Richard Purcell lands Championship Player of the Month award

Ballyclare Comrades goalkeeper Richard Purcell has been named Championship Player of the Month for October, by the Northern Ireland Football Writers’ Association.

Purcell, just 20, enjoyed a splendid month between the sticks for Ballyclare. He kept two cleans sheets and saved a penalty as the Comrades recorded 10 points from five league games.

The former Coleraine youth team player said: “It’s an honour to win this award. It’s fantastic to be playing first-team football, and I’m really enjoying myself at Ballyclare.

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“There’s a lot of experienced players at the club like defenders Howard Beverland and Chris Ramsey who have really helped me settle in.

NIFWA Championship Player of the Month for October Richard Purcell receives his Belleek trophy from Ballyclare Comrades manager Paul Harbison

"I’m enjoying working with goalkeeping coach Michael Dougherty, as well. I’ve known Doc for a long time, and he has helped me improve my game.”

The Castlerock man continued, “At Ballyclare, we have exceeded a lot of people’s expectations this season. We’re all confident that we can maintain this run and stay at this end of the table.

"The Championship is a very difficult division to predict as it’s so competitive, but I think we’re as good as anyone in this league.”

Meanwhile, Cliftonville forward Ryan Curran has won the NIFWA Goal of the Month competition for October.

Curran’s second goal against Glenavon in last weekend’s 2-1 victory topped the keenly contested poll.

The former Ballinamallard United man pulled the ball down with splendid first touch, before finding the top corner with a sweet half volley.