Kildare County F.C. - People of Note

People of Note

Jimmy Dowling

Former player, secretary and chairman of Newbridge Town. He is currently the treasurer of Newbridge Town. Jimmy Dowling was responsible for coming up with the idea of the formation of an Eircom League team that all of Kildare could support, Kildare County.

Michael Casey

Michael Casey was one of those responsible for the formation of Kildare County. He resigned from his position in August 2009 as general manager and director of Kildare County. Casey stated that he has 'always been convinced that there is a place for a National League Club in the County Kildare region and have worked hard on many fronts to ensure the survival of the Club through good times and bad. I still hold the same opinion today'. His resignation came only two weeks after his daughter Regina also resigned from all her posts at the club.

Regina Casey

Regina was the clubs finanical controller since the clubs formation in 2002. Regina played a large role in insuring the club was successful in its yearly application for a First Division Licence. Her father Michael stated he 'was saddened recently to witness the resignation of Regina from all the posts she held within the Club. Regina dedicated an enormous amount of her time and skill to an extensive range of duties on behalf of the Club' in his own statement of resignation only two weeks after she had resigned.

Dermot Keely

Was appointed Kildare County's first manager leading the club to 5th position in their maiden season. Keely had previously been in charge of Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk, Shelbourne amongst others. Quite a lot of well-known managers have served under Dermot Keely down through the years. Alan Matthews (Longford Town), John Gill (Dundalk), Pat Fenlon (Shelbourne), Paul Doolin (Drogheda United) and Pat Scully (Shamrock Rovers) have all at one time or another served under Dermot Keely.

Dermot Keely was in charge of Kildare County until 21 July 2003 when he resigned from the club to take over Premier League outfit Derry City. Keely had been previously in charge of Shelbourne ( 1998–2002) guiding the club to two championships (1999–2000 and 2001–02) and one FAI Cup (2000). He also guided Shels to victory over Macedonian side Sloga Jugomagnat in the first round of 2000-01 Champions League qualifiers.

Under Keely Kildare County had played 47 games, winning 21, drawing 12 and were defeated in 14. Dermot was quoted as saying on his departure from the club that it had nothing to do with Kildare County but that the chance to manage Derry City was too big a chance to turn down. "I spent the whole weekend agonising over my decision and finally it came down to the fact that I will be able to reside in Donegal and also the chance to manage at the highest level - I have the greatest of respect for all at Kildare County and wish them all the best in the future and I am sure that they will replace me and continue to go from strength to strength – I have made a lot of good friends in Kildare and it will the second result that I will be looking for every week". Dermot Keely who had succeeded Kevin Mahon, tenure at Derry city was short however lasting less than a single season. Keely tendered his resignation to the Board of Directors stating that he didn't have what was required to secure the Brandywell club's position in the top flight following a 2-0 defeat to UCD. Keely had failed to pick up a single victory in the league with the clubs sole win in 12 games arriving in the FAI Cup third round 1-0 replay victory over Cobh Ramblers.

He took charge of Dubin City in 2005 leading the club to promotion to the Premier Division before they subsequently folded in the middle of the 2006 season causing some controversy within the league. It was the first time in the history of League of Ireland football that a club had folded mid season due to financial reasons. Dermot Keely blamed the Eircom Leagues move to summer football, "Who is going to these summer soccer games on the hottest days of the year? What crowds are we getting? All of this has been done to help get some good results in Europe but does that have to come at the cost of losing a club?" and was also quoted as saying that more dark days lie ahead. Keely returned to troubled club Shelbourne as their new manager two weeks before the start of the 2007 season.

Gavin Dykes

Gavin Dykes is best known for his eight seasons spent with Sligo Rovers. Dykes captained his home town club to an FAI Cup win in 1994 before moving to Derry City, winning a league title in 1997. Dykes then moved to Donegal based outfit Finn Harps playing there for three seasons and was also for player/manager. Gavin Dykes resigned as player/manager of at the time financially troubled Finn Harps after meeting with the board of the club in which he requested more money to strengthen the squad, but was told that further cutbacks were required. With the club already in real financial difficulty, Dykes resigned as manager and as a player at a time when the club were second from bottom of the Eircom League Premier Division. The clubs situation worsened when the players at the club requested that they be placed on the transfer list.

On his arrival to Station Road Gavin Dykes established himself as a fan favourite and can probably lay claim to being the inspiration behind the first chant from the Kildare supporters, "We love you Dykesy, cos you’ve got grey hair, we love you Dykesy, cos your everywhere…". Dykes further proved his popularity amongst Kildare supporters when he picked up the first ever Kildare County Supporters Club player of the month in October. A serious back injury led to Dykes retiring from playing in 2003 after almost 400 Eircom League games. He was then installed as assistant manager to Dermot Keely.

Gavin Dykes became the new manager of Derry City on 29 September 2003 after the resignation of Dermot Keely. Dykes resigned on 29 May 2004 shaking hands with his players in the dressing room before leavibg Derry City with the club at the time lying two points off the bottom of the eircom Premier Division. It was ironic that Dykes's reign ended against Drogheda United as Drogheda United were also the opposition that Dykes had faced in his first game in charge.

Gavin Dykes was also assistant manager at Newry Town for two years. He holds a UEFA A Licence and is currently manager of Castlebar Celtic and was named Mayo Manager of the Year for 2006. He managed both the senior team and Castlebar Celtics Eircom League Under 21 team for the 2007/2008 season. He stepped down as manager of both teams before the start of the 2008/2009 season.

John Gill

John Gill had started out in football as a player at Drogheda United where he spent most of his playing career. He did play for other clubs including Kilkenny City, Bray Wanderers and Sligo Rovers.

John Gill's debut in management was with Dublin junior side Lusk United. He later became Billy Walsh's assistant manager at Kilkenny City before taking up the same role alongside Dermot Keely at newly-formed Kildare County F.C. in 2002. His stay at Kildare was short however and he took over Dublin City in 2003 leading the club to the Premier Division. Gill resigned the following season however after a poor start in the league and a subsequent defeat to Division One outfit Monaghan United in the second round of the FAI Cup. Gill did not re-enter football management until the second half of the 2005 season with Athlone Town. He moved to Dundalk the following season leading the club to second in Division One. Under normal circumstances the club would have entered a play-off with the Premier Division team who had finished in second last position that season. However, the league was undergoing a reformation at the time and despite fulfilling this fixture and beating Waterford United the club were not allowed to enter the Premier Division due to the failure of the club to meet other criteria.

Gill has remained in charge for the 2007 season and signed a contract extension keeping him at Dundalk until the end of the 2009 season. He guided Dundalk to the First Division title in the 2008 season. The decisive game was ironically played at Kildare County with Dundalk requiring a win and Limerick 37 drawing or defeating title rivals and Dermot Keeley managed Shelbounre, John Gills manager at Kildare County in their maiden season. While Dundalk won it wasn't until the very end of the game that the Dundalk faithful could celebrate as Shelbourne had been leading in their fixture until the closing stages conceding a late equaliser. He resigned from Dundalk shortly afterwards.

Eric Hannigan

Eric Hannigan was appointed Kildare County's new manager after the departure of Dermot Keely and Gavin Dykes in 2003. Hannigan, who is from Kildare, was viewed by many supporters as a surprise choice for Kildare, particularly in the wake of the club being linked with several high-profile candidates including former Bohemians boss Pete Mahon and ex-Dundalk manager Martin Murray.

He is a former Shamrock Rovers and Shelbourne player Eric Hannigan. Hannigan is probably best known for his exploits at Junior level playing under Tony O’Connell at Tolka Rovers and then at Ashtownvilla. He was a member of the Ashtownvilla team that defeated Dundalk and Derry City in the famous run in the FAI Cup. Eric was also capped at Junior Level for Ireland and Represented Ireland as part of the Intermediate squad.

Eric had previously managed Kildare Town, Glenmore Celtic and the Glenmore Dundrum second squad before taking over at Kildare County. He appointed current Kildare County manager John Ryan as his assistant manager. Under Hannigan Kildare County narrowly missed out on a playoff spot against the second last team of the Premier Division in 2004, finishing fourth in a season where three teams were promoted to the Premier Division.

Manager Eric Hannigan and Kildare County parted ways at the end of the 2004 season despite the club achieving its highest finishing position in the league to date. John Ryan who had resigned as assistant manager two weeks earlier was appointed as manager with Barry O'Connor as player/assistant manager.

John Ryan

John Ryan played for Bray Wanderers in two different spells 1988–1991 and 1998–2001 scoring 44 goals in 145 appearances. John Ryan is probably best known for the hat-trick he scored while playing with Bray in the 1990 F.A.I. Cup final. It was the first FAI Cup Final to be played at Lansdowne was in 1990. That year a crowd of over 30,000 saw Bray Wanderers defeat non-league club, St. Francis, 3-0. John Ryan won two FAI Cup winners medals, First Division title in 1999/2000 and two Leinster Senior Cup runners-up medals in 1988/89 & 1989/90. John holds the club record at Bray Wanderers for most league goals in a season when he scored 16 goals in the 1989/90 season. He also shares the record of most goals scored in a season in all competitions: 20 goals. John set the record originally in the 1988/89 season before Kieran O’Brien equalled it in the 1995/96 season. John Ryan is Bray Wanderers fifth highest goalscorer of all time while his current assistant manager at Kildare County Barry O’Connor is the sixth highest goalscorer with 43 goals. Interestingly the positions are reversed for league goals with Barry having scored 38 as opposed to 34 for John.

John Ryan signed for Kildare County as a player in 2002. He became assistant manager to Eric Hannigan in 2003 having previously acted as caretaker manager for a single game after the departure of Dermot Keely and Gavin Dykes.

In 2004 Manager John Ryan was appointed coach to the Republic Of Ireland Eircom League Under-21 squad to compete in the Four Nations semi-professional tournament in Scotland. The side was managed by Bray Wanderers manager Pat Devlin. Frank O’Neill, Shelbourne's Under-21 manager was assistant manager. John Ryan was joined on the coaching staff by Stuart Ashton of Cork City.

Ryan decided to resign as Assistant Manager citing personal reasons in 2004 before being named as the clubs new manager two weeks later with former team mate Barry O' Connor as assistant manager. He led Kildare County to 8th position in Division One in his first season in charge, their lowest finishing position to date. Kildare County finished in 7th under his management in 2006 and 2007. Kildare Countys fortunes under John Ryan were to take a turn for the worse in 2008 with the club finishing on its lowest amount of points in a single season and bottom of the table (10th position) in a season where they was to be a promotion/relegation playoff against the top non league side from the A league, Mervue United. John Ryans reign ended shortly before the playoff as he shortly after the sides defeat to Sporting Fingal on 25 October 2008. Ryan will probably be sadly remembered as Kildare Countys most unsuccessful manager by the Thoroughbred fans, despite having a distinguished and successful playing career. He is currently manager of Leinster Senior League outfit St. Mochtas alongside former Kildare County player Martin Reilly.

Barry O' Connor

Barry O' Connor signed for Kildare County in 2003. He had previously played with Shamrock Rovers, Drogheda United, Shelbourne, Cliftonville and Bray Wanderers. He won the Irish League with Cliftonville in 1998 and then the FAI Cup and First Division with Bray. He won four Irish Under 21 caps scoring once. Barry made 75 appearances for the club between 2003-2005. He was named as John Ryan's assistant manager in 2004. He resigned as Kildare County's assistant following their 2-0 loss to Sporting Fingal on 25 October 2008 along with manager John Ryan.

Alan Byrne

He was awarded Supporters Club Player of the Year in 2005. The Kildare County midfielder was drafted into the Eircom League International squad in Aberdeen for the quadrangular tournament with England, Scotland and Wales in 2004. He made his 100th appearance for the club during the 2007 season becoming only the third player in the club's history to do so. He joined Shelbourne for the 2008 season.

Bryan Byrne

Bryan was signed by Kildare County by then manager Dermot Keely in the 2002/03 season from Castle Villa. He was awarded a sports scholarship that same season to the University of California, Santa Barbara in the United States. Byrne made a big impression in the College soccer scene with the Gauchos playing an integral part at midfield during his time winning the 2006 NCAA National Championship and also was co-captain of the side. Bryan Played 77 times adding 19 assists for his College and scoring eleven goals. Bryan was drafted by MLS the New England Revolution who are managed by former Liverpool player Steve Nicol in 2007. He was their 38th overall selection in the third round of the 2007 MLS SuperDraft. He made only a single appearance for the club and was released at the end of the season. He signed for Ventura County Fusion for the 2008 season.

Philip Byrne

Philip Byrne was signed from Shelbourne in 2004 by Eric Hannigan. He played for Belvedere winning national honours at Under-17 and Under-18 level before signing for Shelbourne at Under-21 level. Bryne had made several appearances for Shelbourne before his move to County. He became the second player in Kildare Countys short history to make 100 appearances during the 2007 season. He received the Supporters Club Player of the Year award in this debut season at Station Road in 2004. He was awarded The Canalsiders Branch of the Supporters Club Player of the Year in 2006. Bryne was named as Kildare County's captain for the 2007 season. Philip Bryne is the son of National League legend Damien Byrne. Philip departed Kildare County for Sporting Fingal before the start of the 2008 season.

Andrew Cousins

Andy Cousins (born 30 January 1985) was signed from Leeds United in 2005 by John Ryan. Cousins has numerous International caps at schoolboy level for the Republic of Ireland, figuring prominently at under 14 to the under 19 levels, under the management Vinny Butler, Brian Kerr and Sean McCaffrey. He was captain of the Irish youth team that won the youth Olympics in Spain in 2001 and also figured in the 2004 Porto Tournament in which Ireland finished runners-up. Cousins made 20 appearances for Kildare County before moving to Monaghan United at the end of the 2005 season. His stay there was short however as Cousins moved to Premier Division team Bray Wanderers during the 2006 season. He also had a spell at Shamrock Rovers in 2004. He returned to Monaghan United during the 2007 season. His brother Tony Cousins also had a distinguished career and was care taker manager at Kildare County following the resignation of John Ryan towards the end of the 2008 season. He was appointed manager of Newbridge Town for the 2008 season. He resigned in 2009.

Trevor Croly

Trevor Croly joined the coaching staff of Kildare County under current manager John Ryan in 2005. Previously Croly had played at right back with Shamrock Rovers in the 2004 season before retiring from playing at the end of the 2004 season. Croly had also played for Drogheda United and St Patrick's Athletic. Croly was appointed as defensive coach at Bohemians in March 2006. He was appointed as Longford Town manager Alan Matthews assistant manager during the 2007 season. He was released from Longford at the end of the 2007 season. He moved to St. Patricks Sthletic becoming a member of John McDonnells coaching staff for the 2008 season and was named as Michael O'Neill's assistant manager at Shamrock Rovers on Christmas Eve for the 2009 season.

Gareth Cronin

Wing-back Gareth Cronin was signed by Dermot Keely in 2003 from Cork City. Cronin had made over 400 appearances for Cork City in two different spells and had also played for Shamrock Rovers. Cronin had also been on the books of Sunderland, Bradford City and Doncaster Rovers in the early-’90s. Gareth Cronin has played for the Republic of Ireland at every level except at senior level. Cronin won an FAI Cup medal in 1998 with Cork City and a League runner up medal with Shamrock Rovers with whom he made 50 appearances. He made 34 appearances with Kildare County scoring two goals. However, his playing career was curtailed by a knee injury in 2003. Gareth Cronin was Dermot Keely's assistant manager at Dublin City in 2005 and 2006 before his appointment as manager of Waterford United in 2006. The side experienced relegation under Cronin during the 2007 season but was supported by both the clubs board and supporters. He resigned as Waterford Uniteds manager after a troubled 2008 season at the club.

Carl Donnelly

Carl Donnelly was a goalkeeper with Kildare County. He was a member of the Under-21 team that reached the final of the Enda Mc Guill Cup in 2006. He was signed by John Ryan in 2005 from Leinster Senior League team Dunboyne. He received a call up to the Irish Colleges International side in 2006. In 2005 he was called up for trials for the Rep. of Ireland under 19 International team and was put on standby by manager Sean McCaffrey for two upcoming friendlies against Bulgaria. He has made 17 appearances since 2005 for the first team. At the end o the 2006 season he moved to Leinster Senior League outfit Tolka Rovers.

Orrin Farrell

Orrin Farrell was signed from Edenderry Town during the July transfer window of 2008. He was a member off the Kildare and District Underage League Under 16 team during the 2007 season. Orrin was called up to the Republic of Ireland Under 18 team just after signing for Kildare County and played in all three games for his country in a Four Nation Tournament held in Limoges, France involving the host nation, Serbia, and Denmark.

Philip Gorman

Philip is Kildare County's record goalscorer. Gorman joined the club for his first spell in 2002 scoriung three goals in his debut season. He departed for the now defunct Dublin City and also had a spell at Kilkenny City before rejoining the thoroughbreds in the 2006 July transfer window. He was the club highest goals scorer for the 2007 season and was awarded the Club player of the year and the Supporters Club Player of the Year for 2007. He signed a new contract with Kildare County keeping him at the club until 2009. Gorman has played for the Republic of Ireland military team at the world Championships held in India in 2007 and played an important role in the international sides qualification. He was named as Kildare Countys captain for the 2008 season. He moved to Shelbourne during the July 2008 transfer window, however due to injury he has failed to estabhlish himself to date.

James Igwilo

James Igwilo signed for Kildare County in 2004. He represented his native Nigeria at the 1995 Under-17 World Cup as well as winning several caps at under 20 level in 1997. He was also a member of the Nigerian squad, which took part in the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. Igwilio was part of the Nigerian side, which won a silver medal in the African Nations Junior Cup held in Mali in 1995. He signed for Bundesliga 2 side MSV Duisburg for the 1998/1999 season and also played for Wuppertal in 1999–2001 and later with KFC Uerdingen 05 . Igwilo had previously played in the Eircom League for Premiership outfit Shelbourne in 2001. James Igwilo made 13 appearances for Kildare County. He was released mid season and is currently playing for Crumilin United.

Ray Kenny

Ray joined Kildare County from Finn Harps in the 2003 season. Ray was appointed team captain for 2004 and was named in the Professional Footballers association of Ireland Division One team of the year. He made 100 appearances for Kildare his 100th arriving against Limerick in 2005 before his move to Shamrock Rovers. Ray was the Kildare County's Player of the Year in 2004. With Rovers he won the First Division in 2006 and departed the club to join Bray Wanderers for the 2007 season.

Alan Kinsella

Alan Kinsella represented the Republic of Ireland at under14 to under 19 levels serving under managers Vinny Butler, Paddy Hilliard and Brian Kerr. Kinsella signed for Ballymun United schoolboys in 1997 before moving to Home Farm in 1998. He signed for Leeds United in 1999 and was at Elland Road for three seasons, signing as a professional in 2001. Alan played in the Leeds United youth and reserve sides for Leeds. He returned to Dublin in 2002 and was signed by Shelbourne. He took a break from the game at the end of the 2002/2003 season, deciding to travel to Australia. Alan was invited to join Kildare County during the pre-season and following discussions with Shelbourne manager Pat Fenlon and John Ryan made the decision to join the club for the 2005 season, despite interest from a number of premier division clubs. Alan only made 11 appearances for Kildare County. He is currently back playing with Ballymun United.

Ger O'Brien

Ger O'Brien was signed by Eric Hannigan before the start of the 2004 season from Athlone Town. Ger O’Brien was the first player to represent the Republic of Ireland at any level while playing with Kildare County. He represented the Eircom League International squad in Aberdeen for the quadrangular tournament with England, Scotland and Wales in 2004. Ger O’Brien made 39 appearances for Kildare County in the 2005 season and was also awarded the clubs player of the season award. He signed for Shamrock Rovers just before the transfer deadline in 2006 and won the First Division in his first season at the club. Ger was called up on several occasions to the Republic of Irelands Under-23 squad.

Fiachra McArdle

Fiachra joined English outfit Derby County as a 15 year old in 1998. He progressed through the clubs academy winning a reserve premier league medal in 2001 during his time at the club. He was promoted to Derbys a first team squad, however he failed to make an appearance returning home in 2002.He represented Ireland at U18 and U19 and at U21 level level and was part of the squad which competed in the Japan Cup in 2001. McArdle signed for Shamrock Rovers and was a regular before suffering a bad knee injury. Fiachra returned to home town club Dundalk and had two spells there sandwiched by a six month spell at Athlone Town. He departed Dundalk at the end of the 2006 season and signed for Kildare County. McArdle made only 17 appearances for Kildare County during the 2007 season due to a broken collarbone which he sustained in his debut match for the club against midland club Athlone Town. He departed the Thoroughbreds for Sporting Fingal just before the start of the 2008 season.

Thomas Morgan

Thomas Morgan was signed by Kildare County at the beginning of the 2006 season. He made 9 appearances for Killdare County that season. Morgan played his schoolboy football at Belvedere before moving to England to play with Blackburn Rovers. His previous clubs include St. Patricks Athletic, Newry Town, Bray Wanderers, Shelbourne and Dundalk. Thomas Morgan represented the Republic of Ireland at youth level captaining the under 20 team to third place in the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championships winning the bronze medal whilst playing with Blackburn Rovers reserves. Morgan played alongside Damien Duff and against players like Juan Román Riquelme and Cambiasso of Argentina. He won back to back Premier League titles with St Patricks Athletic under Pat Dolan in 1998 and 1999. Thomas was called up to the Republic of Irelands first ever international futsal squad for a friendly against Hungary during the 2008 season and again for a four team tournament at Loughborough University in England featuring the host nation England, Libya and Lithuania.

Darren Stapleton

Darren Stapleton signed for Kildare County from English Premiership outfit Reading during the 2007 season. He won two Player of the Month Awards and Club Person of the Year 2007 during his short time at the club Stapleton made more league appearances than any other player for the club during the 2007 season. He has been capped at international level for the Republic of Ireland from Under-16 to under-21 level. He signed for Shamrock Rovers for the 2008 season.

Shey Zellor

Shey Zellor joined Kildare County before the start of the 2002/2003 season, the last season before the Eircom league reverted to summer soccer. He played for Kildare County until the end of the 2005 season making Zellor one of the longest serving player in Kildare County's history alongside former Kildare County manager John Ryan. Zellor retired due to injury. Shey made 82 appearances for Kildare County and often scored important goals including the winning goal for Kildare County against Bohemians in their 2004 FAI Cup third round 1-0 victory. Shey Zellor had previously played with Longford Town.

Patrick Dobbs

Patrick Dobbs joined Kildare Countys U20 team in 2008 after winning the EA Sports cup with St.Kevin's Boys that had been assigned former Eircom League manager Roddy Collins in preparation for the game. Patrick was signed for the senior team after Thomas Donnelly took over management of the team for the 2009 season. He made his first appearance against Finn Harps in the opening game of the season.

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