Kilduff named on NASL team of the week

Ciaran Kilduff has been named on the NASL team of the week for the second time since his move Stateside from Dundalk to Jacksonville Armada FC.

Kilduff was a shoe in for one of the positions upfront following his brace away to New York Cosmos last Sunday night. He has been named alongside another former League of Ireland player Eamon Zayed. The pair once played together at Shamrock Rovers.

The Armada’s new number 9, Kilduff, gave his side the lead in The Big Apple after just 13 minutes before doubling their lead just before half time. He was also joined on the team by his team mate Kalen Ryden at centre half.  

The Cosmos did put some dampner on the night for the big Kilcock man, fighting back from 3-0 down to snach a draw (3-3) in added time. 

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Kilduff Named NASL Player Of The Week

Kilcock’s Ciarán Kilduff recently joined the Jacksonville Armada FC, but he has certainly endeared himself to the club’s faithful in short order. The Irish forward has scored three goals in his last two games, including a pair of tallies in a 3-3 draw with the New York Cosmos on Sunday night. Kilduff was named North American Soccer League (NASL) Player of the Week for his two-goal performance, the league announced Monday.

Jacksonville jumped ahead of the Cosmos early in the club’s contest at MCU Park and it was Kilduff that led the charge. The native of Kilcock, Ireland, opened the scoring in the 13th minute. Jack Blake’s corner kick made its way through a crowd of bodies before Kalen Ryden headed the ball towards Kilduff. The Irishman’s effort came off the cross bar, but the ball bounced just over the line for the opening tally.

The forward showed his work rate away from goal to earn his second goal of the contest. He dispossessed Cosmos midfielder Danny Szetela and drove towards the goal before sending his low effort through goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck’s legs in the 41st minute. The 28-year-old now has three goals in four appearances for the club.

The action on the field, though, was certainly far from over in Brooklyn. Blake tacked on a third goal for the visitors in the 65th minute before a tremendous turnaround by the defending champions.

Javi Márquez pulled a goal back for New York in the 79th minute after a lovely chipped pass from the reigning NASL Golden Ball winner Juan Arango. Just ten minutes later, Eugene Starikov headed home a cross from Ayoze, who then played provider again deep into stoppage time. Ayoze found Juan Guerra, who cut in from the left and fired a shot that left Jacksonville goalkeeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell rooted to the spot.

While Jacksonville didn’t leave New York with all three points, Kilduff’s effort helped the club extend its road unbeaten streak to three games. Jacksonville currently sits in the final position for The Championship, the league’s four-team postseason tournament, which gets underway in November

Kilduff named on the NASL Team of the Week

Kilduff in action against New York Cosmos

Ciaran Kilduff has been named on the NASL Team of the Week following his side Jacksonville Armada FC’s 2-0 victory away to New York Cosmos on Sunday night.

Kilduff, who scored his sides’ second goal, was named in a front three on the leagues team of the week alongside two of his team mates, Caleb Patterson-Sewell in goal and Kalen Ryden in defence.

Kilcock man Kilduff was lining out in only his third game for the Florida State club and repaid his new manager’s faith by scoring his first goal for Jacksonville before half time, cementing their lead.

Armada have now won two of the three games Kilduff has been involved in, beating Indy Eleven FC 3-2 last week. 

This weekend’s return game with Indy has been re-scheduled due to the impending Hurricane IRMA. Stay safe Ciaran and all affected. 

Kilduff makes Jacksonville debut 30 minutes into Miami loss


Ciaran Kilduff was introduced to the home crowd sooner than he thought as Jacksonville Armada brought him on 30 minutes into their 1-0 loss against Miami FC at The Hodges Stadium on Sunday night.

Kilduff replaced the injured Tony Taylor in what turned out to be tough debut against the NASL Spring Season Champions.

Despite his sides extensive efforts including thirteen shots with four on goal, the Armada FC lost out and remain bottom of the table. 

Although they were unable to collect any points on Kilduff’s debut, head coach Mark Lowry remains positive.

“We dominated. That performance was superb against the best team in the league. It shows how good we are,” said Lowry. “That performance was almost perfect, we just lacked two or three goals. We keep doing that and we’ll start winning games.”

In the middle of the first half, Ciarán Kilduff made his first appearance for the Armada FC– just two days after arriving in Jacksonville. Tony Taylor went to the ground with an injury and Kilduff replaced him in the 30th minute.

“Losing Tony really hurt us [because] he was looking good and sharp around the box. I’m pretty sure he would have scored tonight,” said Lowry. “Unfortunately we lost Tony earlier than we wanted to.”

Kilduff had a chance after his new team mate Rebellón dribbled the ball past multiple defenders before cutting the ball to the Kilcock man whose shot went just left of the goal.

Despite the best efforts of Kilduff and Armada FC, Jacksonville could not find the net to equalize the, meaning Miami FC took all three points at Hodges Stadium.

Next the Armada FC will hit the road, as they travel to face Indy Eleven. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Indianapolis. The team will return home on Saturday, Sept. 9 for First Responders Night at Hodges Stadium.

 STARTING XI:

JAX (4-2-3-1): Patterson-Sewell, Ryden, Pitchkolan, Jerome, Rebellón, George (Johnson 82’), Blake, Banks, Shriver, Steinberger (Gebhard 65’), Taylor (Kilduff 29’)

MIA (4-3-2-1): Vega, Smith, Palmer, Bernstein, Borrajo, Rezende (Mares 60’), Ryan, Lahoud, Martinez (Freeman 74’), Chávez, Poku

ATTENDANCE: 

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Kilduff Looks Forward To American Adventure

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.”

A look at the Ireland’s four possible play-off opponents

After last night’s games completed the group stages of qualifying for next summer’s European Championships in France, Ireland now know that they will face one from Sweden, Ukraine, Hungary and Bosnia-Herzegovina in the play-offs.


Martin O’Neill’s men would have needed various results to go their way on Tuesday night to become a seeded team for Sunday’s draw but instead they will now have to compete against one of four tricky opponents if they are to join neighbours Northern Ireland, Wales and England in the land of wine and berets next summer.


Turkey struck late to snatch a 1-0 win against the already qualified Iceland to qualify as the best third-placed team, while Croatia stuttered to a 1-0 in Malta to also qualify automatically. However there was to be no such luck for a disappointing Netherlands side that lost 3-2 at home to 10-man Czech Rep, meaning they do not even make the play-offs this time around.


The play-off draw takes place this Sunday, with both legs of to come next month. We have a brief look at Ireland’s potential opponents below:



Euro 2016 Play-offs

Seeded Teams:

Sweden

Ukraine

Hungary

Bosnia-Herzegovina


Unseeded Teams:

Republic of Ireland

Norway

Denmark

Slovenia

Sweden: The men in blue and yellow finished 3rd behind an impressive Austria side and Russia, picking up only two points against the two in the process, going down 4-1 at home to Austria and 1-0 in Moscow. Of their ten games they won 5, drew 3 and lost 2. Whether they perform or not depends mainly on the mood of their main man Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The PSG man scored 8 of their fifteen goals in the group stages. Sweden faced the Irish in their unsuccessful qualifying campaign for the last World Cup, drawing 0-0 in Stockholm before coming away with a 2-1 win from Dublin.


Key Man: Ibrahimovic

FIFA World Ranking: 45th

Ukraine: A 1-0 loss at home to Spain in the final round of games meant Mikhail Ivanovich’s men had to settle for a play-off spot behind Spain and Slovakia. The men from Eastern Europe also suffered narrow 1-0 defeats in Spain and Bratislava, so they are not that far off the pace and would surely be the one the boys in green will be looking to avoid come Sunday’s draw. They are also the highest ranked team of the four seeded sides. Midfielder Andriy Yarmolenko is behind most things good when Ukraine turn on the style and with twenty goals to his name in fifty-two internationals it comes as no surprise that Jose Mourinho travelled to see him against the Spain the other night.


Key Man: Yarmolenko

FIFA World Ranking: 24th

Hungary: Hungary finished 3rd in what was perceived as one of the ‘weaker’ groups but try telling that to a Northern Ireland fan!! They clinched the play-off spot with consummate ease ahead of Finland, the Faroe Islands and a very, very disappointing Greek side but were nudged out of the 2nd automatic spot by Romania. To give the Hungarians credit at one stage during the final weekend of games it looked as if they would qualify as the best third-placed team but, only to be pipped at the post by Turkey on the final night. They will probably be the side that Martin O’Neill, his management team and players know least about and that in itself can be a dangerous thing. After all, there will be no ‘easy’ draw for this Irish team. They’ve come a long way from the side that lost 8-1 to the Netherlands two years ago and do have some names familiar to followers of the English leagues. Bogdan, Zera, Nemeth and Priskin to name a few but none to get too worried about. However they are twenty-one places above the Republic in the World Rankings!!


Key Man: Dzsudzsak

FIFA World Ranking: 33rd

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Any side that Edin Dzeko can’t force his way into must be half decent right? Well I suppose it depends how you rate the former Man City player!! The Bosnians had to settle for 3rd spot behind the new world number ones elect Belguim and Gareth Bale, sorry I meant Wales. It was their form early on in the qualifiers that proved their downfall, failing to win in their first four games (including a 2-1 home defeat to Cyprus in the opener) before finally brushing the mighty Andorra aside 3-0. They went on to win four of their next five games, falling only to table-toppers Belguim. Like the other three seeded teams, Ireland won’t fancy getting them but they have to draw someone and if it isn’t Hungary, Bosnia could be next in line. They have plenty of house-hold names such as Begovic, Pjanic and Besic and prior to the World Cup in Brazil last year (where they failed terribly) they were lauded for their excellent style of play. If they click they could give the Irish the run around.


Key Man: Pjanic, Dzeko (if given the chance)

FIFA World Ranking: 30th

What needs to happen from tonight’s Euro 2016 Qualifiers for Ireland to become a seeded team in the play-offs?

After many days of results going for and against the Republic of Ireland in their bid to become one of the seeded teams for the European Championship play-offs, it all comes down to tonight. The word permutations has been thrown around more than a Conor Murray pass in Cardiff and the mathematicians have been brought in to sort it out at times. Thankfully, things have started to sort themselves out and we’ll know our faith, in terms of seeding by 9:30 tonight. The final round of group stage qualifiers take place and Ireland’s seeding hopes rest in the hands of the likes Turkey, Croatia and Cyprus.

After Ireland’s loss to Poland, there was still a multitude of possibilities concerning the teams that would join us in the play-offs. After Monday’s results, that’s cut down significantly. 

Ukraine, Sweden and Slovenia joined Ireland, Denmark and Hungary as third place finishers. Ukraine’s 1-0 loss at home to Spain now means it’s almost certain that Hungary will get automatic qualification as best third place finishers. So that means there’s three groups left to be decided tonight.

Group A

Teams P W D L F A +/- Pts
Iceland Iceland 9 6 2 1 17 5 12 20
Czech Republic Czech Republic 9 6 1 2 16 12 4 19
Turkey Turkey 9 4 3 2 13 9 4 15
Netherlands Netherlands 9 4 1 4 15 11 4 13
Latvia Latvia 9 0 5 4 6 18 -12  5
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan 9 0 2 7 6 18 -12  2


As bad as they’ve been we don’t want the Netherlands to leapfrog Turkey into third spot. Turkey face Iceland at home tonight while the Dutch host the Czechs. Turkey are behind us in the rankings as things stand but they would go ahead of us with a win so a draw between Turkey and Iceland is what’s needed.

Group B

Teams P W D L F A +/- Pts
Belgium Belgium 9 6 2 1 21 4 17 20
Wales Wales 9 5 3 1 9 4 5 18
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina 9 4 2 3 14 10 4 14
Israel Israel 9 4 1 4 15 11 4 13
Cyprus Cyprus 9 4 0 5 14 14 0 12
Andorra Andorra 9 0 0 9 4 34 -30  0

Cyprus to beat Bosnia would be ideal for Ireland here. The two teams face each other in Nicosia tonight and it could be winner takes all depending on Israel’s clash with Belgium. It’s anyone but Bosnia in terms of Ireland’s hopes of a seeded spot so a win for Cyprus would be the best option for us.


Group H

Teams P W D L F A +/- Pts
Italy Italy 9 6 3 0 14 6 8 21
Norway Norway 9 6 1 2 12 8 4 19
Croatia Croatia * 9 5 3 1 19 5 14 17
Bulgaria Bulgaria 9 2 2 5 7 12 -5  8
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan 9 1 3 5 7 16 -9  6
Malta Malta 9 0 2 7 3 15 -12  2

Italy vs Norway is the big one here. A win for the Italians and Croatia beating Malta would see Norway (ranked below us) drop into third and Croatia (ranked above us) gain an automatic qualification spot.


So where does all that leave Ireland? As things stand the seedings would look like this:

Seeded: Ukraine (9), Croatia (13), Bosnia (14) and Sweden (18)  

Unseeded: Denmark (20), Ireland (21), Turkey (25) and Slovenia (28)

That means we need two teams to drop out of the seedings and none to jump in (other than Ireland of course). In other words we need all of the following to happen.

Group A: We need Turkey and Iceland to draw.

Group B: Cyprus to beat Bosnia or Cyprus and Bosnia to draw and Israel to beat Belgium.

Group H: Italy to beat Norway and Croatia to beat Malta.