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Dublin: 9 °C Sunday 24 March, 2019
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Former underage GAA star wins League Two Player of the Month

Shay McCartan’s impressive form with Accrington Stanley has been recognised.

IRISH STRIKER SHAY McCartan has been named the League Two Player of the Month for March after an impressive haul of six goals in seven games for Accrington Stanley.

McCartan — who once scored a hat-trick for Down GAA and still ended up on the losing side in a memorable 2011 Ulster Minor Football match against Armagh — has caught the eye with a number of impressive free kicks.

Having looked in danger of relegation at one point, Accrington now have an outside chance of promotion, as they currently sit seven points off the playoff places with six games to play in League Two. Coach John Coleman was also recognised with the Manager of the Month award as a result of his side’s impressive 12-game unbeaten run.

The 22-year-old Newry-born attacker played for Glenavon at youth level, before spending three years at Burnley prior to joining Accrington, making over 100 appearances since joining the latter in 2013.

The former Northern Ireland U21 player was the top scorer across all four main divisions in England in March, but paid tribute to his teammates after receiving the award.

“I am delighted, it’s nice to get noticed with an award,” he told the official EFL website. “I have got the accolades for scoring the goals but it’s a team effort as the defence has kept clean sheets while the midfielders and the wingers have also been excellent.

For me, the free-kicks are now going in. At the start of the season, they were going over the crossbar but I have been practicing hard and now have scored five free-kicks out of my nine goals this season. It’s all about confidence and belief and the gaffer has believed in me to keep taking them.”

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit and member of the judging panel Don Goodman added: “His technique from free-kicks rivals the very best on offer anywhere at the moment, and opposition goalkeepers and defenders must fear the worst when they see him lining up.

“There have been many players at all levels of football all over the world that have scored wonderful free-kicks but surely at professional level, no one has scored four in the same month as McCartan did in March.”

Source: armagh-gaa/YouTube

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Paul Fennessy

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