Everyone was really excited to play and represent Carrick and there was a mixture of both Carrick Rangers DFC players and full ability players taking part as this was a full ability tournament. The six Carrick Rangers DFC players who took part were David, Barry, Wez, Martin, Ryan and Glen.
The tournament started at the group stages, with the first fixture of the day against Unreal Madrid. The ‘Gers were very slow out due to their only recent formation and despite their best efforts, the game ended in a 3-1 defeat with Ryan Smith netting the goal and in the process becoming the first player to score for Carrick Rangers DFC.
Santander Embrace Men were the opposition in the second group game as Rangers started to come together well as a team after the first fixture. Barry Murray netted the first goal for Dani McIlwaine’s side and just as it looked like the game would finish 1-1, Glen Millar popped up at the death to score the winning goal with the last kick of the game.
The final group match would decide who advanced to the semi-final as Carrick faced off against Inclusive Youth Boys. The team came out determined and full of spirit, really enjoying the game as they won 3-0 courtesy of a Ryan Smith brace and a strike from Martin Methven, with the side also picking up their first clean sheet.
The ‘Gers advanced to the semi-final where they faced last year's winners Newtown Forest in what was a tight game both in terms of skill and determination. Barry Murray netted first to break the deadlock before an instant reply from Newtown Forest levelled the game, and with neither team able to find a winner, a penalty-shootout was required to separate the sides.
Carrick’s Ryan Smith sent the keeper the wrong way and found the bottom corner for the first penalty, with Newtown Forest then drawing level with ‘Gers keeper David not able to keep the penalty out despite getting a hand on it.
Martin Methven then re-stored Rangers’ advantage with his penalty just about creeping in thanks to his powerful shot, and when Newtown Forest stepped up again, ‘keeper David produced a great one-handed save to push the ball over the bar, putting his side one penalty-kick away from the final.
Barry Murray donned the responsibility and cooly sent the goalkeeper the wrong way as he celebrated his match-winning spot-kick with a kiss of the Carrick badge.
The final saw Carrick Rangers DFC face Veritas Ultras in what was a tough and competitive game. Despite a fairly attacking first-half, Rangers were unable to create any clear cut chances and so the sides remained at stalemate at half-time. A team talk at the break seemed to work perfectly and after ‘keeper David held a hard shot from Veritas Ultras, he quickly released the ball to Aaron whose cross field pass found Martin Methven who took a great first touch, rounded the ‘keeper and slotted it home into an empty net. The ‘Gers defended their lead resolutely to the end and got their reward as the full-time whistle crowned them competition winners.
Everyone at Carrick Rangers DFC would like to thank Jayne at the Rainbow Project for organising such a fantastic tournament! #AmberArmy