Carrick Rangers boss Gary Haveron dedicated his club’s Steel & Sons Cup victory to Carrickfergus mayor Charles Johnston.
Johnston, who is also a Carrick fans and the club’s secretary, is currently ill in hospital. After watching his Carrick side comfortably defeat Harland & Wolff Welders 4-1 in the Christmas morning cup final at Seaview, Haveron left the celebrations early to visit Johnston in hospital.
After the game Haveron explained: “Our secretary Charlie is extremely ill at the moment and he sent me a good luck text message this morning. I promised Charlie I’d bring the cup home for him, so I soon as I leave the ground we will be going to hospital to show Charlie the trophy.
“He has down so much for both Carrickfergus as a town and for Carrick Rangers and he deserves to part of this success more than anyone. I’m delighted for Charlie and I’m delighted for our Chairman Davy Hilditch and our owner Michael Hughes, who have both put a lot of hard work into this club.
“Michael put a lot of faith in me as a young manager and I want to repay that faith. I hope this gives us a platform to build on. This can’t be the pinnacle of our season. We’ve still got a lot to play for. We’ve the Intermediate Cup, the Irish Cup and most importantly the league to play for.”
Haveron’s Carrick made short work of the Welders. Goals from Aaron Smyth, Kyle Cherry and Conor McCloskey gave the Rangers a well deserved 3-0 lead. Michael McLellan then pulled a goal back for the Belfast side just after Rangers defender Daniel Kelly was red carded. While this should have helped the Welders cause, the grand stand finish never materialised and Ben Roy’s 90th minute strike completed a comprehensive victory for Carrick in front of a bumper Christmas day crowd at Seaview.
Reflecting on the game, Haveron said: “We saved our best performance of the season for the cup final. I’ve always known we were capable of this sort of performance, as I’ve got a very talented bunch of players here and I really couldn’t be more proud of them.
“They were brave on the ball and that allow us to play a fluid style of football. I thought we could have been more than 2-0 up at half-time, we played so well. Thankfully we got the crucial third which made life a lot easier. Ben’s fourth goal then put the icing on the cake.”
Carrickfergus born forward Ben Roy was the man who got the fourth a final goal for Rangers.
After the game an ecstatic Roy said: “The Welders upped it when we went down to ten men, so we were under a little bit of pressure for the first time in the game, so I think the goal was important.
“I had a couple of chances earlier and I didn’t hit the target, so thankfully I finished the last one. I chased what looked like a lost cause and I got something from it and then I ran in and slotted past Doc.
“It means a lot to me because I’m a Carrick lad. I joined the club because I wanted to win trophies for my hometown club and I hope this isn’t the last.”