Portadown defender Paddy McNally has been named as NI Football Awards' Bluefin Sport Championship Player of the Year.
After being promoted to the Premiership with the Shamrock Park club the 26-year-old has been rewarded for his performances in their Championship success by being named as NI Football Awards Bluefin Sport Championship Player of the Year.
McNally’s leadership at centre-half was one of the big reasons why the Ports were able to top the table for the vast majority of the season and they were promoted by virtue of sitting in first place when the season ended in March.
“I’m very pleased to have won this award. It is a great honour,” said McNally.
“As a team our number one target for the season was to win promotion - which we achieved - and to win individual awards on top of that makes it even more special.”
McNally will now look forward to returning to the Premiership next weekend, having previously played in the top flight with Cliftonville, Glenavon, Ballymena United Carrick Rangers and Larne before joining the Ports in the summer of 2019.
Other clubs had wanted to offer him Premiership football at the time, but the chance to get there with Portadown was an opportunity that he felt was the best fit.
“It’s never easy getting out of the Championship, but I signed for Portadown with a view to going up in the first year and then playing in the Premiership,” he said.
“If I go back to last summer I had a couple of options to stay in the Premiership with a couple of different teams, but I looked at the bigger picture and thought if I could get into the Premiership with Portadown that would suit me better.
“Thankfully that has happened.
“I looked at the size of the club. Portadown have a massive history and they were in the wrong league for a couple of years.
“I looked at the bigger picture and the long term and that’s why I committed to another three-year contract.”
NIFWA Chairman Stuart McKinley and NIFL Managing Director Andrew Johnston present the NI Football Awards Bluefin Sport Championship Player of the Year trophy to Portadown FC's Paddy McNally