Kilshannig benefitting from investment in their underage set-up

Kilshannig benefitting from investment in their underage set-up

Kilshannig's Gavin Creedon and Jack Twomey celebrate after defeating Aghabullogue in the Bon Secours Cork County IAFC final at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Picture; Eddie O'Hare

KILSHANNIG were a junior A football team as recently as 2019, but in 2023 they will be applying their trade at the premier intermediate grade following their recent Cork IAFC final win over Aghabullogue, 1-16 to 0-10. 

Kilshannig’s rise is no major surprise, a strong underage structure put in place a decade ago has resulted in many underage titles in both codes. All the hard work, all the silverware, culminated in a historic dual Cork U21 B county success, wins that gained Countrywide recognition in 2017. Further success followed in 2018, the Avondhu champions defeated hot favourites St Finbarr’s in the county U21 A football championship quarter-final, as well as a premier 2 minor football title over the same opposition a few months later. 

Kilshannig told the county they were a force to be reckoned with in the years to come. 

They have dealt with all the pressure and they will not be afraid of the challenges of the premier intermediate grade in 2023.

One of the players that have played a major role in the underage fortunes of the club is goalkeeper Gavin Creedon. 

The netminder was between the sticks for Cork’s Munster U20 success last year and has been in great form for his club this campaign.

“A couple of weeks on from the county final win, it is still a surreal feeling to be honest with you,” Creedon says. 

"I was a sub when we won the County JAFC title three years ago and it was an unbelievable day for the club. Leaving the stadium after that game was the best feeling in the world, you just can’t beat it and thankfully three years on, we have lifted silverware once more.” 

The Glantane based team controlled the final from start to finish, a good start laid the foundation for what was in the end a comfortable victory. Kilshannig have started every game in the championship this year like men on a mission, apart from the second group stage game when they lost to Adrigole, as the towering goalkeeper, standing at 6 ft 6, looks back at the decider.

“The strong start was very important for us, it’s something we said in the dressing room before we went out onto the pitch. 

"Aghabullogue had put up some big scores in the championship and have very lively forwards, we knew if we gave them time and space, we would be in trouble. 

"Thankfully we kept them at arm’s length and even though it was close at half-time, we felt in control. We knew there was pressure on us with being favourites, but we just focused on our game and thankfully we got the job done.” 

Kilshannig were fancied to be at the business end of the championship at the start of the campaign, they started the championship season with a huge win over Ballydesmond, but that was followed by a disappointing defeat against Adrigole, left them on the ropes. The team in blue and yellow came out fighting and a win in the last group stage game against Gabriel Rangers was enough to nudge them into the knock-out stages. There is no doubt in Creedon’s mind the turning point in their eventual road to glory.

“The Adrigole defeat was a big moment for us. It probably was the best thing to happen us really. It was an eye opener for us all, there were a lot of home truths spoken in the dressing room and in the days after. As a group, we had an honest conversation and knew we had to improve if we wanted to go forward. The Gabriel Rangers game was our County final, we did get a helping hand when they had a player sent off after five minutes, and we needed to win. A draw was no good and we were down a point in injury-time and we managed to turn it around and win the game. We showed huge character that day, which stood to us massively.” Kilshannig had to win two local derbies to qualify for the final and they duly delivered. Wins against Glanworth and a hugely impressive win over outright favourites Mitchelstown put them 60 minutes away from climbing another step on the ladder and promotion to premier intermediate ranks for 2023. After being in junior only three years ago, they are now one grade below senior, where ultimately this ambitious club and bunch of players want to reach. You wouldn’t put it past them making a favourable impression in the PIFC next season.

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