The bragging rights are important but, even though he lives and works in Larne, Gary Haveron says the place in the hat for the sixth-round draw of the Irish Cup is all that really matters at Inver Park on Saturday.
“Winning derby games is something that is very special, of course it is. And this one is as important as they come right now, to everybody involved or supporting the two clubs at a time when the teams are going so well,” admitted the Carrick Rangers manager.
“Davy McAlinden has done an amazing job since he took charge of Larne, steering them away from the foot of the table and into a respectable position last season and carrying that on this campaign to be rightfully sitting up near the top of the table.
“He knows the Irish League upside down and inside out and his team just keeps on delivering the goods. They are playing with great confidence and I saw that when I watched them on Saturday against Dundela - a game they deservedly won 3-0 away from home.
“But we have been playing extremely well all season and are coming into the game on the back of a tremendous performance which saw us bring home the Steel and Sons Cup. So, we are bursting with belief as well.
“The fact that Larne are at home is obviously an advantage and they haven’t lost many games there over the last year. But we will feel quite comfortable playing there as well on what should be a terrific occasion.
“We have almost a full squad available. Miguel Chines will be back but Daniel Kelly is likely to miss out after being sent off on Christmas morning. That suspension was due to be served on Saturday, but the game against Distillery was off.
“Saturday was a lovely day and it was a pity the game was postponed, especially as we are now six games behind some of the clubs. With 16 weeks left, and us having 17 league games plus Irish Cup and Intermediate Cup commitments, it’s getting seriously congested fixtures-wise.
“The Taylor’s Avenue pitch was soft alright but 99% of it was okay, just one little patch a problem because of some surface water. Still, we are where we are and we will have to get on with it,” added the Carrick boss, insisting again that the result is everything this Saturday.