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Ulster Footballer of the Year awards cancelled for first time in history as presenting trophies 'inappropriate'

 

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Jimmy Callacher receives the Ulster Footballer of the Year trophy for 18/19 from Stephen Duncan (left), regional director for sponsors Purple Bricks

Jimmy Callacher receives the Ulster Footballer of the Year trophy for 18/19 from Stephen Duncan (left), regional director for sponsors Purple Bricks

Jimmy Callacher receives the Ulster Footballer of the Year trophy for 18/19 from Stephen Duncan (left), regional director for sponsors Purple Bricks

There will be no Ulster Footballer of the Year this season for the first time in the 70 year history of the prestigious awards.

The Chairman of the organising committee, Ken Moody, announced yesterday that the decision had been taken in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty surrounding the remainder of the 2019/2020 Irish League campaign.

Last year, Linfield defender Jimmy Callacher won the main prize at the glittering ceremony with Gavin Whyte, then Crusaders and now Cardiff City, the winner 12 months previously.

The Ulster Footballer of the Year awards also normally hand out prizes to the best young player, best Championship player, top disability player and to the women's player of the year but not this season.

One accolade that will be presented, however, is the Dr Malcolm Brodie Lifetime Achievement award. The recipient will be announced in the coming days.

In a statement, Moody said: "It is with much regret that I wish to announce that there will be no player awards bestowed this season by the Ulster Footballer of the Year selection panel.

"In light of the current pandemic and the uncertainty surrounding the remainder of the season, it seemed inappropriate to hand out trophies.

"This is the first time in the 70 year history of our awards that such a decision has been taken but it was a unanimous one by our committee.

"We have decided, however, to proceed with our Dr Malcolm Brodie Lifetime Achievement award and this will be announced in the coming days. It was felt that this was not based on the current season but on a vast body of work and success which the worthy recipient is famous for in the local game.

"It is our earnest wish and desire that the game in Northern Ireland can be restored to some level of normality in the weeks and months ahead, and we look forward to putting on a lavish event for our winners in 2021."

Belfast Telegraph