Delight for Kenny Bruce as Larne continue their meteoric rise
Kenny Bruce’s passion for Larne Football Club and the wider community has always been at the forefront of his desire to bring success back to Inver Park.
Almost four years since his investment into the club it is bearing fruit on and off the pitch.
On Thursday night Bruce, along with 850 other loyal fans, were treated to a momentous occasion as they recorded a famous European victory over Aarhus, with one 76-year-old fans telling the club owner it was the “best day of his life”.
Bruce admitted he was “very emotional” after David McDaid’s opener, as he spoke of his desire to have more nights like this at Inver Park.
“It’s probably the biggest sporting highlight of my career. It was very, very emotional,” he said.
“I’m hoping that I’m going to have a few more nights better than this at Inver Park, but yeah this has certainly been the highlight so far.
“My nerve endings are slightly tattered after that, but I enjoyed it thoroughly.
“It’s fantastic the last three weeks in Europe have been an amazing experience for the football club and for the whole community.
“I absolutely believe we’re still firmly on a journey and we’ve a long way to go, and I think we’ll see many more of these nights to come.
“We just have to continue to enjoy it. The big thing is everyone pulling in the same direction.
“If every single person in the community is doing that then I think the world is our oyster in terms of what we can achieve here.”
Bruce is hoping to be able to travel to Denmark for next week's crucial second leg against Aarhus in the second round of Europa Conference League qualification, but he has thoroughly enjoyed the journey so far.
"It's fantastic the last three weeks in Europe have been an amazing experience for the football club and for the whole community...it's been remarkable," he said.
"The way that the whole community and the people of Larne the directors, the board, the volunteers, the players and coaching staff have got behind this journey and experience has been fantastic.
"They have been very humble and enjoyed every single second of it. It really has been quite inspiring.
"We've nothing to fear, we just have to go and enjoy ourselves next week. The players can be super proud of what they've achieved tonight."
Not only was it momentous night for Larne, but it was also a great night for the Irish League as Linfield also won their first leg tie.
Danske Bank Premiership clubs have raised the bar in Europe in recent seasons and Bruce feels the league can achieve so much more.
"I think the Irish League is a tremendous product and I think it can go much further than it is today," he said.
"If everyone works together the Irish League has a real strong ability to go way beyond what it's currently achieving."