Carrick Rangers are back in the big time after they clinched the Championship 1 title thanks to a 1-0 win over Dundela.
Captain Aaron Harmon scored the only goal of the game with just 12 minutes on the clock and it was was enough to claim the three points the Taylor’s Avenue men needed to be crowned champions.
Harmon was presented with the Championship 1 trophy at the end of the match in front of fans who had flooded on to the pitch on the final whistle. However, there will be little time for celebration with attention now switching to Friday night’s Intermediate Cup final with the Welders. Victory at Seaview would see Carrick capture a trophy treble with the Steel and Sons Cup already in the bag.
Rangers got off to the perfect start when Harmon settled the early nerves. The skipper made an intelligent run to the back post and ran on to Ben Roy’s pass before guiding the ball past the helpless Jonathan Seargeant.
Carrick always looked the most likely to score again and the lively Conor McCloskey almost doubled their tally when he skipped past two men on the edge of the area before firing a right-footed shot inches wide of the upright on 19 minutes.
On the half-hour mark Carrick’s top scorer Miguel Chines whipped a left-foot free-kick narrowly over the bar and he came close again four minutes later, getting on the end of a beautiful cross from Roy but he directed his downward header wide of the target.
Twenty-one minutes into a what turned out to be a cagey second half, Roy went on a rampaging run and slipped the ball to Chines who opted to shoot when the better option would have been to cut it back to Kyle Cherry who was free on the edge of the area.
Chines thought had put the game beyond doubt with a close-range effort but somehow Seargeant kept it out.
A speculative cross-shot from left-back Aaron Traynor almost produced the precious two-goal cushion but with Dundela offering precious little in the final third the Gers held on get the job done.
Carrick Rangers: Neeson, Smyth Traynor, R. Arthur, Kelly, Watson, Harmon, Cherry, McCloskey, Chines, Roy (Dick 90). Subs: Taggart, Kane, Arthur, McConnell.
Dundela: Seargeant, Thompson, Collins (Halliday 82), Molnar, Murray, Gourley, Patton (Jackson 81), Ferguson, McClelland, Keenan (Feher 70), Dillon. Subs not used: Gibson, Cairns.
Referee: Peter McGrath (Newtownabbey).