There was a trophy treble for Paul Mathers at Barn United’s awards dinner recently when he captured the Manager’s, Players’ and Committee’s vote for Player of the Year.
Ironically, two years ago, Paul ‘retired’ from playing to become assistant-manager of Barn Seconds. However, the retirement lasted only a few weeks and before the end of August, he was back in his rightful spot and, well, you know the rest.
Manager Jim Pherson added: “Paul was with me back in the Kilroot days. I know him well, and he has had a particularly good season. It was no surprise that he won all three Player of the Year awards. It looks like handing over the captaincy to Gary McKee did him good. It allowing him to concentrate on his own game.”
Fittingly, the player who pushed Mathers hardest, keeper Stephen Brennan also got his hands on a trophy - the Alan Loughlin Cup for the best defensive Player of the Year.
There was also a trophy for goalkeeping coach, Brian White, who once played in Europe for Ballymena United. Brian was named Clubman of the Year, just after being honoured by the Northern Amateur League when he was presented with the Malcolm Brodie Cup for services to football.
Of course, there were no trophies for Barn last season. It was a campaign in which the main relief was remaining in Division 1A and that came in the end to the three points they were able to claim back after a 1-0 defeat at Crumlin United. That goal was scored by Aaron McKinney, who should have been suspended. But for that, Barn could have been down in 1B and greeting a few familiar faces in a derby with Stephen Donald’s Wellington Rec.
Club chairman Billy Manderson announced the following winners: First Team - Captain’s Award, Gary McKee; Leading Goalscorer, Matt McDonald;
Committee’s Player of the Year, Paul Mathers; Players’ Player of the Year, Paul Mathers; Manager’s Player of the Year, Paul Mathers; Alan Loughlin Cup for Defensive Player of the Year, Stephen Brennan; Young Player of the Year, Adam McGivern; Best Newcomer, Mark Tweedie; Clubman of the Year, Brian White.
Second Team - Captain’s Award, Kris Axon; Players’ Player of the Year, Gavin Robb; Manager’s Player of the Year, Andy Hall; Leading Goalscorer, Wayne Patterson.