. I am certain this experience will have inspired lots of them to continue playing football and who knows, we might have a future England Lioness here with us today. How fantastic would that be?”
Since the competition launched in September 2022, more than 100 games of football have taken place involving nearly 20 schools and more than 180 year 5 and 6 girls.
Run across two separate leagues (The North League with games played at Kirkby Leisure Centre and The South League with games played at Halewood Leisure Centre) the top 10 teams were invited to take part in this special event today which it is hoped will help to inspire even more girls to take up the beautiful game.
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