By Kyle McClure
A 2-0 win against Lisburn side, Ballymacash Rangers was this week’s game that has made history for the Larne FC Women.
With the victory, the Inver Women have secured second place, at least, in the Championship and for the first time in the club’s history, promotion to the top flight.
Before we look to the future, a backstory on the club. The first Larne Ladies team which began in 2006, was first made up of a modest number of players, a bag of footballs and some cones for a kickabout, but as the club grew, and developed all the way until 2013 the team made their way to the championship. The club at large felt as though they couldn’t give their backing to it, as they did previously.
There was a feeling around the club, now was the time to reintroduce the women’s game to Inver Park, with the men’s team feeling the effects of much-needed investment. The team as we know it today was reformed and founded on 24th February 2018, under the management of William Noble, who had been involved with the club in prior years.
Starting from the bottom of the NI Women’s Football Association, the team proved they were not messing around with their foray into women’s football. With consecutive promotions for three seasons the team was hitting form on and off the pitch, with the wider club being redeveloped, the club’s games moved from The Cliff training facilities to Inver Park.
With COVID-19, like many leagues across the world, promotion was put on hold for the NIWFA Championship. So, despite their success, they were not to be rewarded with top-flight football. That has changed this week.
With the summer giving the players a workout, the team had to work hard for what they got in the first half, with Holly Robinson and Hollie Johnston supplying the necessary goals to put them 2-0 up at the break. In another tough second half, Ballymacash Rangers batten down the hatches, and were not giving Larne a chance, an odd flurry from the opposition got the best of the Larne defenders, but it was not going to be Ballymacash’s night.
Speaking after the game manager, William Noble described the vision for the club “The goal is promotion every season, with the end goal being Premiership, and it’s fantastic to bring it here to Inver Park”.
The ultimate goal of Premiership football has been reached but, as the history of the club suggests, the progress is unlikely to finish here.