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|Full name||Carrick Rangers Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||Amber Army, The 'Gers|
|Ground||Loughshore Hotel Arena, Taylors Avenue, Carrickfergus|
|Capacity||6,000 (400 seats)|
|2020–21||11th (play off did not take place in 20-21)|
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.
The club was formed in 1939, when two teams from the Carrickfergus & District Summer League – Barn Mills and Bubbles decided to merge. 21–22 They won the County Antrim Junior Shield in 1941–42 :28 and in 1943 gained admission to the Northern Amateur League, :31 of which they were the champions in 1948–49 and 1951–52. :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, :65 and then, following the demise of that competition, to the Irish Alliance in 1954 and eventually the Irish League B Division in 1957. :73, 81–82 As members of the Alliance, Carrick won the McKelvey Cup, a knock-out cup for league members, in 1956–57. :81In 1940, the new club joined the Belfast Minor League and took up residence at Taylors Avenue, then known as the Barn Field :
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 3-1on 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.
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.
|1976–77||European Cup Winners' Cup||1R||Aris||3–1||1–2||4–3|
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
21 - In honour of former player Jerry Thompson who died suddenly in December 2019.
Ards Football Club is a semi-professional, Northern Irish football club playing in NIFL Championship. The club is based in Newtownards, but plays its home matches at Clandeboye Park in Bangor, which it rents from rivals Bangor to play home games. The club colours are red and blue.
Larne Football Club is a professional Northern Irish football club based in Larne, County Antrim that play in the NIFL Premiership.
Ballinamallard United Football Club is a semi-professional Northern Irish football club playing in the NIFL Championship. The club, re-formed in 1975 after being dormant since the 1960s, hails from Ballinamallard, near Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, and plays its home matches at Ferney Park. Club colours are all royal blue (home), and all white (away).
Ballyclare Comrades Football Club is a semi-professional, Northern Irish football club playing in the NIFL Championship. The club hails from Ballyclare, County Antrim and plays its home matches at Dixon Park. Club colours are red and white. The club's rivals are Carrick Rangers and Larne and games between the three clubs are referred to as "The East Antrim Derbies".
Annagh United Football Club is a semi-professional, Northern Irish football club playing in the NIFL Championship. The club is close neighbour to Portadown in the NIFL Premiership.The club, founded in 1963, hails from Portadown and plays its home matches at Tandragee Road. The club home colours have are all red and away all white.
The Northern Ireland Football League Cup, also known colloquially as the Irish League Cup, is a national football knock-out cup competition in Northern Ireland open to all member clubs of the Northern Ireland Football League. It is the third-most prestigious competition in domestic Northern Irish football after the NIFL Premiership and Irish Cup. It should not be confused with the Irish League Floodlit Cup which ran from 1987–88 to 1997–98. Unlike the Irish Cup, the League Cup does not have a berth for UEFA Europa Conference League qualification. The cup has been operated by the Northern Ireland Football League since the 2013–14 season when it took over the administration from the Irish Football Association (IFA), after which the cup was renamed to the Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL) Cup.
The NIFL Development League is an intermediate Association football league in Northern Ireland consisting of the reserve teams of the twelve NIFL Premiership clubs.
The 2014–15 NIFL Championship was the seventh season since its establishment after a major overhaul of the league system in Northern Ireland, and the second season that the league is being operated by the Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL), which took over from the Irish Football Association (IFA) for the 2013–14 season onwards. The season began on 8 August 2014 and concluded on 2 May 2015.
The 2014–15 Northern Ireland Football League Cup was the 29th edition of Northern Ireland's secondary football knock-out cup competition, and the second season of the competition under the control of the Northern Ireland Football League. It was contested by the 12 members of the NIFL Premiership and the 29 members of the NIFL Championship. The competition began on 12 August 2014 with the first round, and concluded on 24 January 2015 with the final.
The 2014–15 Irish Cup was the 135th edition of the premier knock-out cup competition in Northern Irish football since its introduction in 1881. The competition began on 23 August 2014 with the first round, and concluded on 2 May 2015 with the final. For the first time since 1995, the Oval was chosen as the final venue following the discovery of damage to a stand at Windsor Park during the stadium's redevelopment.
The 2015–16 Irish Cup was the 136th edition of the premier knock-out cup competition in Northern Irish football since its introduction in 1881. The competition began on 18 August 2015 with the first round and concluded with the final at Windsor Park on 7 May 2016. The cup was sponsored by Tennent's Lager, the competition's first title sponsor since 2012.
The 2016–17 NIFL Premiership was the ninth season of Northern Ireland's highest national football league in this format since its inception in 2008, the 116th season of Irish league football overall, and the fourth season of the league operating as part of the Northern Ireland Football League. The fixtures were announced on 7 July 2016. The season began on 6 August 2016 and ended on 29 April 2017, with the play-offs taking place in May 2017.
The 2017–18 NIFL Premiership was the 10th season of Northern Ireland's highest national football league in this format since its inception in 2008, the 117th season of Irish league football overall, and the fifth season of the league operating as part of the Northern Ireland Football League. The season began on 11 August 2017 and concluded on 28 April 2018, with the play-offs taking place in May 2018.
The 2018–19 NIFL Premiership was the 11th season of Northern Ireland's highest national football league in this format since its inception in 2008, the 118th season of Irish league football overall, and the sixth season of the league operating as part of the Northern Ireland Football League. The season began on 4 August 2018 and concluded on 27 April 2019, with the play-offs for promotion/relegation and the Europa League then taking place in May 2019.
The 2018–19 NIFL Championship was the third season of the NIFL Championship since gaining senior status. It is the second-tier of the Northern Ireland Football League - the national football league in Northern Ireland.
The 2019–20 NIFL Premiership was the 12th season of Northern Ireland's highest national football league in this format since its inception in 2008, the 119th season of Irish league football overall, and the seventh season that the league operated as part of the Northern Ireland Football League. The fixtures were released on 26 June 2019. The season began on 9 August 2019 and was initially scheduled to conclude on 25 April 2020, with the promotion/relegation play-off scheduled to take place in the first week of May 2020. However, the season was suspended on 13 March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in Northern Ireland, with the clubs having only played 31 of the 38 rounds of fixtures. The season did not resume after the suspension, with the final games having been played on 7 March 2020.
The 2019–20 NIFL Championship was the fourth season of the NIFL Championship since gaining senior status. It is the second-tier of the Northern Ireland Football League - the national football league in Northern Ireland. The season began on 3 August 2019 and was originally scheduled to conclude in April 2020, However, the season was suspended on 13 March 2020 as a result of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. No further fixtures were played, with the final games held on 10 March 2020 and the season being officially curtailed in June 2020.
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The 2020–21 Irish Cup was the 141st edition of the premier knock-out cup competition in Northern Irish football since its inauguration in 1881. The competition began on 27 April 2021 and concluded with the final at Mourneview Park, Lurgan on 21 May 2021.
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