Belfast Telegraph

Kieran Harding is fired up for new challenge at Carrick Rangers

By Graham Luney

Kieran Harding's appetite for the game clearly hasn't diminished despite the nightmare end to his time at Portadown.

Ronnie McFall's right hand man for nearly 20 years will never forget the turbulent 2015-2016 campaign at Shamrock Park, as the legendary boss quit the stage.

The Ports nightmare escalated when the club received a 12-point deduction in next season's Irish Premiership for a registration breach involving player Peter McMahon.

The club were fined £5,000 for a similar breach involving Gary Twigg and also had a transfer embargo imposed until next June. Relegation was avoided but you expect Harding to carry mental scars from the experience. Rather than looking back in anger, however, he's relishing his first managerial role with Carrick Rangers.

"Those things can happen but they are out of your control," said Harding. "Administrators will do their work but what has not changed from my perspective is the enjoyment I get through working with players.

"I had been with Ronnie for nearly 20 years and worked with senior players in all aspects of managing the team and now the time has come for me to go it alone rather than play a supporting role. I can't wait for the season to start as there has been a lot of uncertainty about which league the club was going to play in and when we start playing football again we will see where we are at.

"The relegation worries have been left behind and we will look to the future in a positive manner. This is an ambitious club and while it is a competitive league we must prove we belong here and can compete."

Carrick's first home clash is scheduled for next Wednesday when champions Crusaders are the visitors and it will be the first test for the new surface after last season's drainage woes which gave the club a horrendous fixture headache.

Belfast Telegraph


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