Former Derry City pair secure monthly prizes

Ex-Derry City winger Jamie McDonagh has won the NIFWA Goal of the Month competition for the second time this season.

Cliftonville's Jamie McDonagh secured his second goal of the month prize of the season.
Cliftonville's Jamie McDonagh secured his second goal of the month prize of the season.

The Cliftonville winger's long-range winner against Coleraine in the Samuel Gelston’s Irish Cup quarter-final secured the March edition of the coveted prize. With the game heading towards extra-time, the Lisburn man fired a 25-yard shot into the net.

McDonagh, who has an eye for the spectacular, also bagged the January award.

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Meanwhile McDonagh's manager Paddy McLaughlin claimed the Aktivora Manager of the Month prize for March.

Last month, McLaughlin steered Cliftonville to Bet McLean League Cup glory thanks to a memorable 4-3 extra-time victory over Coleraine at Windsor Park. The Reds also maintained their challenge for the Gibson Cup with victories over Glentoran, Glenavon and Dungannon Swifts.

A pleased McLaughlin said: “I would like to thank the Football Writers’ and Aktivora for this award. Although my name is on the trophy, this award is for the entire team.

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“The mentality and character we showed throughout March was fantastic. Now, we must maintain that until the end of the season. I think the consistency we have shown this season has maybe surprised people. It’s up to us to maintain that consistency.”

The Reds completed the treble as Joe Gormley won the Danske Bank Player of the Month of the Month also for March.

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Ruth Gorman, chairwoman of the Northern Ireland Football Writers’ Association (NIFWA) presents Cliftonville boss Paddy McLaughlin with the Aktivora Manager of the Month for March.

The legendary striker scored five goals in three different competitions, in what was a remarkable month for the Reds.

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Substitute Gormley scored twice in Cliftonville’s 4-3 BetMcLean League Cup final win over Coleraine, as well finding the net against the same opposition in the Samuel Gelston’s Irish Cup. In the league, Gormley registered goals against both Glenavon and Dungannon Swifts.

A delighted Joe said: “I just want to play well for my team. If awards, like this one, come my way, it’s a bonus.

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“The boys provide me with the chances, so they must take credit for this prize.”

Gormley, now 32, has enjoyed proving his doubters wrong in recent weeks.

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He said: “I’ve heard it all before, ‘he’s past his best’. I’ve heard it from some Cliftonville fans as well as rivals' fans.

“But it’s down to me to prove people wrong, and I think I’ve done that this month.”

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Runner-up in the monthly prize was Linfield’s Chris Shields, while Portadown’s Adam Salley was third.