Carrick Rangers get green light to play on home pitch
Carrick Rangers' hopes of a prolonged stay in the Danske Bank Premiership have received a major boost after the Irish FA granted the club a licence to play at their Taylors Avenue home.
When Carrick were last in the top flight back in the 2011-12 season they were forced to play their 'home' fixtures at Crusaders' Seaview ground and ended up being immediately relegated after finishing bottom of the league.
They were set to renew that ground-share agreement with the Crues before Taylors Avenue was given the green light to host top flight football again after a gap of 20 years.
Now Gary Haveron's newly promoted side can look forward to welcoming Linfield and Glentoran in the first week of the season, after a trip to Dungannon Swifts in their opening game on Saturday August 8.
"This is great news, not only for Carrick Rangers supporters, but for the town of Carrickfergus as a whole," said Carrick vice-chairman Adam Simpson.
"For the first time in 20 years we will be able to welcome top flight opposition to our home.
"Our home record (in the Championship) last season was impeccable, winning all but one fixture, and we hope that a positive home campaign again will bode well for our return to the Danske Bank Premiership.
"It is important to thank every single individual who has helped make this a possibility, including the volunteers who have dedicated their time and effort religiously in recent months."
Haveron has signed a handful of players with Premiership experience in a bid to establish his team in the top division.
Gary Browne, Mark Miskimmin and Joe McNeill have signed from Coleraine, while Mark Surgeoner has joined from Ballymena United and Chris Keenan from Larne.