IRISH LEAGUE: David Jeffrey hails players as Ballymena secure Premiership safety

David Cushley celebrates his goal against Carrick

David Cushley celebrates his goal against Carrick

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Ballymena United guaranteed their place in the Danske Bank Premiership next season with Saturday’s two-goal win over Carrick Rangers.

New boss David Jeffrey has revitalised the Sky Blues and the victory at Taylor’s Avenue means it’s now six games unbeaten since he took charge in early March.

David Cushley’s 38th-minute free-kick gave the visitors the edge against a lacklustre Gers before substitute Michael Ruddy put the gloss on things with a late strike.

“That’s the first objective completed,” Jeffrey said. “Brian McLoughlin and myself were asked to come in and make sure that the club weren’t relegated. That was the primary objective and when we looked at the run of games we had at the beginning we thought: ‘where were we going to get points?’.

“We gave ourselves a platform but the real battle started last week at Dungannon and that was superb. To come and win away from home again is tremendous.”

Carrick certainly weren’t at the races but the United boss described the victory as the best since he succeeded Glenn Ferguson.

“We’ve had some great performances and great results but for me, simply because of the conditions and the context of the game, this was the best. What was really pleasing was that we kept a clean sheet.”

Rangers boss Gary Haveron branded his side’s display as ‘toothless’.

“It wasn’t a good game. It was a horrible game. We’ve got to dust ourselves down and go again,” he said.