FOOTBALL: HOWARD’S WAY

MAIN MAN...Howard Beverland receives the Player of the Year award from Johnny McCurdy. CR18-223KM
MAIN MAN...Howard Beverland receives the Player of the Year award from Johnny McCurdy. CR18-223KM

IT’S been a remarkable season for Howard Beverland.

The 21-year-old defender capped it off on Saturday night as he picked up both the Garvagh, Kilrea and District SC Player of the Year and the Coleraine Times Players’ Player of the Year gongs.

The Ballymoney man is going to have to build himself a new trophy cabinet as he the colerainefc.com and Ball Sponsors Player of the Year titles already in the bag.

Beverland told Times Sport though it’s success for the team which is the most important thing.

“As a player you just go out every game to do your best,” he said.

“You’re not thinking about awards or personal praise.

“You just want the team to do well throughout the season and hopefully be challenging for honours.

“Obviously it’s nice top be recognised though, and when it comes to this time of the year if you do pick up an award it’s an added bonus.

“You need players playing well around you too.

“I’ve played alongside ‘OG’ for most of the season. We have struck up a good partnership and I just told him it takes two. He has definitely helped me in terms of my performance this season.

“He deserves a lot of credit too and then Kyle will be back in contention next season as well so there will be plenty of competition for places.”

It’s been a massive season for Beverland. He missed the opening fixtures due to injury before forcing his way back into the team and making that central defensive slot his own.

“There’s some good competition in defence here at Coleraine so you have to be at the top game to keep your place,” said Beverland.

“I picked up a wee injury in Stranraer and I just couldn’t shake it off.

“But that’s part and parcel of the game. You pick up injuries and you just try your best to overcome them and get back into the team.

“I just had to keep knocking on the door and wait for the opportunity to arise.

“My first game back was against Linfield at Windsor Park. I hadn’t played a full 90 minutes but it went not too bad.

“It’s gone really well for me since and thankfully I’ve never looked back.

“I’ve really enjoyed playing in the heart of the defence.

“I got my first chance under Marty at right back, but to be honest I would have played anywhere just to have got a chance in the first team.

“But I’ve always been more comfortable at centre half, you can read the game better there and I enjoy playing there.”

Beverland is already looking forward to next season despite the current one only finishing despite several of the club’s more experienced players moving on to pastures new.

“I think what has happened since Oran has come in bodes well for the future,” he said.

“We had a few difficult times this season but we have bounced back well.

“We were looking to big characters to really come through during that difficult time. “But I think the lads deserve a lot of credit for sticking together through it all.

“For me though it didn’t matter if I was playing under David or Oran, I’m still the same player and I’ll still be going out to do my best for Coleraine.

“Obviously we’re losing a few players and there’s big boots to fill, none more so than Davy‘s and Stephen‘s.

“They have helped me a lot in my time at the club and I’d personally like to thank them for all they did.

“There will be nobody coming to replace them as they have their own legacy at this club.

“The players that come in have to be their own men and I’m sure that will be in the forefront of Oran’s mind in terms of who his targets are.”

Where the awards went: Player Of The Year - Howard Beverland; Top Goal Scorer - Leon Knight; Young Player Of The Year - Aaron Canning; Coleraine Times Player’s Player Of The Year - Howard Beverland; Reserves Player Of The Year - Ryan Doherty; Reserves Top Scorer - David Healy; Colts Player Of The Year - Connor McNamee/Luke Bradley; Colts Top Scorer - Josh Rohdich; GKDSC Young Supporter Of The Year - Rebecca Bradley; GKDSC Clubman Of The Year - Ivor Stirling.