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Friday 19 Jan 2024
Maxwell nets Women’s Premiership top player award

Northern Ireland forward Danielle Maxwell has been named as the NIFL Women’s Premiership player of the year for 2023.

Maxwell was a stand-out performer for Cliftonville Ladies last year and also made her mark on the international stage.

The 21-year-old, who scored 14 goals for the Reds in 2023, was voted as the top player in the Women’s Premiership by the Northern Ireland Football Writers’ Association.

Maxwell helped Cliftonville reach four cup finals over the 12-month period, while the Reds were narrowly pipped to the NIFL league title by Glentoran Women.

The forward/winger, who also provided numerous assists during the year, pointed out: "I love scoring goals and providing assists but I wouldn't have won (the award) if it wasn't for my team-mates.”

Cliftonville went unbeaten in all competitions until the end of June and Maxwell scored in the County Antrim Cup final victory over Crusaders. The Reds also won the Women’s Premiership League Cup and were beaten finalists in the All-Island Cup and the Electric Ireland Women’s Challenge Cup competitions.

Her exploits with Cliftonville were rewarded with a recall to the Northern Ireland team for the summer friendlies against Scotland and Czechia.

And she went on to score her first goal at senior international level in a UEFA Women’s Nations League match against Hungary staged at Seaview in October.

Her maiden goal for the girls in green and white was one to remember. Simone Magill battled for the ball and teed her up and Maxwell blasted it into the top of the net.

She then doubled her international tally in December when she netted in the 4-0 win over Albania in a Nations League encounter that was also staged at Seaview.

Maxwell, who now has nine international caps, said it was disappointing to have only collected a couple of pieces of silverware with Cliftonville last season, however she believes it has given the Reds something to build on for the upcoming season.

The Northern Ireland senior women’s team will be back in action next month when they face Montenegro in a two-legged play-off to stay in League B for the second stage of the inaugural Women’s Nations League competition: a European Qualifiers phase later this year.

The first of the play-off games is in Podgorica on 23 February, while game two is scheduled to be played at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park on 27 February.