Victorious Sunderland captain’s seaside celebrations

Sunderland Ladies captain Steph Bannon beach football games for youngsters at Roker Beach. Sunderland mascots, Samson and Delilah.

Sunderland Ladies captain Steph Bannon beach football games for youngsters at Roker Beach. Sunderland mascots, Samson and Delilah.

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THE victorious skipper of Sunderland Ladies’ title-winning side was given a hero’s welcome by the seaside as she joined youngsters in some holiday fun.

Steph Bannon and her team-mates scooped the Women’s Super League 2 title at the weekend as the lady Black Cats blew away Milwall Lionesses 4-0.

Sunderland Ladies captain Steph Bannon beach football games for youngsters at Roker Beach

Sunderland Ladies captain Steph Bannon beach football games for youngsters at Roker Beach

Yesterday, next to the Beach House at Roker, Steph helped to stage beach games for schoolchildren enjoying their half-term break from school.

Speaking to the Echo, she reflected on Sunday’s game and the winning the division, which saw club gain promotion to the Women’s Super League for next season, where they will take on the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal.

“I think everybody was nervous before the game because it was such a big occasion,” said Steph, 25.

“People might think it was an easy game when they looked at the score but it was anything but. We had to work had for the win.

Sunderland Ladies captain Steph Bannon beach football games for youngsters at Roker Beach

Sunderland Ladies captain Steph Bannon beach football games for youngsters at Roker Beach

“But when the second goal went in we realised that it was probably going to be our day.”

Steph added that she and her team-mates are now looking forward to some rest and relaxation before beginning pre-season training for the next campaign at the end of this year.

“It’s been a long 14 months for us, we’ve worked non-stop,” said the defender, who combines playing in the famous red and white stripes with her job teaching PE at a school in Middlesbrough.

“The rest is something that we need, but we’ll go back in December and raring to go.

Sunderland Ladies captain Steph Bannon beach football games for youngsters at Roker Beach

Sunderland Ladies captain Steph Bannon beach football games for youngsters at Roker Beach

“It’ll be a massive challenge for us next season but we can’t wait to get started.”

Karen Harrison brought daughter Grace Wilson, eight, along to meet Steph and join in the fun.

“Grace absolutely loves football and plays for Washington AFC Under 9s, so when we saw this was on she knew she wanted to come down,” said Karen, 37.

“Steph’s a great role model for Grace and it’s brilliant that women’s football is really taking off now.

Sunderland Ladies captain Steph Bannon beach football games for youngsters at Roker Beach

Sunderland Ladies captain Steph Bannon beach football games for youngsters at Roker Beach

“She gets involved and has a kickabout with the boys and always enjoys it.”