Ciaran Kilduff leaves Dundalk for Jacksonville

Dundalk FC have confirmed that Ciaran Kilduff has left the club to take up an opportunity in the United States with NASL Club Jacksonville Armada.

We released an article yesterday on the Kildare mans potential move yesterday.

Kilduff signed for the Lilywhites in July 2015 after he was transferred from St. Patrick’s Athletic and has had a hugely successful time at Oriel Park.

The striker has claimed two league titles and an FAI Cup at the club while competed in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League over the past two seasons. He hit the ground running with a debut goal in the 1-0 win over Bray Wanderers on July 31stand continued to make vital contributions up to his final goal 3 weeks ago in the final minute with a crucial header against Bohemians in another 1-0 victory.

He made history as he scored Dundalk’s equaliser against AZ Alkmaar in the Group Stages which secured the first ever point for an Irish side in European competition and then went on to score the winning goal in the 1-0 victory over Maccabi Tel-Aviv at Tallaght Stadium. That goal made even more history as it sealed the first ever win in group stage competition.

All in all Kilduff has made 82 appearances and scored 31 goals in his two year spell at the club.

Speaking to dundalkfc.com the 29 year-old reflected on his time at the club.

“It has been the best two years of my football career. 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.”

The striker has come up with some big goals during his time at the club and is hoping that people will remember the overall contribution he made to the side in his two years here.

“I enjoy scoring goals! It is something I feel I have been good at. We have all had massive goals in us in the squad. As a front man playing in that team you are always going to get chances and in fairness I have had a lot of great last ditch goals, last minute goals but they were shared throughout the team.

“I think people will look back in years to come, look at this group, even the ones who are still there now and realise that this was a very special time to be a part of Dundalk FC. It still is.

“Me as a man I have been able to get some big winners but every player who has played for the club in the last five years will have moments they will look back on fondly. I have my own fair share of those as well as everyone else. “

The Kilcock native admits that it is a sad time for him also but feels that this is an opportunity that is too good to turn down for him and his family while also wishing the Lilywhites all the best in the future.

“It’s a sad time for me as well. There is no one else in Ireland that I would rather play for. This opportunity has just fallen into my lap and it’s something that really interested me and my family.

“I hope it works out for me but I wish Dundalk nothing but success from the people working away in the offices every day to the people who are helping out on the pitch and on match nights. “

The former UCD star believes that this current era of Dundalk will be remembered in Irish football as one of the great stories and also looks back on his two historic goals in the UEFA Europa League group stages last year. He couldn’t thank the football club and Stephen Kenny enough for giving him the opportunity at Oriel Park.

“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.

“There was a few firsts last year alright…I was probably the first person to break their back playing football for Dundalk! But there are a few reasons I’ll be remembered. I am so proud of those two Europa League goals and proud of some of the league goals that I have scored too.

“David McMillan’s goals against BATE will be remembered as well so it’s a collective thing.

“The goal against AZ Alkmaar to equalise in the Europa League and then the goal against Maccabi Tel-Aviv to get the first group stage win on my birthday. You couldn’t make it up!

“They are magnificent moments for me personally and it give great joy to many people.

“I am so grateful and thankful to the club for giving me those opportunities.

“I had come from St. Patrick’s Athletic two years ago and my career could have been different in other ways but I was so grateful for Stephen Kenny to have faith in me to bring me to Dundalk, I had a few injuries and whatever. “

Looking ahead after the ‘greatest two years in Ireland’, Kilduff is ready to go to America for a new challenge and has looked at other players who are plying their trade over there as an example of how to progress and feels this is a chance to ‘further his career’ and is excited to get started in a couple of weeks.

“For me, I will always look back at this as the greatest two years in Ireland.

“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 justice  fallen for me at this time. It ticks a lot of boxes for me and I am excited to get going. “

Image credit: RTE.ie

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