Flood: Time right for new challenge

Paddy Flood
Paddy Flood

Goalkeeper Paddy Flood says he leaves Ballyclare Comrades with nothing but good memories after he agreed a move to Championship 1 rivals Larne.

The 24-year-old, widely regarded as one of the most consistent keepers in the Irish League’s second tier, made 178 appearances for the Dixon Park outfit.

He arrived at Inver Park as replacement for John Connolly who quit the club last month.

Flood (right) made his debut for Ballyclare as a teenager in the 2006-07 campaign, and follows Andrew Doyle (Carrick Rangers) and Kyle Buckley (Ards) out the exit door at Ballyclare.

While he is relishing a new challenge under Inver boss Davy McAlinden, he admitted it was a difficult decision to walk away from Ballyclare.

“After talking to Davy and hearing what he had to say, and what his plans were for me and the club over the next year or two, Inver Park was the only place I wanted to be,” he said.

Paddy Flood in action for Ballyclare Comrades. Photo: Presseye

Paddy Flood in action for Ballyclare Comrades. Photo: Presseye

“I’m gutted to be away from Ballyclare. It has been a big part of my life and I’ve met some great people. I’ve played under a lot of different managers and, as a team, we’ve had some ups and downs but I enjoyed every minute of it. It’s hard to leave but I feel the time is right to try a new challenge.”

Flood picked last season’s 1-0 win over Linfield as his most memorable game but also highlighted the togetherness of the 2013 Championship 2 promotion-winning squad as as something that will stick with him for a long time to come.

“My most memorable game at Ballyclare has to be beating Linfield in the League Cup last season. We’ve had some amazing times. Beating Knockbreda away in Championship 2 when they had been unbeaten all season meant we went into the last game against Armagh City knowing that if we won we would go up.

“Securing promotion back to Championship 1 was amazing because everyone wrote us off and said once we went down there would be no chance of us coming back up. But the players stuck together and Eddie (Hill) made a couple of brilliant signings which got us over the line. That was a big relief to everyone because a club like Ballyclare deserves to be playing in Championship 1.

“I joined when I was 16 and Jamesy Kirk was there and he was the one who gave me my debut. From day one I’ve had nothing but support from everyone at the club. Really, I have nothing but good things to say about a club which is close to my heart.”