Larne teenager Michael McKenna made his first-team debut for Carrick Rangers on Saturday in the 2-0 win over Ballyclare Comrades, writes John Gillespie.
The 17-year-old was deployed at left-back by manager Gary Haveron and he produced an assured performance as part of the Taylor’s Avenue back four.
Haveron and his assistant, Steven Mills, first coached McKenna as an eight-year-old at Larne Youth and even then they spotted his potential.
“I always felt he was someone who was destined to go on and do really well,” Haveron said.
“He was really unlucky when, as a 15-year-old, he was backwards and forwards to Ipswich and unfortunately broke his ankle during the Milk Cup playing for County Antrim. The chance eluded him somewhat which was unfortunate.
“He played at Ballymena last year and we had no qualms about putting him in Saturday’s line-up.
“It’s great credit to him that we put him in at left-back and he’s a right-sided player - such is our faith in him.
“His defending, especially in the second half, was excellent.”