It has been a long and winding road from Carlow to Newport for Padraig Amond, taking in footballing stop-offs at Shamrock Rovers, Kildare County, SligoRovers, Pacos de Ferreira in Portugal, AccringtonStanley, Morecambe, Grimsby Town and HartlepoolUnited, but for anyone who witnessed the amber-jerseyed Amond’s sublime top-corner bent effort in the 67th minute of his side’s 2-0 FA Cup 4th round replay over Championship side Middlesbrough on Tuesday 05 February, there can be no doubt that the journey has been worth it.
You didn’t have to be amongst the 6,552 packed into Rodney Parade to see the goal; it was live on BT Sport. The Ironsides’ prize will be another live tie broadcast from Rodney Parade in the 5th round; they host the footballing equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters – Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City – on Saturday 16 February at 1730. The biggest of opponents and the biggest of stages for Amond to add further to the 18 goals he has already netted for County this term.
Will City be worried? I’d say so. Newport may play in League Two – England’s 4th tier – but they have a track record of upsetting the form book at home in FA Cup ties in recent years; as well as Middlesbrough being sent packing, Leeds United and Leicester City have also returned from Wales having been giant-killed. There could be no bigger giants for Mike Flynn’s men to slay than City.
Amond wasn’t the only Irishman on the field in the heroic win over Tony Pulis’ side; Ballyfermot’s Mark O’Brien was a tower of strength at the back for Newport. Nor is Amond the first Irish striker to make waves at County; John Aldridge played there early in his career.
Amond first came to prominence here in 2006, helping Shamrock Rovers to promotion back to the Premier Division. He spent some time on loan at Kildare County, and was Rovers’ Young Player of the Year in 2008. He scored 23 goals in his single season at Sligo , helping them to lift both major Cups.
Amond went abroad at that point. It didn’t work out in Portugal but he has had consistent success in the lower leagues in England. At Grimsby during 2015-16 he scored a whopping 30 league goals in the National League as they won back their FootballLeague place via the play-offs. His time at Hartlepool ended in them losing their League place but the 30-year old has found great form at Newport.
Amond’s talents don’t stop at football. He is a capable sports writer, and has penned columns for his local paper The Carlow Nationalist. If he doesn’t do headlines then let me suggest some; ‘Amond Slice’ for his superb effort against Middlesborough, and ‘Don’t Look Back In Amber’ should they prevail over City [sorry Noel and Liam].