Former NI star gives boost to Ballykeel event

Former Northern Ireland international Stuart Elliott (front, centre), pictured with some of the players who took part in the Ballykeel Presbyterian five-a-side event.

Former Northern Ireland international Stuart Elliott (front, centre), pictured with some of the players who took part in the Ballykeel Presbyterian five-a-side event.

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Former Northern Ireland international Stuart Elliott was special guest at a new footballing event in Ballymena recently.

The former Motherwell and Hull City winger joined players and supporters at a five-a-side competition run by Ballykeel Presbyterian Church.

Around 55 men young and old turned out to compete at Wakehurst pitch, followed by a burger at the south Ballymena Church.

Elliot, who was capped 38 times by his country, then gave testimony of his Christian faith and shared stories about his footballing career.

Ballykeel Presbyterain Minister, Reverend Martin McNeely said the event had proved a huge success.

“This was the first time we have organised an event like this.

“It was fantastic to get such a response in the summer, given that many were away and others preparing for pre season.

“Hopefully next year we can put on another competition with an even more men involved,” added Rev McNeely.

The competition was eventually won by Harryville Homers (B) team, one of two Homers sides involved.

They defeated a team of younger Ballykeel based players captained by Church youth leader Jamie Willigan, by a single goal.

Other local teams were well represented including a good number of players from Ahoghill Thistle, led by student minister Matthew Boyd and Ballykeel member Gareth Dickey, both of whom are well-known in local football circles.