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Another double for Jamie

Congratulations to Jamie McDonagh, who has today been named January’s Danske Bank Player of the Month by the NI Football Writers’ Association.

The Cliftonville winger has certainly been in eye-catching form of late, having scored five superb goals in his last four appearances – a long-range effort against Glentoran setting the tone for memorable doubles in recent draws with Linfield and Ballymena United.

Indeed, it’s fitting that a player who has become accustomed to toasting braces recently should find himself celebrating twice this morning, with his stunning volleyed opener against Ballymena last Friday also named January’s Goal of the Month.

“It’s a very proud moment for me, I’m very happy to win my first Player of the Month award from the Football Writers and Danske Bank,” says McDonagh, who collected his accolade from NIFWA Chairwoman Ruth Gorman.

“I couldn’t have done it without my team-mates and every game I play, Paddy McLaughlin fills me with confidence. It’s great to show the League how well I can play. I want to keep improving and try and help the team as much as I can.”

As pleased as he was with his spectacular strike in Ballymena last week, the 25-year-old insists it wasn’t the best finish of his career – with that particular honour reserved for an effort he netted against Cliftonville in Glentoran’s colours this very weekend last year.

“It’s great to win Goal of the Month, too,” he adds. “I think it was the second best goal I’ve ever scored, the first was the Goal of the Season from last year.

“Since Conor McDermott came in at right back, it’s given me a bit more freedom to go forward and go inside. I had only scored one goal before the new year and in January I got five so it’s paying off.

“A lot of it is down to the style of football we’re playing as a team but also the freedom Paddy has given me to play with. I just wish I could have scored three against Ballymena to get the win.”