Striker Ciaran Kilduff, after two hugely successful years at the club, has left champions Dundalk and signed for American NASL club Jacksonville Armada.
Jacksonville are coached by 31 year-old Englishman Mark Lowry. They began their season only last weekend with a 1-1 draw against San Francisco Deltas at the Hodges Stadium, a 12,000 capacity stadium, which is situated on the University of North Florida’s campus.
Speaking to the clubs website 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.”
“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.
His new club welcomed him to the club via their Twitter account;
— Jax Armada FC (@JaxArmadaFC) July 30, 2017
“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.”
“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 just fallen for me at this time. It ticks a lot of boxes for me and I am excited to get going.”