Q1 - Tell us a bit about your career as a young player. What are your earliest memories of playing the game?
Earliest memories I have of playing football are running about Mallusk on Saturday mornings (always freezing by the way!), they were brilliant days. Mallusk would end up being a brilliant place for me starting off as I won many Down and Connor Leagues and Cups there, as well as being the place where I spent most of the time training and preparing for the Milk Cup where I was lucky enough to get selected for the Co. Antrim side for 3 years in a row. Memories to cherish.
Q2 - You joined Carrick in the summer 2006 and soon found yourself as a regular in the team. Did you expect to have had such an immediate impact?
I joined Carrick after being in and around the Dungannon first team and making wee appearances here and there, so I felt it was an opportunity at the time for me to establish myself in senior football. I felt I had to hit the ground running and prove my worth to the team, so I was obviously delighted to make such a good impact especially with the goals I was scoring at the start and throughout my whole time at Carrick.
Q3 - You were part of the squad for the 2008 Steel and Sons Cup Final. What do you remember of that day?
The Steel and Sons Final that year was just horrible really! It was a big occasion for everyone involved with the club. I think that year the highlights were being broadcast on Sky Sports that Christmas afternoon as it was the only game on, so with the cameras and everything else there, that just added extra motivation to the occasion.
However, with the game itself, you just have to win Finals no matter what and we didn't do anywhere near enough that day collectively or individually. I have had many bad games over the years but that one was probably my worst! I was stinking that day. All I did, honestly, of note that day was set up James Costello for his goal and that was it!
One of my best mates (Gerard McAlea) who came off the bench that day, still gives me dog’s abuse for my performance saying I never got out of Jimmy Mcllhagga's back pocket that morning, I was that bad! My missus (now wife) was expecting our first child on Boxing Day that year too which just added to it all, but all in all, just a disaster of a day and so disappointing for all concerned. Sore one to take, even sorer when they scored with the last kick of the game!
Q4 - Who had the biggest impact on your development at Carrick?
For this I have to credit Smally and Stitty for helping me develop at Carrick. First of all they give me the chance to play senior football which was always the goal and what I will always be grateful for. They knew my strengths and that I loved to score goals and they gave me the freedom to go do that. However, with both of them being cracking defenders in their time, they were always quick to remind me of the other side of the game!
On the pitch, I have to mention Paul Prenter, Glenn Taggart and Gregg Shannon. These three were brilliant for me personally at Carrick, just encouraging me all the time giving me the confidence for me to go express myself on the pitch.
Q5 - You enjoyed a further season at Taylor’s Avenue before joining Donegal Celtic in 2010. Was that a difficult decision?
I had now been at Carrick for 4 years, I was doing well individually - top goalscorer, Club Player of the Year - but as a Club, the best we were finishing was top 3 or top 4 in the Championship. We were maybe 2/3 players short of challenging for the League or winning trophies at the time, but it didn't seem to me that we looked like we were going to try to take those extra steps required.
There was interest from DC who had just won promotion to the Premiership. It was the hardest decision I had to make but I felt I just had to take that chance to play in the Premiership and test myself as it might never come again. DC were my local team which helped make my decision a bit easier.
After all that, in the following season I did well in the Premiership with DC but luck would have it, Smally was able to strengthen his team massively in the Championship and Carrick went on to do the league and cup double! So definitely some mixed feelings there from me personally being delighted for Carrick winning stuff but also thinking could I have been a part of it all?!. But at the same time I was doing well at DC. So yes it was a hard decision but overall the right one!
Q6 - New Year’s Eve 2010 is one that Linfield won’t care to remember with then manager, David Jeffrey famously cancelling the New Year’s celebrations. This was of course after Donegal Celtic defeated the Blues 2-0 on New Year’s Eve. You opened the scoring that day. How important was that goal when you look back?
That goal was massive that day. No one gave us a chance beforehand. I think we were bottom or second bottom in the league before the game. Linfield were pretty much full strength that day I remember, and we were actually really light as we had some injuries and suspensions. We were outstanding to a man that day and fully deserving of the victory. It was DC's only ever win over Linfield so it was nice to be a part of and create a bit of history and even better to score in it as well.
Q7 - Having enjoyed several season’s in the top flight, Donegal Celtic were relegated and you moved to Larne. Was it a tough decision to step down from the Premiership?
I think the season DC got relegated, I moved to Larne in the January transfer window on loan initially for the rest of the season. I was on the bench for a while and had fallen out of favour with Packie McAllister at the time. Confidence was shot at the time so it was a bit of no brainer to go get games with Larne where they were fighting to stay in the Championship at the time.
So it was a win win for everyone, I got game time and helped keep Larne up that season. I enjoyed it that much that I stayed for a couple more seasons, but the ultimate goal was to get back to play in the Premiership which sadly didn't materialise after that.
Q8 - In recent years you have enjoyed spells at Comber Rec, Immaculata and now Crewe United. Is your appetite for the game the same as it was when you first started in your career?
The appetite is still strong for the game, I still have that buzz on a Saturday morning that will probably never go away! But it has been harder to give my full commitment to football the last few years with me now being a bus driver for Translink. There is a lot of Saturday work involved so therefore I'm not always at training or games. But at Crewe Utd, Soap (Eamonn McCarthy) still feels I can contribute so that's enough for me at the minute and enough to keep me involved and still enjoying it.
Q9 - If you could go back and change the outcome of one match in your career, what game would you choose and why?
It has to be the Steel and Sons final 2008. I have won very little trophies over the years and the Steel and Sons is always the big one. So to let that chance pass me by was hard to take. Definitely a huge regret of mine and one where I would love to turn the clock back again to Christmas morning 2008!
Q10 - What are your plans when your playing career comes to an end. Do you want to stay involved in the game?
In an ideal world I would love to stay involved in the game in some capacity (i.e. coaching). However, as I've mentioned , with my line of work it makes it quite difficult for me to give football 100% commitment. So for now, I think I am just happy at the minute to be able to play the game, and that suits me just fine!