Students successfully make it to football tournament final at Prenton Park with no team training

Year 8 girls at St John Plessington Catholic College (SJP) recently played at Tranmere Rovers’ Prenton Park as part of the West Kirby Grammar School Football Tournament final. 

The team achieved this amazing feat after being formed just one week before the announcement of the tournament due to SJP still transitioning between its winter and summer sports teams. 

Though the girls play for different teams outside of school and had played with around one or two other people in the group, they had never played together as a unit until the qualifying tournament, meaning they entered with no practice or training as a team beforehand. 

Throughout the tournament, they played highly impressive matches against five other local schools, winning a couple and drawing in another two. The points won by other schools were unknown, so the girls were completely unaware until the official results announcement that they were one of two teams to make it to the final. 

Before the last match, everyone came together for one last practice session to grow and develop more confidence as a team. 

Both tension and excitement could be felt in the air on the day of the final, as students had the opportunity to explore and prepare in Prenton Park as audience members arrived to watch. 

The final match was tough, with both teams playing extremely well to keep the game a draw for the entire first half. Despite eventually losing the match, the girls were still ecstatic to be in second place and proud of what they had achieved together in such a short space of time. 

Overall, the whole team had a great experience and enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere around the stadium, surrounded by school friends and family members who supported and cheered them on. 

Everyone is looking forward to playing more matches throughout the remainder of the school year, including during the school’s enrichment. 

Miss Neale, who coached and created the team, said: “I am extremely proud of the girls’ success with the short time we had to put the team together and practice. With enrichment being reintroduced at lunchtimes it will allow for more opportunity for the game to grow as most students have other commitments and struggle to attend after school practice. 

“We have some extremely talented players and athletes, and this success can be transferred to many other areas, especially in girls’ sports.” 

Mr Peadar McLoughlin, the acting head of school at St John Plessington Catholic College commented: “We are all very proud of our Year 8 girls’ football team and the talent that they have displayed during the tournament. Their effort and teamwork are truly inspiring, especially for fellow students at SJP. 

“We encourage students to take part in sporting activities, whether that be extra-curricular activities or lunchtime clubs, helping them to become more active and build teamwork and problem-solving skills. I am looking forward to the next sporting event and will be proudly cheering on our students.” 

At St John Plessington Catholic College, the core PE curriculum is subject specialist led and football is one of the various sports included within it. 

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