King ‘full of pride’ after Carrick show ‘fight’ in Euro play-off semi

The curtain came down on Carrick Rangers’ most successful season in the Irish Premiership on Wednesday, May 1 as the east Antrim side lost 3-1 to Crusaders in their Euro play-off semi final at Seaview.
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The Taylor’s Avenue outfit earned the right to compete in the European play-off last four for the first time in the club’s history after they finished seventh in the Sports Direct Irish Premiership, amassing the side’s highest points total in the process.

Adam Lecky headed the home side in front on seven minutes before Stewart Nixon made it 2-0 on 45+1. The visitors pulled a goal back before the break through Danny Gibson on 45+3.

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Ben Kennedy restored Stephen Baxter’s side’s two goal lead on 54 minutes and the result remained 3-1, despite pressure from Carrick.

Stuart King. (Pic: Press Eye).Stuart King. (Pic: Press Eye).
Stuart King. (Pic: Press Eye).

Speaking to the club’s media officer after the clash, manager Stuart King said: “I am really disappointed to be beaten. I thought we gave it a good go. I was delighted to get a few of the kids on, because we were so short again tonight.

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“I am full of pride. I am proud as punch for my players and everyone connected to the football club- we went down fighting.

"We had a massive crowd with us and they have clapped the players and shown their appreciation for the club.

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“We are doing something right, we’re mixing it with the big boys. I am going to have a wee bit of time off then I am going to get stuck back in because there are things I want to do.

"We have really progressed and the fans are a massive part of it. We have made it to a semi-final (Co Antrim Shield), we have got to the last game before the split to finish in the top six, we have got to the European play-offs, but I want more. I have told the players that. I want them to have a good break, they deserve it, but I want my club to keep on progressing. I want to keep mixing it with the big boys. Onwards and upwards.”