Carrick Rangers F.C.

Carrick Rangers Football Club is a semi-professional Northern Irish football club playing in NIFL Premiership. The club, founded in 1939, hails from Carrickfergus, County Antrim and plays its home matches at Taylors Avenue which is known as the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena due to sponsorship reasons. Carrick Rangers main rivals are Larne, with matches between the sides being known as, "The East Antrim Derby." Ballyclare Comrades are also local rivals.

Carrick Rangers
Carrick Rangers F.C.png
Full nameCarrick Rangers Football Club
Nickname(s)Amber Army, The 'Gers
Founded1939; 82 years ago (1939)
GroundLoughshore Hotel Arena, Taylors Avenue, Carrickfergus
Capacity6,000[1] (400 seats)
ChairmanPeter Clarke
ManagerStuart King
LeagueNIFL Premiership
2020–2111th (play off did not take place in 20-21)
WebsiteClub website
Current season

HistoryEdit

The club was formed in 1939, when two teams from the Carrickfergus & District Summer League – Barn Mills and Bubbles decided to merge.[2] In 1940, the new club joined the Belfast Minor League and took up residence at Taylors Avenue, then known as the Barn Field[2]: 21–22  They won the County Antrim Junior Shield in 1941–42[2]: 28  and in 1943 gained admission to the Northern Amateur League,[2]: 31  of which they were the champions in 1948–49 and 1951–52.[2]: 55, 63  1952 saw the club's elevation to the Intermediate League, necessary ground improvements being made at the Barn Field, now known as Taylors Avenue,[2]: 65  and then, following the demise of that competition, to the Irish Alliance in 1954 and eventually the Irish League B Division in 1957.[2]: 73, 81–82  As members of the Alliance, Carrick won the McKelvey Cup, a knock-out cup for league members, in 1956–57.[2]: 81 

From 1983 until 2003, the club enjoyed senior status, but reverted to intermediate status when the Irish Premier League was established and the number of senior clubs was reduced from 20 to 16. The club's greatest achievement was winning the Irish Cup in 1976, when, as a B Division team they beat Linfield in the final in one of the greatest cup shocks.

On 2 May 2011, the club secured a return to top flight football for the first time since the 1994–95 season, after being crowned champions of Championship 1. However, they were unable to adapt to the step up in quality and lasted only one season in the top flight, finishing the 2011–12 IFA Premiership in last place which resulted in relegation back down to Championship 1 for the 2012–13 season.

On 25 April 2015, Carrick sealed promotion back to the Premiership as champions following a 1–0 win over Dundela.

In the 2015–16 season they performed reasonably well in their first season back in the Premiership for three years getting good wins against the likes of Dungannon Swifts back to back and also on the first day of the season, an incredible 4–3 home victory over champions Crusaders and got draws with Glenavon, Portadown and Linfield. They secured their survival in the NIFL Premiership on the last day of the season after two late goals from Mark Surgeoner and Miguel Chines against Ballinamallard; Miguel's goal coming in the 90+3-minute after an incredible acrobatic effort to keep the 'Gers up.

The following season manager Gary Haveron left the club and the Gers appointed former Portadown long time assistant to Ronnie McFall Kieran Harding. Hardings reign was an unsuccessful one with the Amber Army's only win coming at a 1–0 win over a struggling Glentoran with the 'Gers getting beat comfortably by nearly every team in the league with them most notably losing 4–1 to Ballymena United, losing 4–0 to fellow strugglers Portadown team and 3–0 at home to Dungannon Swifts with Hardings resignation following. The club appointed former Crusaders and Bohemians manager Aaron Callaghan as Hardings replacement. A small upturn in form begun with Callaghan getting more favourable results and improving steadily. The Gers reached to League Cup Final in 2017 after beating Glenavon 1–0 at Mourneview Park but lost 2–0 to David Jeffrey's Ballymena United at Seaview on 18 February 2017. Following the cup final, positive results were rare, with the club falling further behind their rivals and starting to come dangerously close to basement team Portadown. Carrick eventually finished 11th and faced a relegation/promotion playoff against championship runners up Institute, which they convincingly won 5–2 on aggregate over the two legs. Following the resignation of Aaron Callaghan after the final game of the regular season, former Larne manager and Cliftonville player David McAlinden was appointed.

Another poor season led the team to 11th in the table; this was followed up by a 6-3 aggregate loss to Newry City, which of course meant relegation to the championship. Former Loughgall, Ards and Portadown manager Niall Currie then took over for the 2018/19 season.

Niall Currie's side finished 2nd in the Championship in the 2018/2019 season behind runaway leaders Larne. This earned them a place in the Promotion play-off, first against 3rd place finishers Portadown, with the winner earning the right to face Ards, who finished 11th in the Premiership. After beating Portadown in the First Round, Currie's side went on to beat former side Ards 3-1[3] on aggregate over two legs to earn promotion back to the top tier.

In December 2019, defender Jerry Thompson took his own life, aged 24. Tributes flooded in from all areas of the Northern Irish football community and prompted mourning for all in the local game. Following the tragedy, Carrick announced that the number 21 shirt would be retired in his memory.

European recordEdit

Having qualified for the 1976–77 European Cup Winners' Cup, the club very creditably defeated Aris Bonnevoie of Luxembourg 4–3 on aggregate in the first round, before going out 9–3 on aggregate to English club Southampton in the second round.

Season Competition Round Opponent Home Away Aggregate
1976–77 European Cup Winners' Cup 1R   Aris 3–1 1–2 4–3
2R   Southampton 2–5 1–4 3–9

Current squadEdit

[4]Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   NIR Matthew Skeet
2 DF   NIR Kurtis Forsythe
3 DF   NIR Lee McNulty
4 DF   NIR Mark Surgenor
5 DF   NIR Jim Ervin
6 MF   NIR Steven Gordon
7 FW   NIR David Cushley
8 MF   NIR Corey McMullan
9 FW   NIR Emmett McGuckin
10 MF   NIR Daniel Kelly
11 FW   NIR Alexander Gawne (On loan from Coleraine)
No. Pos. Nation Player
12 FW   NIR Ewan Kelly
14 MF   IRL Ronan Kalla
16 DF   NIR Matthew Mulholland
18 GK   NIR Aaron Hogg
19 MF   NIR Ross McGimpsey
20 MF   NIR Kyle Cherry
22 FW   NIR Stewart Nixon
23 DF   NIR Reece Glendinning
24 MF   NIR Jordan Gibson
26 FW   NIR Jack Millar
34 FW   NIR Jonathan Doyle
38 GK   NIR Neil Shields (On loan from Crusaders)
39 DF   ENG Ben Tilney
42 MF   NIR Lloyd Anderson

Retired NumbersEdit

21 - In honour of former player Jerry Thompson who died suddenly in December 2019.

HonoursEdit

Senior honoursEdit

Intermediate honoursEdit

Junior honoursEdit

  • Minor League: 1
    • 1941–42
  • County Antrim Junior Shield: 1
    • 1941–42

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h J. Gorrod, A. Hack & A. Simpson (2014). Kings of the Castle: A History of Carrick Rangers Football Club 1939–2014. Unknown publisher.
  3. ^ "Carrick back in Premiership with win over Ards". BBC Sport. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Carrick Rangers Football Club 2018-19 - First Team Squad". Carrickrangers.co.uk. Retrieved 16 March 2019.

External linksEdit

coordinates = 54°43′11.0058″N 5°48′0.867″W / 54.719723833°N 5.80024083°W / 54.719723833; -5.80024083Coordinates: 54°43′11.0058″N 5°48′0.867″W / 54.719723833°N 5.80024083°W / 54.719723833; -5.80024083