The Very First Corey Cup
Exciting. Dramatic. Entertaining. These are just some of the words one could use when describing the inaugural Corey Cup which brought together schools from across the Garnock Valley to play in a football tournament in memoriam of Corey Hamilton at the Beith Astro.
Corey sadly passed away last year due to rhabdoid sarcoma, at the age of 9. Yesterday would have marked his 10th Birthday and so it was touching to see so many of his friends and peers come together to celebrate the memory of their fellow class-mate.
Coach Brent Norris described how the concept for the event came about; “The idea for the cup was really about finding a way to mark something that had brought the Garnock Valley communities together. We had some ideas, such as a bench, but then we thought of having an annual football tournament involving all the schools and the kids of Corey’s age group. What better way to mark it than that?”
Before the festivities kicked off, there was a minute’s applause to pay tribute to Corey.
Then, it was game time.
The teams were made up of the primary 6/7 age group whilst the primary 5’s created their very own fanzone in the centre of the Astro park, sandwiched between the active match pitches. The fanfare was in full effect when it was time for kick off with many of the kids starting their own chants and cheering each other on.
Passions and emotions were running high, however, as Beith Primary lost their first match to eventual 2nd place finishers, St Bridgets. It was evident on the faces of the youngsters that they were desperate to win in order to honour Corey’s name, and so a competitive edge accompanied each individual contest.
All teams displayed great sportsmanship and grace in defeat, remembering to shake the hands of the opposite team, no matter what the outcome.
Eventually, Beith Primary achieved 3rd place and earned bronze medals.
The finale was played between Dalry Primary and St Bridgets of Kilbirnie. This match was special as it was moved into Bellsdale Park, home of Beith Juniors, as a treat for the finalists. In a great sign of respect, the teams that didn’t reach the final, provided the support, as they were divided, 50/50, cheering both sides on.
In a tense and tightly contested game, it took a penalty to edge the win as Dalry went on to lift the trophy, which was fitting, as they had been one of Corey’s former played for teams.
The trophy presentation was, again, an emotional affair as Corey’s dad, mum and brother presented the medals and trophy to the victorious sides. It was also announced that the money that had been raised in Corey’s name will benefit, not just the Beith community, but the entire Garnock Valley.
Although not every team left with medals, all sides were winners on the day. Congratulations to all teams for a great day!