MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : NORTHERN IRELAND FOOTBALL – SPRING 2007

Dean Shiels is the cover star of Northern Ireland Football, as he has made a comeback after having an eye removed in early 2006.

In news, Mark Clyde of Wolves and Northern Ireland has had to announce his retirement at the age of 24 due to a succession of injuries.

At Burnley, Michael Duff and Kyle Lafferty have signed new deals that will keep them at the club until 2010.

Dean Shiels gets a full page interview, having made a comeback for both club and country, looking forward to a Scottish League Cup Final for Hibs against Kilmarnock.

Alan Shearer was recently in Belfast to present awards to Glenn Ferguson, Peter Thompson and Darren Kelly on behalf of Umbro.

Darren Murphy spills the beans on his Ballymena United team-mates, revealing that Mark Picking has the worst taste in music.

David Jeffrey gets a two page profile as he celebrates ten years as manager of Linfield.

The 2007 edition of the Setanta Cup has just kicked off, and a full page feature looks at the success of the competition so far.

Grant McCann gets profiled, as he hopes to get game time in Northern Ireland’s upcoming European Championship Qualifiers against Leichtenstein and Sweden.

The recent friendly against Wales, a 0-0 draw at Windsor Park, gets a full page picture special.

Meanwhile, the Irish Cup has announced a new sponsor, JJB Sports.

Northern Ireland’s Women are also in European Qualifying action, kicking off with an away game against England in May 2007.

Cliftonville get a double page profile, having just won the County Antrim Shield.

Across Belfast, there is a feature of Peter Thompson, Michael Gault and Paul McAreavey, who are settling into life as full-time professionals based in the Irish League, as they adjust to no longer having to combine playing with a full-time job.

McAreavey was selected for an Irish League Select XI who defeated the English Conference 3-1 at Mourneview Park.

Colin Murray and Neil Lennon were recently in Belfast to present the Football For All Awards.

FOUR FOUR TWO PHOTO COMPETITION

Whilst browsing through the current edition of Four Four Two, I saw an advert for a football photography competition being sponsored by the magazine.

Now, I like football, and I like photography, so entering this is a bit of a no-brainer.

The competition is divided into two categories, so i’ll be entering the amateur competition.

I had some photos lined up in mind, but a quick look at the rules saw that photographs had to have been taken between August 2009 and July 2010, which will rule out some photos I had in mind.

I’m going to put some photos forward and ask for feedback before deciding which pictures to enter. Unsurprisingly, most of these photos will be from Linfield matches.

The first photo is from a pre-season friendly between Dunmurry Young Men and Linfield.

The venue was pretty basic, but the closesness to the pitch and the late evening light (If I remember correctly, the kick-off was 7pm, in order to get the game finished before nightfall) was a great opportunity for amateur photography, especially as the game was a routine victory for Linfield with Paul Munster’s 4 goal haul being overshadowed by a serious injury to Curtis Allen.

The season (falsely) started at Coleraine the following weekened. The traffic heading to Coleraine that day was so bad I only made it into the ground at 3.40pm.

At 3.20pm, being stuck in a trafficjam somewhere in Rasharkin and hearing that Coleraine had just went 2-0 up, the temptation to try and turn around and head home was there.

Coleraine is a ground which is friendly to amateur photographers, and I managed to get one of an attentive crowd and pitchside photographer training their eyes on the action taking place on the pitch.

In September, I attended the Manchester Derby at Old Trafford, and managed to blag myself some pitchside seats, which was a great assistance for amateur photography.

The first photo from that day was taken pre-match, as United fans unfurled a banner parodying a billboard unveiled by City to commemorate the signing of Carlos Tevez.

The second photo came right at the end, as United players and fans celebrate Michael Owen’s 90th minute winner

There’s just something about the photo which makes it great, that you can see the emotion of what victory means on Derby Day.

Moving on to the biggest derby in world football, I managed to get one well composed of a photographer getting a photo of Linfield players celebrating Mark Miskimmin’s goal against Glentoran.

November saw Linfield make trips to Newry, Portadown and Dungannon. Of the photos that were taken at these three games, my favourite was the one of Billy Joe Burns and Michael Gault battling for possession against Dungannon Swifts at a fog-covered Stangmore Park.

Come January, incliment weather meant that the Irish League was now having a Bundesliga style winter break.

I made the most of the weather to get some photos of Windsor Park covered in snow, a shot I had always been wanting to get.

Come April, the weather had improved and so had Linfield’s results. I headed to Dublin for a weekend for the Setanta Cup Semi-final against Bohemians, taking in St Patrick’s Athletic v Sporting Fingal as well.

My final favourite photo of the season came after the match against Cliftonville when Linfield clinched the title.

Phil Lowry is being interviewed by a radio reporter, and the floodlights and the composition just works for me.

Thanks for having a wee look through my photo journey of the 2009-2010 season, feel free to offer feedback and vote for which photo(s) I should enter.