Crusaders’ Gavin Whyte named Ulster Footballer of Year

Crusaders' Gavin Whyte outside Titanic Belfast.
Crusaders' Gavin Whyte outside Titanic Belfast.

Crusaders’ Gavin Whyte picked up the Ulster Footballer of the Year accolade after scoring 21 goals going into the final day of the Danske Bank Premiership.

The winger has made a major contribution to Stephen Baxter’s side as the Crues challenge for the Gibson Cup along with Coleraine in a thrilling head-to-head that has gone down to the wire.

Whyte got the verdict for the top gong ahead of team-mate Billy Joe Burns, with Coleraine trio Chris Johns, Jamie McGonigle and Stephen O’Donnell plus Cliftonville’s Joe Gormley also in the frame.

Crusaders will play Ballymena United away on Saturday, with Coleraine also facing an away test on the final day against Glenavon.

In the Young Player of the Year category, Glenavon’s Mark Sykes received the award.

The Lurgan Blues can secure third place in the league if they manage to beat title hopefuls Coleraine on Saturday.

Lauren Perry received the inaugural Women’s Player award after a magnificent season.

The Linfield goalkeeper, who is 17, joined the club in 2017 and played her role in the team’s title success in her maiden season.

Perry is already established as a Northern Ireland international after making her debut against Norway in September last year.

A special award was presented to BBC Sport commentator Jackie Fullerton, who received the Dr Malcolm Brodie Lifetime Achievement award.

The Disability Footbalaler of the Year trophy went to Charlie Fogarty, who has represented Northern Ireland at two Cerebral Palsy World Cups.

The awards ceremony was held at the Titanic Hotel in Belfast.