Billy Joe Burns wins Ulster Footballer award to continue Crusaders success

Billy Joe Burns wins an aerial duel with Cliftonville's Chris Curran in Tuesday's game
Billy Joe Burns helped Crusaders clinch the 3-1 win over Cliftonville on Tuesday which earned the Seaview club the Irish Premiership title

Crusaders defender Billy Joe Burns has been named as the Ulster Footballer of the Year after helping his club land the Irish Premiership title on Tuesday.

Burns succeeds team-mate Paul Heatley in winning the award which is presented annually by the Castlereagh Glentoran Supporters' Club.

The choice of former Linfield player Burns was no surprise after his tremendous season the Crues.

Glenavon's Joel Cooper picked up the Ulster Young Footballer award.

Cooper has helped the Lurgan Blues reach the Irish Cup final where they will face Linfield on 7 May.

The Ulster Footballer of the Year award was first presented in 1950-51, when Cliftonville's Kevin McGarry was the recipient and Burns becomes the sixth Crusaders player to win the award.

Albert Campbell won the 1960-61 award with Pat McCoy (1985-86), Kevin McKeown (1994-95), current manager Stephen Baxter (1996-97) and Heatley (2014-15) the other winners from the Seaview outfit.

Burns, 26, has won two league medals since joining Crusaders in May 2014 after eight years with Linfield.