A memorial has been held for former Sheffield University Women’s football captain Cerys O’Boyle, who has passed away at the age of 21.

Cerys had just started a Masters in Modern History at the university but died after a short stay in hospital on Saturday 13 October.

Other members of the football club, including new captains Grace Byrne and Nancy Stroud, held a memorial for their friend and teammate before their training session at Goodwin Sports Centre on Monday 22 September.

Everyone released a balloon into the air, with a written message to Cerys enclosed.

‘Her passion is my inspiration’

Nancy said: “We did this because we felt we needed to do something for her as a club and we will continue to honour her memory forever.

“It was so important for us that players old and new, freshers and girls who have been with the club for years, and coaches came together to not only show our love for Cerys but our support for each other.

“I do not know what other people wrote but I wrote that her passion is my inspiration. Her passion for the club, for life, for her friends.”

“She absolutely had an excitement for life and that made her really special.”

Cerys was club captain for the 2017/18 academic year, alongside Harriet Houston.

Harriet said: “She was very passionate and very, very kind and I think her football made her so special, it was such a big part of her life. She was always willing to try new things and she really did live life to the full.

“Cerys embodied that, she was busy every single day and any evening that she could be. She didn’t rest, she didn’t sleep. She absolutely had an excitement for life and that made her really special.

Cerys O’Boyle celebrates scoring her first goal in the Women’s Football team.
Picture: Juliet Cookson

“I will miss lots of things about her. I’ll miss her trying really hard to stay positive on the football pitch but that not coming across to the others.

“I’ll miss our FaceTimes and text conversations, I’ll miss her keeping me updated on everything football-related.

“I’ll miss the weekends away we never got to have and I’ll miss the trip to Boro she never got to take us on.”

“Cerys was black and gold through and through”

Tributes have flown in from family, friends and those who knew Cerys, including on an hour-long special episode of the Roar Show on Forge Radio last week.

‘Live, Laugh, Love, Roar’

Her father, John, said: “Cerys loved everything about the University of Sheffield. She loved her studies, loved the people and absolutely adored the sport. She put everything into her role with the University Women’s Football Club.

Cerys was studying a masters in Modern History at the university. Picture: Family photo.
Picture: Juliet Cookson

“It is inevitable that when you lose someone that brought in so much light that the world seems like a darker place. Over recent weeks my wife and I have felt so empty and lonely. But we know the type of person Cerys was and we know how she would want us to approach the future. She was always so dedicated, caring and enthusiastic about everything – and so full of fun. She would want everyone to remember her with a smile.

Cerys’ friends and family said she absolutely loved Roar.

“Creating a legacy for Cerys is important to us. She greatly valued the importance of social inclusion and always went out of her way to broaden participation. Equally though, I hope that her positive outlook on life may simply provide an impetus for all that knew her to follow her example – Live, Laugh, Love, Roar.”

Her funeral was held on Monday 29 October and was attended by around 50 teammates and coursemates from Sheffield, as well as Greg Unwin, Club Sport Manager of Sport Sheffield.

Greg said: “The whole of Sport Sheffield are devastated by the sad loss of Cerys and she will be greatly missed. During her time with Sheffield University Womens Football Club, Cerys gave 100 per cent dedication both on and off the pitch.

“Cerys was black and gold through and through and will be forever in our thoughts.”

This page was designed and edited by Ewan Somerville.

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