Belfast Telegraph

Mulgrew keen to lift more trophies after Player of Year award

 

By Graham Luney

Jamie Mulgrew has already lifted one trophy this weekend and he hopes it won't be the last.

The Linfield captain was the proud recipient of the Ulster Footballer of the Year award from the Castlereagh Glentoran Supporters Club, pipping team-mate Roy Carroll and Crusaders defender Howard Beverland to the prize.

Mulgrew was presented with the prestigious award at Belfast City Hall yesterday and it's a fitting tribute to the Windsor Park warrior who has used all his experience this season to give the Blues a real chance of winning a first league title in five years.

The 30-year-old is the heartbeat of David Healy's side, the driving force and inspirational leader.

He is now the 67th player to receive the huge honour, adding his name to an illustrious list that includes three-time winner Glenn Ferguson, Joe Gormley, William Murphy, Vinny Arkins, Stephen Baxter and Noel Bailie to name only a few.

The midfielder has already lifted the County Antrim Shield this season and his side have also reached the Tennent's Irish Cup final where they will tackle Coleraine but Mulgrew's immediate goal is wrapping up the league title at Solitude this afternoon.

A draw would be enough for the Blues to be crowned champions, however they will be without the suspended Paul Smyth who was confirmed as the Young Player of the Year. Healy praised his teenage sensation, saying: "Paul has been immense and will only get stronger. It's great that he is playing in a strong team. He just needs to cut out his back-flip goal celebration but if he scores the winner in the Irish Cup final against Coleraine I just might allow him one more!"

Mulgrew, after collecting his award which is sponsored by Bank of Ireland, added: "We got the monkey off our back by winning the Shield. We were disappointed after last year's Cup final but we have learned and grown stronger.

"The boys have shown great hunger to leave us in a position where we are challenging for the title. There is work to be done and the Reds want to finish strongly. Solitude has been a difficult venue and it's a new experience but we are looking forward to it."

Mulgrew made his Linfield debut in 2005 and has made nearly 500 appearances for the Blues.

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