Roy and Alan are winning double act
The McDonald family has made it a double-double within the space of ten days.
Leading Glentoran to the Irish FA Premiership title ten days ago helped Oval boss Alan clinch the Manager of the Year Award from the Harp Northern Ireland Football Writers’ last night.
And older sibling Roy — who is goalkeeping coach at Irish Cup winners Crusaders — has had his long association with the north-Belfast club recognised by the writers after he received the association’s Merit Award.
The brothers celebrated their latest success at last night’s gala banquet in Belfast’s Europa Hotel, where the local footballing fraternity marked the end of one of the most exciting seasons in the last few years.
The Glens fought off the challenge of Linfield to win their first league title in four years on the last day of the season and McDonald becomes Manager of the Year for the first time amidst stiff competition from the respective bosses of Irish Cup winners Crusaders and runners-up Cliftonville, Stephen Baxter and Eddie Patterson.
Just two years after taking charge at the Oval following the departure of Paul Millar, McDonald succeeded where his predecessor failed by claiming the Gibson Cup and he is the first Glentoran manager since Roy Coyle six years ago to take the Football Writers’ annual prize.
Although a coach with a top-class reputation, McDonald hadn’t dipped his toe in the managerial water as a number one before the Glens handed him the reigns following their three-day employment of Roy Walker and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the club and their boss.
Ex-goalkeeper Roy has been around local football for around 40 years and his links with the Irish Cup go back almost that long. He was in the Distillery team that beat Derry City 3-0 in the 1971 decider — when Martin O’Neill scored twice in the final.
He is more commonly associated with Crusaders, having played for the north-Belfast outfit in their Cup final appearance back in 1980.
Since retiring from the game a few years later, Roy has been a hugely loyal member of the Crusaders backroom staff, serving under numerous managers and is a highly respected goalkeeping coach.
His award is richly deserved and so far May has been a good month for the family.