Address: Carrickfergus, County Antrim, BT38 7HL
Telephone: 0771 3103746
Pitch Size: 105 x 68 yards
Pitch Type: Artificial 3G
Club Nickname: The Gers
Year Ground Opened: To be advised
Home Kit: Amber and Black
The town of Carrickfergus is a well-known tourist destination, largely thanks to its Norman Castle and modern harbour. The football stadium lies one mile to the east of the town centre, and sits uncomfortably between the Belfast to Larne railway line, a number of training pitches and a hospital complex. Because of its surroundings, access to the ground is limited to one side,the Taylors Avenue End where a tall breezeblock wall is punctuated by colourful artistic silhouettes on a painted background, alongside a bold modern text rendition “share a passion, share a dream, share a community, share a future” flanking the club crest in the colours of amber and black. The main entrance /exit gates and turnstiles can also be found on this side. Entering through the turnstiles spectators arrive behind the goal on a flat expanse of concrete. Looking to the left a flat expanse of concrete leads to a fenced off area-this is the site of the former Social Club, which was destroyed in a fire at the end of 2010.
Looking to the far end of the ground, with the tall spire of Carrickfergus church in the background is a low covered terrace which is given to away fans. Looking to the right the tall and narrow Main Stand sits on the pitch centre line, with two sets of concrete steps leading up to a raised tier of 750 blue and grey seats. The low roof is supported by a number of columns, but with glazed screen ends the stand does nevertheless keep the wind and rain out on most occasions, however, the roof line does not extend to cover the flat standing paddock in front of the stand. A cosmetic change was made at the ground a couple of years ago, resulting in the external walls of both the Main Stand and indeed the rear wall of the Taylors Avenue terrace being painted black to compliment the club’s Amber and black home colours. To the far right of the main stand, leading back to the Taylors Avenue end are two low buildings, the tea hut and toilet block. The ground is noticeable for retaining its concrete pitch perimeter wall-now painted black of course, thankfully this no longer supports intrusive fencing. However, the fences have been kept in a position immediately to the rear of the dug outs in front of the Main Stand, as well as behind the goal at the away end. The ground at present is complimented by four floodlight poles on the Main Stand and former social club sides. The stadium also has an artificial 3G playing surface.
In 2015 the Taylors Avenue ground was renamed the Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena, in a corporate sponsorship deal.
Away fans are allocated the Carrickfergus End, which is a low covered terrace running from corner post to corner post. There is currently no crush barriers on the steps, however the view from the top of the steps at the rear of the stand is sufficient to see over the tops of the fencing behind the goal and fans huddled at the rear of the stand should be able to take shelter from wind and rain and get a good atmosphere going.
There is a Social Club at the ground itself, which is a good thing as there are no pubs or bars in the immediate vicinity of the stadium. Otherwise it is probably best to stick to Carrickfergus town centre before arriving at the Taylors Avenue ground.
From the East
Follow the A2 from Larne and Whitehead towards Carrickfergus. Go through the centre of Carrickfergus and about half a mile before the castle in the distance on your left, turn right into Taylors Avenue. Follow the road bridge over the railway line and the ground is directly in front of you.
From the West
Follow the A2 from Newtownabbey and Greenisland. Once in Carrickfergus continue past the castle and town centre than after half a mile take a left turn into Taylors Avenue, follow the road bridge over the railway line and the ground is directly in front of you.
There is a small car park inside the ground between the social club and the away covered terrace, but parking is limited to Taylors Avenue and outside the grounds of Barn United FC.
The closest railway station is Downshire which is located just over half a mile away from the Taylors Avenue football ground. It is served by trains from Belfast Central and Larne Harbour. Services are every half hour on a Saturday afternoon, and every hour on a weekday evening.
Carrickfergus Joymount Bus stop is just off the High Street and can be reached by Ulsterbus 563 from Belfast Bridge Street. There is no direct link to Carrickfergus from Antrim or Ballymena-all services run into Belfast Europa Bus Station.
Directions from Downshire Railway Station to the ground
Around a ten minute walk. As you exit the station entrance turn left along the coast road. Take the second right (where Hazel's Newsagents is on one corner) into Taylors Avenue. Follow the road up and over the railway bridge and you will see the ground immediately over on your left.
Directions from the Joymount bus stop to the ground
Around a 15 minute walk. Walk away from the town centre and castle along the A2 Marine Highway waterside footpath. After 10 minutes walk take a left turn into Taylors Avenue. After five more minutes the road leads over the railway line, take the footbridge over the railway and the ground is directly ahead of you.
Official Matchday Programme £2.
Larne and Ballyclare Comrades are the nearest local rivals, with North Belfast clubs Crusaders and Cliftonville being the nearest Premier League rivals.
2017-2018: 412 (Northern Ireland Premiership)
2016-2017: 490 (Northern Ireland Premiership)
2015-2016: 514 (Northern Ireland Premiership)
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If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, then please e-mail me at: [email protected] and I'll update the guide.
Special thanks to Owen Pavey for providing the photos and stadium layout plan of Taylors Avenue Carrick Rangers.
Carrick Rangers v Crusaders
Tuesday 6th February 2018, 7.45
DMac (Crusaders fan)
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