Dundalk FC striker Ciaran Kilduff has left the defending League of Ireland champions to move to American NASL side the Jacksonville Armada FC.
Kilduff, who scored 31 goals in 82 appearances for the lilywhites, including the match winner against Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the Europa League group stages, the first ever win for an Irish side in European competition, leaves Dundalk on good terms and reflects on his two years at club as the best of his career.
“It has been the best two years of my football career,” Kilduff told Dundalk’s official club website.
“There’s no other way to describe it. It has been the best dressing room, the best staff, best management team that I have been involved with. I have had some really great moments personally, individually and collectively as a team with the club.
“I have had some bad moments as well with some injuries too. It was eventful along the way.
“I am just really happy to have been a part of something which has been so great. There was so many great nights and moments for us. To be part of it is something that I will always be proud of.
“Dundalk has been an amazing story in Irish football in the last five-six years from where they came from to where they are now. I am just so happy and proud to have been part of it.”
Kilduff said that his move to the Armada was a ‘now or never’ opportunity for him and his family, and that he’ll be looking to try and emulate former Shamrock Rovers teammate Richie Ryan’s move from the Hoops to the NASL.
“For me, I will always look back at this as the greatest two years in Ireland,” added Kilduff.
“This is something which is completely out of left field. It is something which has interested me in maybe the last year or so if the opportunity came. I have a young family so the timing seems right for me.
“When my daughter gets a little older and gets to school going age things will have to change so I felt that this was a ‘now or never’ situation for me. Football in America is taking off. I am going over there to grasp it and try to further myself.
“I see players like Richie Ryan and players like that who have bettered themselves and furthered their careers.
“There is so much over there, so much room for progression over there. It’s not something I have taken lightly at all.
“It’s a lifestyle change and it is something that I have been open to for a while. It has just fallen for me at this time. It ticks a lot of boxes for me and I am excited to get going.”
Apollo 13 was the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space programme and the third intended to land on the Moon. The craft was launched on April the 11th 1970 from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida but the Lunar landing was aborted 2 days later following an oxygen tank explosion….
Fast forward 47 years and Kilcock Celtic senior footballers had a mission of their own to try and complete on a visit to a Moone of different sorts. Al Myles men faced division 2 side Moone Celtic in round 1 of the Lumsden League cup and after sharing 13 goals the away side finally returned home with their the name in the hat for round 2.
From the early stages of the first half to the later stages of the 2nd period of extra-time the Celtics were made to work hard for the result from Moone and according to Myles his side could have have easily lost the game.
Myles said; “On any other day we could have lost that game but we manged to battle on for the 110 minutes of the match and somehow came away with the result and a not such a safe passage into round 2”.
Despite the concession of 6 goals, Kilcock can be very thankful to goalie Aaron Stone who pulled off two great saves to keep out the Moone attack late on with the tie very much in the melting pot.
If Myles and his men want to progress any further in the League cup they will need to make a massive improvement, especially at the back and will also need to shut out the game when it is required.
Once again the mecurial Shane Fitzgerald was on the score sheet with a brace, while Mark Munnelly (2) and Remi Kareem (2) were also on target before Michael Shaw calmly slotted home a penalty in extra time to secure the win.
Apollo 13 was a failed mission all them years ago and Al Myles will be quick to bring his players back down to earth following such a mixed mission in Moone on Sunday but at the end of the day his side are through to the next round of the cup. In anyones language, that’s mission complete.