Q1 - How did your football career begin and when did you first realise that you had talent as a goalkeeper?
My football career in the Irish League first began with Banbridge Town, I was seventeen at the time. At around thirteen, when at secondary school, the games master put me into goals and I stayed in that position ever since. I do believe I could have played at right back.
Q2 - How did your move to Carrick come about?
I was at Glentoran for over five years in the early to mid eighties. Whilst playing around 100 games in that period, I felt I could have been selected more. I was competing with Alan Patterson who was one of the top goalkeepers in the league.
Following an approach by Jim Hume, I signed for Carrick and stayed there for the rest of my career. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Carrick and was very well looked after. I trust in return I always gave my best for the Club.
Q3 - This season has been dominated with discussion about VAR. In the early 90’s, there was a major rule change with the amendment to the back pass rule. How much did this affect your game?
I felt the back pass rule did not affect my game too much as I felt I could read the game well and was comfortable with the ball at my right foot. I should say my left leg was for standing only! Overall, the amendment did not give me too many problems.
Q4 - As a member of the “Goalkeepers Union”, who do you feel was the best opposing Goalkeeper in your career?
There were a number of great goalkeepers in my career. However, if I had to pick one it would be George Dunlop from Linfield. He was technically very good, commanding at crosses, could read the game well and importantly had the right temperament to deal with the demands at Linfield for a long sustained career.
Q5 - You remained loyal to Carrick, playing across 9 seasons. This was despite the turnover of managers and some volatility off the pitch. What made you stay each season?
I stayed so long because it was a great Club who treated me well. I had opportunities to sign for both Linfield and Portadown whilst at Carrick but felt loyal to the Club. Whilst there was a turnover in managers I also respected all the managers I played for.
Q6 - One game which Carrick fans look back fondly on was a game away to Glenavon. Given that the result was a 2-0 defeat, it wasn’t remembered as a famous win but rather for your own individual performance. You were awarded a 10/10 by the Newsletter for your performance and applauded by both sets of players at the conclusion of the game. Is this a game that you remember?
I recall the game because I have been reminded of it a few times over the years. To this day I do not feel my performance could be categorised as outstanding. However, if I were to make one comment, I feel I read the game well which made things easier for me.
Q7 - Even though it is many years since your playing career at Carrick ended, you still receive a warm welcome when you return to the Loughshore Hotel Arena. What are your fondest memories of your time at the club?
There are many fond memories. However, if I had to pick one, it was towards the end of my career with Carrick. Whilst not in the team, it was a pleasure and proud day to be in the squad on Irish Cup Final Day.
Q8 - You are now the Goalkeeping Coach at Glenavon. What did you do immediately when your career ended? How did you get into coaching?
I took a break from the game for a number of years. I had been involved in Irish League football from seventeen until my thirty nine, over twenty two years. I then was asked by Paul Kirk to take the goalkeepers at Lisburn Distillery. Through that path, I undertook my Goalkeeping Diploma Coaching Licence with the IFA. I was at Lisburn Distillery for about five years with the Club qualifying for the Intertoto Cup on three occasions. Paul Kirk left the Club and was followed by Jimmy Brown for a short period and then Tommy Wright.
After a number of years with Tommy, I got the opportunity from Marty Quinn to go to Glenavon and I have been there ever since. I coach the first team and development squad goalkeepers.
Q9 - As a Coach, what are the most important pieces of advice that you would pass on to any young Goalkeeper?
On the technical side: understand/read the game, positional sense, commanding your area, organise your defence, distribution, fitness and reflexes to make saves.
On the mental side: commitment, willingness to learn, absorb manager’s instructions and carry them out, good temperament to deal with high pressure games and situations, be positive and able to deal with negative situations.
Q10 - If you had not been a Goalkeeper, what position would you have liked to have played and why?
As stated above right back where I feel I could face/read the game as opposed to an attacking position with my back to goal.