Kilcock Celtic 1970 – 2020
The story so far
It's only when one stands on the new Astro pitch, and looks across to the Primary Care Centre the expression "We have come a long way" takes on extra significance.
It was there we first set up goals in 1970, and marked out a pitch, across what was then the local GAA pitch for our first match; apparently you could do things like that back then.
The club's existence came about as a result of a challenge to the local Leaf Utd team to play a team from the town in a friendly, which resulted in an honourable draw for the townies. The seeds were sown and Courtown Rangers came into existence.
A committee was formed comprising Chairman Paddy Corscadden, Secretary Martin Byrne, Treasurer Pascal Prior, plus a committee from players. Steve Lambert was appointed player/manager. His W - M formation, tactic board, and chess pieces as players, were to become a regular part of our training schedule.
Our application to join the Amateur Football League was accepted and we were placed in division 5.
With the formation of a club, the problem of Finance was top of the agenda, new goals, New Jersey’s, entry fees, insurance, and transport to start with. Annual memberships went some way towards meeting the bills, however taking over a local bingo session from the Christian Brothers helped to relieve the pressure.
We ran the bingo for almost twenty years until circumstances left us with no option but to stop it. Some twenty five years later, we ran two one off bingo sessions, organized by Colleen Mooney that proved to be a resounding success. Remarkably a large number of the people who attended these were regulars at the weekly ones some twenty five years ago.
The 7 - side and 5 - side tournaments we ran during the summer months helped the cause too, introducing new players to the club as well as boosting the finances. The poker classics and race night's with Bruce Byrne as auctioneers and Dickie Byrne providing the race tapes helped to keep the finances healthy. The "invisible bidder" and the grey horse in the trotting race were regular occurrences.
While our twenty four years in the A.F.L. did not result in a litany of success, it was a happy alliance, due in no small part to the fair minded approach of its Executive committee, notably Jack Smith, Noel Kennelly, Peter Clifford, something we were to encounter again when we joined the Kildare Football League in 1994, when we first came in contact with, Michael Casey, Tony Lumsden, and Paddy Whelan.
The early years proved to be tough going both on the field due to dwindling numbers, and off the pitch having to move our home pitch regularly. Indeed were it not for the generosity of the Naughtons and Higgins families from Laragh, also Tommy Fields in Kilcock, the club would more than likely have folded. The problem of having a permanent pitch looked to be solved when the Convent Field was made available to us, however the construction of the Scoil Dara Secondary School required part of this field so we had to move yet again, with long standing player and member Johnny Mooney providing us with the use of his property at Baltracey until the pitches in Scoil Dara were ready.
The club started an underage section in 1975 and changed its name to Kilcock Celtic. It was in the late 70s, early 80s that the underage section began to enjoy success in the Catholic Youth Council League.
The growth of the underage section insured that a steady flow of players were coming through to the senior ranks. It was the 86/87 season that Celtic won their first senior league, the division 2A title was theirs following a memorable 2-2 draw in the final home game of the season. The thriving underage section also enabled us to continue fielding a second senior team.
While our on field successes were limited, we had some memorable trips away. The F.A.Cup Semi-final between Liverpool and Arsenal in Hillsborough, when some forty adults and children boarded Michael Byrne's coach for the round trip, that we all returned safely is still a mystery to all.
Our biggest adventure involved bringing the then under 14 squad who had achieved the League and Cup Double that season, in the C.Y.C. on a journey across Europe. We visited France, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, and England over two weeks, playing matches in Switzerland and a U.S.A. army base in Heidelberg. The senior teams organized a weekend away in Westport, losing the football game, but winning the darts match against all odds.
With the early 90s came emigration and the underage section was disbanded and not reformed until 2000 when Joe O Dowd and Pat O Muircheartaigh set up an underage section to compete in the K.D.U.L.
Kilcock Celtic joined the Kildare Football League in 1994 as a founding member. The club entered two teams in the league. The early years proved unsuccessful, with the club being involved in a promotion/merry go-round lasting into the 2000s. It was the 2003 -2004 when Kilcock Celtic won their first trophy in the Kildare League when they captured the Div.1-2 shield in 2004.
The following seasons proved to be very successful, with the senior team winning the Div.1 cup in 2006 and 2007.The second team got their turn winning the Div 3/4/5 cup in 2010, and gaining promotion in successive seasons 2010, and 2011 the first time it was done by a Kilcock Celtic team in the Kildare League.
Not to be outdone the schoolboy section was also very successful, winning their first League title in 2007 under the management of Jimmy White and Gavin Dalton. The youth team also collected the Sean Stafford Cup in the 2007/2008 season.
Over the years Kilcock entered teams in the over 35 section, finishing runner-up in the cup in 2009, we also had a ladies team, which were runner-up in 2014 Div 2, also collecting the runner-up in the Plate Competition in 2016. The efforts of the numerous managers and coaches in keeping these teams going during all the lean times should be acknowledged and applauded. The senior team finished runner-up in Div 1 in 2018 gaining promotion to the Premier division, and also won the Shield defeating Newbridge Hotspurs. They also won the Premier cup in 2019, depriving Kilcullen of a League and Cup double in the process.
The club set up Football for All under the guidance of Ray Dully, able assisted by Conor Dully, and Donna Craig herself a prominent member of the ladies team. Others to contribute in maintaining the section over the years included Tony Barrett, John Hill, and Sean Hill. Tony was instrumental in organizing the Nursery which was taken on by Owen Wynne after
Tony moved away.
The schoolboy section was now fielding teams in virtually all age groups from under 7-to 18. A girl's section was formed with Kilcock entering two teams, a giant step for the club going forward.
In 2010 after agreeing a lease with Kildare County Council, a grass pitch and training area was developed and opened in 2011. It may seem peculiar but after forth years it felt like we had finally found our home. Our new full size Astro is now complete, something that would never have been possible without the invaluable assistance of James McArdle, and all the hard work of the committee members, in raising the grants and fundraising projects we have hosted in 2019.
When this journey started in 1970, you can be sure nobody was thinking that we would be still kicking ball in 2020. That we are, is due in no small part to the determination and dedication of a great many people, both on the pitch, and off the field, sadly too many are no longer with us, but I am sure that they are still keeping watch over us.
The Club now has a very bright future ahead of it, both on and off the pitch; as we continue to strive to improve both the facilities and our player development. We are confident that we will be here for the next 50 years, and we very much look forward to calibrating our 50th adversary properly next year when things return to normal for everyone.
Here are just some of the nick names I can remember from all the years of play:
Cus. Bruno. Tucker. Toss. Squirty. Butch. Gags. Horse. Cool. Captain Fantastic. Pec. Jigsaw. Hanna. Casso. Okay. Esther. King. Stan. John West. Nanny. Fitzie. THE Dude Minnie. Gonzo. Squealler. Monty. Red. The Butcher of Baltracey. Giller. Muller. Psycho(es). Atty. Duffer. MeMe. Boxcar. Brillo. Maggi. Buddha. Macker. Hanno. Flic. Cribbo. Boiler. Papa Smurf. Blondie. Nickers. Mudgie. Hiller. Suitcase(s). Fog.
And just some of the on-liner saying that became part of the dressing room banter.
Look like Liverpool Play like Liverpool
A high ball to the far post
Where's my support.
Terry, get that ball off him
Right that's it, me and you behind the changing rooms after the game.
Cabbage with a big heart.
Try the centre circle, you never left it all day.
Wardy get on and sort that guy out.
Wardy, stay on your feet, stay on your feet.
If in doubt put it out.
Nothing between the ears.
Get that clown out of the goals.
I just need to fill in the minute.
Let him by Ger, I'll deal with him.
Muller just plead temporary insanity.
Out of the way, I'm coming through.
Fra; introduce yourself to that fellow, before he walks all over us.
Ref there's a lot of shit on the pitch; really ye are not that bad.
Quinner I don't know what you were doing last night, but keep doing it.
Bit of a horse aren't you, yeah and I kick like one too.
Bruno if I threw a punch, I would not have missed him.
Right Rodney lets thrash this lot, and back to the pub.
Founding Member of Kilcock Celtic in 1970