The 60th year of the Castlereagh Glentoran Supporters Club-organised Ulster Footballer of the Year Award — sponsored by Jet2.com — was launched yesterday, and with a new format.
The prize will now be contested by three nominees as voted for by a panel of experts, containing ex-players and members of the Northern Ireland sporting media, with Linfield’s Jamie Mulgrew, Coleraine’s Rory Patterson, and David Magowan of Crusaders all in the running to pick up the prestigious gong.
It’s remarkable that a competition should last this long, yet the award continues to go from strength to strength.
Cliftonville’s Kevin McGarry won the first back in 1951 and the list of winners reads like a who’s who of local football, containing the likes of Sammy Hughes, Wilbur Cush, Jackie Milburn, Tommy Dickson, Martin McGaughey, and Glenn Ferguson, to name a few.
And having reached its diamond year, the Castlereagh Glens have added a sparkle to proceedings.
“Our 60th anniversary year has given CGSC the opportunity to revamp the award, and the new three-player shortlist further builds the significance of the Ulster Footballer of the Year Award at the highest level in local soccer,” said committee chairman Jim Fielding.