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Carrick's trophy-laden McCloskey adds another to his collection


Carrick Rangers midfielder Conor McCloskey

Carrick Rangers midfielder Conor McCloskey

Carrick Rangers midfielder Conor McCloskey

Carrick Rangers midfielder Conor McCloskey collected his third trophy of the month, when he picked up the BT Sports NIFWA Championship Player of the Month award for December.

McCloskey starred in Carrick's 4-1 win over Harland & Wolff Welders in the final of the Steel & Sons Cup, scoring the all-important third goal.

Reflecting on the last few weeks, McCloskey said: “I can't complain about winning three trophies in a month. I've won the Steel & Sons Cup, the Steel & Sons Cup final man-of-the-match and now the Championship Player of the Month.

“I'd like to thank the Football Writers and their sponsors BT Sports for this award. It really does mean a lot to me.

“The only disappointment is I didn't make it four! Aaron Smyth won Carrick's Player of the Month, but I'm happy to see him win that because he had a brilliant month and a brilliant cup final.”

Former Portadown man McCloskey admitted that playing on Christmas morning was a little odd, but it was all worth it in the end.

“The Steel & Sons Cup final was probably our best performance of the season. I don't think anyone could complain about the outcome. I can barely remember any chances that they had, if I'm being honest.

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“It was actually a bit weird playing on Christmas Day. It was really odd because I normally get up and open my presents with my family and then lounge around with my family until dinner is ready. Instead, I was getting my gear ready to go and play in a match.

“At the start of the game, there was hardly any atmosphere despite the big crowd because everybody was so nervous. Then when we took the lead, everyone relaxed and our big crowd created a brilliant atmosphere.”

McCloskey's cup final goal was a sensational curling 20-yard effort that bent into the top corner.

He explained: “I score the odd decent goal like that, but maybe only one a season. It was nice to produce one in a cup final.

“I saw I was up against my old friend Scott Davidson, who isn't a defensive player, so I decided to take him on. I got the better of him and then had a go from about 20 yards. Luckily for me, it flew into the top corner.”

Although Bangor lead the way and Ards are well-placed in second, McCloskey believes Carrick can still win the Belfast Telegraph Championship and promotion to the top flight.

“This is my third year at Carrick and this is the best squad we've had. Kyle Cherry is a top quality midfielder, Aaron Smyth is one of the best right-backs in the country and Miguel Chines is always a scoring threat. We've more depth and more talented then we've ever had before.

“We're way behind on fixtures but if we get a good run of fixtures with no postponements, I'm confident we can put a run together. I still think we can win the league.”

Carrick's next match is against Dergview at Darragh Park next Saturday.