Carrick Rangers are mourning the loss of their 1976 Irish Cup winning skipper George Matchett.
Matchett and his team mates secured their place in sporting history after the Taylor’s Avenue outfit’s giant-killing feat over Linfield.
George was the on the field leader during a particularly successful period for the club which saw them lifting four B Division titles and back to back Intermediate Cups in 1976 and ‘77.
That famous win over Linfield, under player-manager Jimmy Brown, earned Rangers European Cup Winners Cup football too.
Again they gave fans memories to talk about for decades to come, progressing against Aris Luxembourg to set up a tie with Manchester United’s FA cup final conquerors, Southampton, who included household names such as Mick Channon and Peter Osgood.
Leading tributes to their former captain, Carrick Rangers said he was “a stalwart of the side in 1975 who went the entire league campaign unbeaten”.
“Known as a fearsome competitor and leader, George began his career at Linfield and moved to Bangor before joining Rangers in 1972 where he remained until the end of the decade and ultimately finished his playing career at Moyola Park.
“Maintaining a love for the game, George took up a coaching role and returned to Windsor Park, under Roy Coyle.
“It did not come as a surprise, when in 2014, George was selected as a member of Carrick Rangers Greatest Ever XI to celebrate the club’s 75th anniversary.”
At a gala evening in Carrick Town Hall to mark the 35th anniversary of that Irish Cup triumph, George spoke of a “real bond” in the camp.
Carrick Rangers added: “Everyone at the club is deeply saddened to lose such a player, leader and friend and would like to wish our condolences to the Matchett family circle.”
A Service of Thanksgiving for George Matchett, who died on May 25, will be held tomorrow (Thursday) at 10.30am in Church of the Annunciation, Knocknagoney, followed by committal in Roselawn cemetery.
See also: https://www.carrickfergustimes.co.uk/sport/football/football-remembering-the-glory-days-1-3164831