For many people Carrick Rangers will always be associated with the golden days of the mid-70s when, as a ‘B’ Division side, they lifted the Irish Cup with victory over Linfield at Windsor Park before going on to defeat Aris from Luxembourg in the European Cup-Winners’ Cup and only coming unstuck against Southampton in the following round but even then managing to find the net three times.
However, as significant as those glory days are, the East Antrim side are much more than that with a history stretching back over 80 years.
Formed in 1939, the ‘Gers enjoyed some post-WW2 Amateur League success before being admitted to the old ‘B’ Division towards the end of the 1950s, going onto lift the title for the first time at the end of the 1961/62 campaign along with the prestigious Steel & Sons Cup.
But that success was just a taster of what was to come a decade later.
The 1970s produced several league titles, back-to-back Intermediate Cup victories and, of course, that famous Irish Cup triumph and the subsequent foray into Europe.
Granted a place in the senior ranks during the early part of the 80s, Carrick reached another Irish Cup decider only to end up on the losing side on this occasion.
The top flight proved to be a challenge with Carrick invariably ending up at the wrong end of the table although there was a bit of purple patch when the Co. Antrim Shield was claimed during the 1992/93 campaign followed by a third Irish Cup final appearance a couple of years later, although Linfield eventually exacted revenge for the ’76 upset.
Since the advent of promotion and relegation Carrick have spent most of their time in the second tier, although this has ensured Taylors Avenue faithful have enjoyed several very fruitful periods of success.
The 2010/11 campaign produced a League/Intermediate Cup double but, remarkably, this was surpassed just four seasons later when both trophies were again claimed in addition to the Steel & Sons Cup to complete a remarkable treble.