Belfast Telegraph

Douglas 'heartbroken' with Kelvin defeat but ends career with a double

By Martin Mawhinney

He may well have played for Rangers, Linfield and Crusaders, but John Douglas says his three years at Tullycarnet has topped the lot.

It has been a physically draining fortnight for the 37-year-old captain and his team-mates, who have lifted the Junior Shield and Cochrane Corry Cup with victories over Kelvin OB in both Seaview finals, but crucially lost the first of their end-of-season league encounters with Kelvin to deny them the title.

Saturday's defeat was particularly difficult for Douglas to stomach, as he was left on the sub bench for the game after his large contribution in two demanding cup finals.

And speaking after the league defeat, he admitted: "That was heartbreaking. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed winning the two cups, but the league was the one we really wanted to win.

"The way I feel right now, I would swap the two trophies for that league title, but maybe, after I've had time to reflect on it and let it all sink in, I will feel differently about it."

Douglas will have plenty of time to do that, having announced that this will be his last campaign playing the game, as he looks ahead to a future in coaching the next generation.

It has been a unique and tantalising climax to the 2A campaign, with the four back-to-back head-to-heads giving a real cliff-hanger feel to the season. However, Saturday's result has now deemed tomorrow night's (Tuesday's) final encounter at Moat Park all but irrelevant.

The fact that the two sides have played each other so frequently over such a short period of time certainly added a dynamic to the weekend's fixture not usually seen in the Amateur League.

Douglas said: “After winning the two finals, we felt we might have a bit of a psychological advantage, but in saying that, you could see in the second one (the Cochrane Corry), they had done their homework from the first one, and it was a much closer match.

“Maybe this was just one game too far for us."

Incredibly, in a career that has seen him at Glenavon, Lisburn Distillery, Bangor and Ards, as well as his stints at Seaview and Windsor Park - not to mention his time in amateur football with Dromara Village, Sirocco Works and Albert Foundry - it is perhaps surprising that the only major honour he has collected at Irish League level has been a County Antrim Shield with Linfield.

Even still, it is a testament to how much he has been enjoying his football to see how highly he rates his time with the Dundonald-based outfit.       

He said: “This has probably been my most fulfilling season yet - we have done the double and had a good go at the treble. I have had three brilliant years here.

“I am over the moon with this season - they are a great bunch of players. We are all friends, we all stick together - we play as a team, we win as a team and we lose as a team."

In a remarkable two weeks, Tullycarnet have won twice and lost once so far... but Douglas hangs up his boots as one of the game's winners.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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