With Irish League football left playing the waiting game due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sunday Life has delved into the archives and, in the third of a new summer series, Alex Mills catches up with former Crusaders, Glentoran, Bangor, Ballymena United and Ards midfielder Darren Lockhart, who is now a director at Box-it Ireland, regular generous sponsors at a selection of grounds across the country.
Your most thrilling footballing memory?
This may be a strange one, but it was a Steel & Sons Cup Final win for East Belfast against Linfield Swifts in 1992. I scored the winner. We were big underdogs and everyone thought we were in for a hiding.
I was only 18 and I hadn't played for years because of injury and that was my first season back, so to score the winner on Christmas Day was awesome.
Of course, I had some great times at Crusaders and Glentoran.
Ironically, the hat-trick I scored for the Crues against the Glens, the team I supported as a boy, was a big highlight.
Glentoran had a good young side that included Stuart Elliott and Andy Kirk, but we beat them 4-1 at The Oval. I remember running the length of the pitch to score the third goal.
Then, when I was with the Glens, the 2001 Irish Cup Final win against Linfield was memorable because Windsor Park was packed to the rafters.
I had all my family in the crowd. That made it special.
Your worst moment?
It was the defeat by Coleraine in the 2003 Irish Cup Final.
The significance of the result is that it denied us the chance of achieving a clean sweep of trophies.
We had already won the Shield and League Cup before wrapping up the League title.
It was a grey, miserable day and Jody Tolan scored the winner for them.
We were denied a stonewall penalty when Packie McAllister caught me on the back of my calf.
I totally lost my way after that and I was hauled off at half-time. I had lost my discipline and my temper had gone.
We had such a good season up until the very last day. In fact, having won the League title with a few games to spare, the gaffer (Roy Coyle) rested a lot of us in preparation for the Final.
For some reason, we were not just as sharp going into the Final. Yes, we may have had three trophies on the shelf, but after all our hard work and graft, it was a massive anti-climax for us.
It was a hard one to take because we could have made our own little piece of history.
Most difficult opponent?
When I was with Crusaders, Pete Batey (Glentoran) was always difficult to play against. He was a very fit boy. Whenever you got away from him in midfield, you could bet that he would come back, snapping at your heels. He was also strong in the tackle.
Pat McAllister was also an aggressive type of player.
Those were the days you could tackle from behind and players got away with a lot more.
You were prone to an elbow in the face from time to time. I got many of those.
Against guys like Batey and McAllister, you literally had to protect yourself. If you didn't put your arms up to protect yourself, you would have had a nice shiner the next day.
One of the most technically gifted players was Paul McAreavey of Linfield. He'd a sweet left foot and had good vision - a really good player.
Person who was your biggest influence?
Undoubtedly my mum, Irene - she gave me great encouragement, especially at a young age.
Most of the boys I played with all got to know my mum because they used to go to our house on a Saturday for a bowl of soup.
She was always buying me new boots when I was a kid.
Most people opt for their father or football coaches for influence, but my mum was definitely by far my biggest inspiration and supporter.
No matter how poorly I played, I never had a bad game in my mum's eyes.
If we happened to be beaten by Linfield, she would have said, "that big brute David Jeffrey", which was hilarious.
When I was 14 years of age, I sustained a bad injury and didn't have the right people around me to receive the proper treatment.
I picked up the injury playing for Northern Ireland Schoolboys. I played off and on for a few years, but I had no one to direct me. It was a critical period for me.
I was involved with the Manchester United Academy and there was a scout from Southampton interested in signing me.
But after I sustained my back injury, I ended up in hospital with weights on my legs. It seemed to go on for months and months. Unfortunately, I drifted away from football for a while after that.
Anyone will tell you those are critical years of your development. I have seen so many players receive the proper coaching at that age and go on to have good careers.
Then, later in my career, when I was at Glentoran, a move to Ayr United fell though, but my wife, Lisa, was expecting our second child and everything was so handy for us over here, so I suppose I took cold feet when it mattered.
What would you change to make the Irish League more appealing?
It would be nice to see more investment to help clubs improve facilities.
Wouldn't it be nice to see more compact, comfortable stadia throughout the league, even if they only hold three or four thousand people?
Windsor Park is a fantastic venue, especially when it is full of fans for an international game, but it's not the same when there are only two or three thousand there for a local game.
On the pitch, I think we really have a good product.
Before the lockdown, I thought the League was shaping up for an exciting finish.
Although Linfield had built up a bit of a lead, at one time five clubs were in the title hunt.
There is no doubt games are now better and more exciting and I think that is all coming from the full-time approach that so many teams are now adopting.
You can see the improvement in teams like Glentoran, Crusaders, Linfield and Larne.