West Cork footballer Geoff Kingston helps London club to victory

St Kieran's landed their second senior championship in six seasons with Kingston playing a vital role in defence
West Cork footballer Geoff Kingston helps London club to victory

Geoff Kingston in action for St Kiernan's in the London senior county football final.

FORMER Clann na nGael footballer Geoff Kingston recently helped his new team, St Kiernan’s, win the London senior football championship.

Their recent county final success was the second time the north London club has won the London senior championship. Kingston has now helped the club win two senior titles in six years.

“It is fantastic to be part of a winning team.

“I was fortunate to also be on the team which won the title in 2016,” Kingston said. “The club has only been competing in the senior grade full time since 2009, so it is a fantastic achievement to have won two county titles in that time.

“The underage structure is thriving at the moment. The win also meant so much to the founding members of the club,” he said.

St Kiernan’s defeated the reigning champions, Fulham Irish, in the final by four points, following a pulsating county final in Ruislip. St Kiernan’s trailed by a point at the interval but produced a strong second-half performance to win.

“We always knew it was going to be a tough assignment against Fulham Irish,” Kingston said. “We knew if we could be within arms’ reach at half time we stood a great chance, as we typically finish strong. Credit to the Fulham team, they did not go down without a fight. We had great support for the final, with half the stand sporting the black and white of St Kiernan’s. It helped create a great atmosphere.” 

Geoff Kingston is a former Clann na nGael player.
Geoff Kingston is a former Clann na nGael player.

Kingston lined out in his trademark right corner-back berth for St Kiernan’s in the county final. He was one of two Cork players who played for the Saints in the final, along with Paul Farrell, from Macroom.

“Paul joined us this year. It was good to have a comrade on the panel. He slotted nicely into the other cornerback position. He played well all year and chipped in with a score along the way, which is the dream of many a cornerback. We have a varied mix in our squad, which includes players from 13 countries overall.”

St Kiernan’s reward for winning the London club championship was a Connacht championship game against the Sligo champions, Tourlestrane, in Markiewicz Park. The Sligo champions won by five points.

“It was very nice to play in Markiewicz Park. They were very well organised. We were level at the break, but, unfortunately, the wind changed, which allowed them to take more shots from range in the second half.

“Once they gained the lead, they locked down defensively, which made scores very difficult to come by. We represented ourselves and London football to the best of our ability.”

The 30-year-old Cork man moved to London in 2015 to work as an engineer. A fortunate meeting with the manager of the St Kiernan’s senior football team steered him in the direction of the north London club.

“It involved luck more than anything. I met the manager by pure chance one night, who convinced me to join his team. 

There is a great camaraderie in the team. We are always giving and getting lifts for each other, which is key when new players come over and are finding their feet in the city.

“This makes a huge difference, as London is quite large. I am fortunate that I don’t travel outside London for work too often, which allows me to train most of the time.”

Prowess

Kingston also demonstrated his hurling prowess this year, with the St Gabriel’s senior hurling team, who also made the county final.

“I previously played hurling at home with the Randal Óg club, who were recently crowned junior B county champions. I started at cornerback on the senior team. We were beaten by Robert Emmets in the county final replay after extra time.

“We still won the league title and Ronan Collins Cup, which was fantastic. It was a very enjoyable campaign for my first year back.”

Geoff Kingston in action for St Kiernan's in the London senior county football final.
Geoff Kingston in action for St Kiernan's in the London senior county football final.

The Drinagh native has enjoyed testing himself against a plethora of players who have inter-county experience and are now based in London.

He said the calibre of player in club football in London is ‘high’.

The standard of football is high in London. Given that every team will have an influx of new players every year, it can make for some very interesting games.

“Teams you would have beaten with ease the previous year may now be putting you to the sword, so there is no room for complacency. A large number of players playing club football in London would have intercounty experience, either at home or with the London inter-county team.

“This further enhances the standard of football and makes everyone raises their game.”

The Cork man has great memories of his football career with his beloved Clann na nGael. “I have brilliant memories of playing for the Scorchers. I was part of a team that came up through the underage structure, competing in A and Premier A county finals, which was a fantastic achievement. I was also fortunate to compete in two West Cork Junior A championship finals, which, unfortunately, didn’t come off on the day.”

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