HomeFootballChris Curran: I’m bowing out after my finest hour with Cliftonville

Chris Curran: I’m bowing out after my finest hour with Cliftonville


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The tears were flowing at the finish in this poignant moment as he walked off into the sunset with a golden memory.

Former Ballinamallard United midfielder Curran won the 2014 league title in his first season with the north Belfast club and in his 440th and final game for the Reds finally got his hands on this prestigious trophy.

Chris Curran with the Irish Cup after his final game for Cliftonville

The ex-Manchester United youngster, who skippered Cliftonville to League Cup glory in 2022, was on an emotional roller coaster on Saturday but the final act of his more than a decade of service to the club was a perfect way to bow out.

He came off the bench to help Jim Magilton’s side through extra time as they clinched their first Irish Cup since 1979.

“I was bowing out anyway, regardless of the result, but it’s a perfect ending,” said the 33-year-old.

“To win a league title in my first season was special and then there was a long gap to this Cup win. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

“This is a highlight for me. We have had a tough run in the Irish Cup while being successful elsewhere.

“You want to challenge for honours and expectations can lead to disappointment.

“After 11 years for me and 45 years for the club, this is a highlight.

“My leaving hasn’t sunk in yet and mightn’t for a while but it hasn’t been a snap decision, I was contemplating it last season and am so happy I hung in for another year and Jim (Magilton) invited me back.

“I have the rest of my life to look back on this day and my time with this unbelievable football club.

“When you play for Cliftonville it gets into your blood. Solitude is a special place to play and it’s hard to describe this feeling.

“I will take a break and hopefully go to America.”

Cliftonville’s Chris Curran in action in the Irish Cup final

In July, 2013, Curran made his Reds debut against Celtic and nearly 11 years later he signs off with an Irish Cup Final win over Linfield.

Curran replaced Conor Pepper near the end of normal time and helped the Reds finish the game strongly.

“It’s tough to play a substitute’s role and I feel like a supporter when I’m watching the game,” he added.

“You should be zoned in but it’s the Irish Cup Final and I’m a glorified supporter.

“I felt we looked nervy and Linfield looked like a winning machine who were going to grind out a win again.

“I was worried about us but we showed towards the end of the first half we were improving and in the second half we went through the gears.

“When I got the call I had to be ready, but it is hard to get up to the speed of a game like that.

“Rory (Hale) is a leader in his own right, he can be a future captain and he has things under control.

“In the end there was just relief.”

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