Without doubt one of the best players to ever turn out for Carniny Amateur & Youth FC was Antrim lad, Josh Carson and to date he is the first and only player from the club to go on to represent his country and gain full international caps.
Josh, who comes from a footballing family, started his footballing career at local side Antrim Rovers before his father Glynn, who was a friend of Carniny coach Billy O'Flaherty, was encouraged to bring him to the Ballymena club where he spent a few seasons although he also played for St Andrews club in Belfast which was permitted at that time. Whilst at Carniny he was coached by Scotsman Tommy Stewart, Robin Parke as well as O'Flaherty and he enjoyed a successful time winning a league and several cups playing in a good youth side with some well known now current junior/intermediate players.
A particular memorable time at the club was playing in the Pepsi Invitational Cup at Windsor Park where they finished winners of the tournament not only undefeated but didn't concede a goal in illustrious company against many of the best youth teams and Irish League Academies in the country.
When asked about his memories of Josh as a youth player Tommy Stewart said, ' Josh was a good trainer, had a good touch with quick feet, was sensible about his diet and was well behaved and good mannered. His father without doubt was a good influence on him and everyone had a good word for him!' At that time he was also part of a Carniny squad who were guests of Norwich City for a long weekend and who were managed by Ballymena man Nigel Worthington. Tommy went on to say, ' several clubs were interested in him across the water and it was no surprise that he would eventually make the move.'
After his time with Carniny he joined Greenisland before joining English side Ipswich Town and it wasn't long before he broke into their 1st team. Whilst at Ipswich he helped Carniny organise a visit to the 'tractor boys' through former N.Ireland International and head of Ipswich Academy, Sammy Morgan. During the visit the Carniny kids not only visited the clubs Academy but attended the 1st teams game against Millwall. Around that time he met up again with Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington who gave him his first cap against the Republic of Ireland which was the first of his four caps. From Ipswich he then went to York City joining up with Worthington again who had taken on a club role at the north of England club. His next move was back to Northern Ireland joining Linfield FC for a season before moving to his present club at Coleraine FC.
When asked about what his future hopes would be Josh would say he hopes to continue to progress and do well and go down in the clubs history like so many of their former players! Carniny club secretary Billy O'Flaherty would say, ' Josh frequently attends our club functions and was always generous with gifts to our club. He is someone we are always proud to call at Carniny one of our own.'