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Saturday, 30 May 2015

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AFC's McNulty is league player of the year

BLUEBIRDS’ folk hero Steve McNulty is celebrating his ultimate accolade out in the footballers’ paradise of Ibiza.

The 24-year-old Barrow defender was revealed as Blue Square North player-of-the-year at the league’s presentation evening in Blackpool over the weekend.

McNulty learnt of the prestigious award last week – voted for by the club managers – before going abroad but was then sworn to secrecy.

The award was collected on his behalf at the Hilton Hotel by Brian Keen. The AFC chairman, along with vice-chairman Neil McDonald and director Tony Keen, also went on stage to accept the league runners-up cup.

It highlighted an excellent evening for the Barrow club with Matt Henney, who scored 17 goals from wide midfield, also named with McNulty in the team of the year.

The Holker Street fans were also singled out for a special mention by Setanta TV, who are showing highlights of the presentation night this Friday at 5pm.

McNulty, signed from Vauxhall Motors during the close season, proved a colossus throughout the promotion campaign and swept the board at the club’s annual presentation night in the Crossbar.

Although courted by league clubs, he also signed a new two-year deal with Barrow at the end of the season.

The vice-chairman said McNulty was overwhelmed when he spoke to the player before he went on holiday.

Added McDonald: “Steve was really pleased not only for himself but also for everyone connected with the club.

“He said it was a great club with fantastic support and said nothing like this would have happened if he had stayed at Vauxhall.”

Director Tony Keen said McNulty’s honour again helped project Barrow on the national stage.

He said: “It was a fantastic achievement, he was a colossus but the whole team were a credit.

“Our managers (Dave Bayliss and Darren Sheridan) were highlighted for the rise from 20th place, although Kettering manager Mark Cooper took the main award.

“We were actually singled out quite a few times on the night. Setanta did a highlights section and our fans were the only ones picked out, in the play-off game at Telford.

“The TV company realise that, with our fans, we are going to be high profile in the Conference.”

  •  AFC club secretary Russell Dodd – who earlier in the day attended the Conference AGM with the chairman – says the Chas Kendall Trophy with derby rivals Workington is being revived. The game will be played at Holker Street on August 2.Saturday, August 2 instead of the scheduled Chorley friendly away.
  • Blue Square North team of the year: Lee Harper (Kettering Town); Lee Vaughan (Telford United); Steve McNulty (Barrow); Guy Branston (Kettering Town); Denny Ingram (Harrogate); Matt Henney (Barrow); Ashley Winn (Stalybridge); Craig Westcarr (Kettering Town); Jean-Paul Marna (Kettering Town); Kieran Kilheeney (Burscough); Alex Meechan (Stalybridge).

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