| 1.1°C Belfast

Carroll plays down wonder save on his Swifts return



Roy Carroll

Roy Carroll

Freddie Parkinson

Roy Carroll

'It was lucky,' Roy Carroll smiles in an understated manner. In truth, it was anything but.

The former Manchester United and Northern Ireland goalkeeper stole the headlines on Tuesday night as he pulled off a wonder-save to lead his new side Dungannon Swifts to their first win of 2021.

Carroll signed for the Swifts last week and was thrown straight into the starting line-up for the trip to Ballymena United as his new side looked to end a run of five straight defeats, in which 16 goals had been conceded.

Now aged 43, and more than two years since his final appearance for Linfield in January 2019, Carroll excelled once again, keeping a clean sheet as Dungannon ended Ballymena's run of eight games unbeaten.

Having precious little to do for much of the game, Carroll stayed alert to save a one-on-one from United's on-loan Celtic attacker Ben Wylie in the first half, but it was as the match wore on that he enjoyed his starring moment.

As the ball fell to Joshua Kelly on the edge of the box, the Ballymena midfielder couldn't have connected with his half-volley any sweeter. It was destined for the bottom corner only for Carroll to somehow dive low to scoop the ball clear with his outstretched right hand.

He got his just reward seconds later when Rhyss Campbell fired in the winning goal.

"It was one of those saves, you dive to your right, hope you get your hand to it and the ball flies wide or over the crossbar," said Carroll.

"You might lose a bit of pace or get a bit of stiffness in the legs after the match but you don't lose that knowledge of the game. You see that when the older boys come back and they still have it upstairs.

"It was just nice to make it, keep us in the game and luckily enough the lads went up the other end of the pitch to win the game.

"It's just brilliant to get the gloves and the boots back on. I want to try and help these young lads at Dungannon - that's the main thing - but of course I won't hide the fact that it's nice to keep a clean sheet.

"There are a lot of things going on in the world with the pandemic and my goalkeeping schools back been closed down for a long time," he explained. "I've just said, 'what can I do to keep myself active', especially mentally. Playing for Dungannon is helping me to push myself on."

Belfast Telegraph