Paddy McLaughlin picks up Manager of the month accolade

Cliftonville boss Paddy McLaughlin has been named February's Manager of the Month by the Northern Ireland Football Writers’ Association.

Cliftonville manager Paddy McLaughlin with his February ‘Manager of the Month’ award.
Cliftonville manager Paddy McLaughlin with his February ‘Manager of the Month’ award.

In February, the Reds defeated Warrenpoint Town, Larne, Ballymena United and Carrick Rangers as McLaughlin’s men claimed 14 points from seven games.

It’s the first time the former Institute manager has won the prestigious award.

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“I appreciate getting the nod from the Football Writers’ as there are several teams who were in top form in February,” stated the Creggan man.

“Earlier in the month we lost to Glentoran with the last kick of the game. Thankfully, the boys responded well to that disappointment and went on to claim four wins and a draw from the next five games.

“It was an important period of the season for us as we were in danger of being left behind. Thankfully, we have clawed back a few points on teams above us.

“We maybe up against it, not having the resources or the finances of others, but if you have quality, you have a chance. We will keep learning and we have shown with our recent run what can be done. If we can replicate that on a consistent basis over a season, it would put us right up there.”

Cliftonville signed seven players in January including striker Paul O’Neill, midfielder Rory Hale and goalkeeper Aaron McCarey and McLaughlin is delighted with the impact his new signings have made.

The 41-year-old for central defender was also quick to praise Reds chairman Gerard Lawlor for O’Neill’s signing from Glentoran.

“I thought it was a stroke of genius by the club and Gerard Lawlor because Paul O’Neill is one of the hottest prospects in Irish football, north or south,” he insisted.

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“Conor McMenamin is one of the top players in the division so we knew if we were to sacrifice one, it would only happen if we got a quality player coming our way. It was ambitious to ask for Paul but when we felt there was a chance of it happening. The club did everything they could to make it happen and in the end pulled off a masterstroke.

“Sometimes it takes a few weeks for new boys to settle in, but they’ve all hit the ground running.

“I think the January signings gave everyone at the club a big lift but now we need to prove ourselves by carrying this good form into March and April.

“We were disappointed to lose to Linfield at the weekend. We were poor in the top end of the pitch and that disappointed me, so we must now need to dust ourselves down and go again, starting with Glenavon this Saturday.”