The footballers of Kilcock Gaa make a return to the Aldridge Cup this weekend for the first time since 2011.
The pre season tournent which is for senior championship teams in Kildare, will this year make a little bit of history by including a team from the Intermediate ranks, Kilcock.
Declan Gibbons’ men will take the place of Moorefield, who only last weekend lost out in the All-Ireland semi final to Corofin and who will feel they deserve a well earned rest.
Kilcock take their place on account of finishing 2017 as beaten Intermediate finalists to Raheens. Gibbons and his young side will see it as ideal preperation for the year ahead, with the quality of opposition sure to be a lot higher than they faced in recent years, starting with Naas on Saturday.
With the main pitch closed in Kilcock Gaa for the next few weeks, the game is likely to take place in the local secondary school, Scoil Dara.
Kilcock haven’t competed at the top table since they were relegated in 2011.
Aside from the men’s return to competitive action, the u17s also begin their season, while the ladies footballer’s take part in Na Fianna’s Winifred Dunne Memorial Tournament.
Shane Smullen’s Ladies start at 10am on Saturday with a game vs Na Fianna and they take on Carbury in their second game.
The aforementioned u17s get their league campaign underway against Athy down in Athy on Sunday.
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Kilcock have been drawn to play Monasterevan in the semi final of the Kildare Intermediate football championship.
Declan Gibbons men reached the last four after a 1-11 to 1-8 victory over Ballyteague in Hawkfield on Sunday evening.
A game that looked like it was going to be a routine win for the North Kildare men when they led 1-9 to 0-4 midway through the second half, turned into a nervous ending as Ballyteague rallied with a flutter of scores including a penalty. Willie Bright kicked a couple of late points to settle those nerves and put his team within one win of the county final.
Standing in their way though is a dogged but decent Monasterevan team who defeated Suncroft 3-10 to 0-11 in the last of this weekends quarter finals.
Kilcock avoided favourites Raheens, who were pitted against another useful side Clogherinkoe in the other semi final.
It’s a difficult one to call now, with little to seperate all four sides but one thing is for sure whoever does turn senior in the next few weeks will have worked hard for it.
I fancied Raheens from the start and after a diappointing loss to Kilcock in round 2, they bounced back with two impressive wins against Rathangan and St.Kevins. For that reason I am sticking with them to be playing in the senior championship in 2018.
Kilcock were last night drawn to face Kilcullen in round one of the 2017 Kildare Intermediate Football Championship.
Declan Gibbons’ men will face off against last years Junior A champions on the weekend of May 5th-7th.
Kilcock will once again be amongst the 3 or 4 teams that will be fancied to go all the way but they know all too well how difficult this rank can be, having failed to make it to the quarter finals in 2016 under the guidance of Willie Hughes.
Since the arrival of Gibbons, the landscape of the team has changed somewhat, with many of last years minors been given an opportunity to cement their place in the starting fifteen, while former county player Ciaran Fitzpatrick has moved onto pastures new with St. Judes in Dublin.
Gibbons and his management team will be looking for the likes of his son Jason, Daniel Courtney, Shane O’Rourke, David Duke and recent addition Conor Caufield from Cavan to help his side progress to the business end of the competition later in the year.
Check out the full 1st round draw below:
Cappagh: Elsewhere neighbours Cappagh have been drawn in Group A of the Tom Cross Junior A Football Championship alongside Rathcoffey, Caragh, Ballykelly and Rheban.
The men in red and white will strongly fancy their chances of progressing from this group and begin their quest to do so against Caragh.
Paul O’Brien produced a scintillating display at Kilcock Gaa on Monday night to ensure that Kilcock’s 2nd team got their Senior B division one league campaign off to a winning start against Celbridge.
The experienced, pacey forward hit a hat-trick of goals and also contributed two points as Padraic Carroll’s side got the better of their well fancied neighbours in their first game back in the top tier.
Two of O’Brien’s goals came in the first half, the second an unstoppable effort when one on one with the Celbridge net minder. Daragh McArdle netted the third and with points from the midfield duo of Chris McCarthy and Darren Byrne (2) along with an O’Brien free, the men in green and gold lead 3-4 to 0-4 at half time.
Kilcock took up where they left off upon the resumption and ended the game as a contest when debutant Conor Dewe Stokes tapped home a goal after some smart build up play from a number of his team mates including the star of the show O’Brien.
Celbridge rallied somewhat and struck two goals of their own but were dealt another blow when O’Brien completed his hat-trick to land Kilcock’s fifth. Further points from McArdle (3), Ronan Mulligan, Cian Mulhall (2), O’Brien, Byrne and substitute Michael Stokes wrapped up proceedings as Kilcock ran out eleven point winners, 5-13 to 2-11.
There was an added special moment on the night when Michael Stokes came on to play alongside Conor. It’s been a long time since there was a father/son combination on the field at the same time for Kilcock.
In addition it was clearly visible to see that many of the Kilcock lads were playing for their places in the upcoming SFL Div2 game at home to Johnstownbridge and there’s no doubting O’Brien will have caught Declan Gibbons’ attentions.
White smoke bellowed from the chimneys of Kilcock Gaa club tonight as Declan Gibbons was confirmed as the new manager of the mens Intermediate footballers.
Gibbons, who is a former senior footballer with the club and father of current county u21 player Jason, takes over from Willie Hughes and will have to work quick to prepare his charges for their opening game of 2017 on February 18th.
The Laragh native was heavily involved with the underage setup over the past few years so will be no stranger to the talent at his disposal, including the members of the 2016 minor league winning side, a team he was involved with.