Clones Town F.C: An Insight

David Wilson reports for the Sean McCaffrey Foundation

One of the oldest clubs in the country let alone Monaghan, the formation of the club dates back as far as 1858. The foundation of the club is believed to have been initiated through workers from the Great Northern Railway and their ambition to set up a competitive club in which to compete against teams from counties such as Fermanagh, Tyrone and Armagh. There is a record of Clones competing in a competition known as the ‘Northern Leagues’ in 1885. 

The history and traditions of this club are strong, the assembly of the club even pre-dates the creation of the GAA in 1884. Nowadays the club competes in the Monaghan/Cavan League with a selection of underage teams which play in the Cavan/Monaghan Underage League.

Background

Clones have proved to be the last owners of the Lipton Cup. This cup was competed for by teams in Cavan, Monaghan and Fermanagh. The 1913/14 season saw the interference of the Great War followed by years of hostility and unpredictability and therefore the cup was not competed for again.

Nomadically roaming through many different leagues over time, ranging from the Cavan/Monaghan League, the Louth and District League and the Longford and District League, the club has aimed to compete at the highest possible level. The 1970s saw an abundance of success, achieving glory in the Cavan/Monaghan League, the League Cup, the Steadfast Cup, the Drifter Cup and the Coffey Cup. This was followed by winning the Louth and District League in both 1977 and 1979 before winning the Ulster Cup in the 1980/81 season. 

The mid-eighties seen more success winning the Longford and District League in the 1984/85 season plus the FAI Midlands Cup. For the next three years Clones achieved league success consecutively. A treble was achieved in the early nineties as the side won the Meath and Louth District Division One, the League Cup and the Challenge Cup. 

Recent Successes

Recently, the senior side has attained the Andy Capaldi Cup and the Premier Division title in the 2017/18 season, but it has been the production of players playing professionally which has typified the impressive structures at this club.

Mark Connolly represented Clones Town before making the move across the water to Wolverhampton Wanderers. He then transferred from Wolves to Bolton Wanderers for a reported one-million-pound transfer fee. Since then, Connolly has starred for Crawley Town before joining Kilmarnock and becoming club captain before going back to Crawley Town where he enjoyed the large part of his career.

He now plays for Dundee United who are aiming to return to the Scottish Premiership after missing out on promotion last year. Connolly has represented Ireland at under-17, under-19 and under-21 levels.

Johnathan Douglas, also once of Clones Town has recently called time on a brilliant career which saw him represent Ireland at the highest level eight times. Douglas began his professional career with Blackburn Rovers under the tutelageof Graeme Souness, before moving to Leeds United for four years becoming captain in 2007. 

Spells at Swindon Town before an extremely successful time at Brentford saw the Clones native becoming their captain due to his all action tenacious midfield displays. His career ended with a period at Ipswich under current international manager Mick McCarthy. 

The production of players who have not only made it professionally but also represented Cavan/Monaghan Underage sides is testament to the work being done throughout the club. 

Today

Over the last few years, the club has achieved a new ground in John Delaney Park. The ground was named after former FAI CEO John Delaney who still currently holds the title of Executive Vice President of the FAI… somehow. 

The club has recently opened new dressing rooms along with a peace garden with a sculpture to accompany it which will launch at the end of the month. 

Chairman John Reavey, along with secretary Seamie Sewell and treasurer Mairead McCabe all contribute to the vital day to day running of the club. The senior side is managed by Eddie Masterson and currently the side occupies fourth place after winning one and losing one of their opening two games in the Premier Division of the Monaghan/Cavan League. 

There are eight underage teams who along with a girls’ team which shows the appetite for football in the area remains strong. As always, the chance to play, coach or become a volunteer is encouraged, if you would like to be involved please contact the foundation and we can put you in touch with the right people. 

McCarey Crucial as Dundalk pick First Piece of Silverware of The Season

David Wilson reporting for the Sean McCaffrey Foundation

Aaron McCarey played a crucial part in Dundalk’s first trophysuccess of the season as the Lilywhites ran out winners on penalties at the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium last Saturday night. Derry City and their Louth counterparts have had some fascinating battles so far this season, playing out three two all draws already. This game was no different, again finishing two each at the end of both normal time and full-time.

Goalkeeping rotation is now in vogue. Many clubs have employed using their number one shot-stopper throughout the league whilst the understudy takes the reins in predominantly cup games. McCarey has featured throughout the EA Sports Cup for Dundalk, playing against St. Patricks Athletic, UCD and Bohemians. 

It only took three minutes for the Scotstown man to be called into action. Derry winger Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe fired a low shot which was too hot to handle, McCarey could only parry to the feet of Candystripe goal poacher David Parkhouse who made no mistake as he put Declan Devine’s men ahead. 

An excellently curled finish before the halftime whistle from Dundalk winger Michael Duffy restores parity. However, only six minutes into the second half a deflected strike from Junior bamboozled McCarey as he could only watch the ball slither into the far corner of the net. 

The dismissal of Grant Gillespie for the Derry men resulted in the Lilywhites pouring forward as they tried to draw level. Sean Gannon got the equalizer as he tapped in from 6 yards following a lapse in concentration from the Derry defence. 

One-way traffic ensued as Dundalk went to find the winner in normal time. McCarey did have to remain vigilant and concentrated as Derry tried to break on the counterattack, saving excellently from Ciaron Harkin. This demonstrated the belief and concentration levels needed to be a top class ‘keeper.

As the game rumbled on towards penalties, again the former Monaghan minor Gaelic footballer saved well from Derry substitute Michael McCrudden. Dundalk could not find the all-important winner, so the lottery of a penalty shootout proved to be the deciding factor.

Dundalk achieved the first leg of what is hoped to be a domestic treble for the Louth men winning by six goals to five. McCarey did earn some well needed fortune which is always required in a shootout as Jack Malone saw his effort go wide of the upright before Ally Gilchrist saw his effort crash off the crossbar for the Candystripes.

McCarey and his teammates will hope this is the start of special couple of weeks for Dundalk and the ex-Irish youth international will hope to earn more game time as the season reaches its climax. 

Ballyhaise Celtic: An Insight

On the back of the hype which gripped the nation the club was formed around the time of Italia ’90 by two local men Leo Kelly and Aiden Browne. Their wish was to give local children an opportunity to play football.

Starting out with one 11 a-side team, the side played against teams in the North East region as the game was only beginning to develop locally.

Ballyhaise continued to enter teams in the 7 a-side summer leagues and as the CMUL grew they entered 11 a-side teams as competition began to grow. The senior team was formed in 2010. The senior sides contest the Monaghan-Cavan League which commences this weekend.

Club

The club chairperson is Eddie Conaty, and since their inception in 1990 the club has accumulated many trophy successes over the years. Martin Watters and Colm Smith both important club members, are CMUL registrar and fixtures secretary for the CMUL respectively.

The Head Coach of the first team is Keith Guilfoyle who has been preparing the side for their opening fixture, a Cavan derby away to Cootehill Harps.

Underage

At juvenile level the club provide several teams who represent the club who compete at various levels such as under-7, under-8, under-9 & under-10 teams who contend the CMUL Summer League. Also, Ballyhaise Celtic have a range of very competitive sides who compete at under-11, under-12, under 14 & under-16 CMUL.

Currently Ballyhaise Celtic provide four players involved with the MUCFP, two at under-15 level and two at under-13 level. At the under-13 age-group these players were victorious, being members of the squad that achieved Liam Miller Cup success.

Also, there are two players who are currently with the CMUL under-12 squad who are looking to develop for future national competition at Airtricity League level whist also looking towards the Kennedy Cup.

Facilities

Ballyhaise have developed a full size 11 a-side grass pitch, measuring 110 metres by 55 metres. There is a warm-up area behind each goal and two changing rooms with a referee’s room and storage facilities.

Ballyhaise Celtic Park is a Smoke-Free Campus, encouraging healthy living for players, members and spectators alike, one of the first in the area.

The club is looking for a positive start in their opening league fixture at senior level against Cootehill Harps whilst continuing to develop younger players throughout the club.

Involvement

As with every team, the club is continuing to encourage participation whether at a playing level, coaching level or volunteering level. If you wish to get involved, please contact this foundation and we can put you in touch with the right people to get involved.

Doyle-Hayes Delights as Two Crucial Qualifiers Await

David Wilson reporting for the Sean McCaffrey Foundation.

Two pivotal games await Stephen Kenny and his under-21 side as they look to be the first Irish side to qualify for theUnder-21 European Championships. Preparations in Abbottstown have intensified over the last few days as Kenny and his coaching staff look to imprint their style on the team in a short space of time. 

One newcomer to the squad is Ballyjamesduff’s very own Jake Doyle Hayes. He missed the two previous squads through injury. A talented midfield player who likes to dictate ball possession is currently contracted to Premier League side Aston Villa but has gone on loan to Cheltenham Town in search of first team football. 

Ireland

Representing your country is arguably the pinnacle of one’s career. Being involved with a highly rated under-21 squad under the control of the future Irish senior team manager is something the youngster is naturally delighted with.

“Its unbelievable to be involved, it’s a really talented squad as well. There’s a lot of good players here so competition throughout the squad is high,” said Doyle-Hayes.

Ireland have yet to qualify to an under-21 European championships, ambition amongst the players and coaching staff is high as they look to take six points out of their next two games.

“The next two games, we should be looking to win both of them, we’ve set our targets high and we believe we can pick up six points.”

Influence

Last October, current under-21 boss Kenny, then manager of League champions Dundalk wrote passionately in his programme notes on the night his side picked up the league title. Kenny spoke of how inherently Irish players were expected to play a more direct style of play and that being Irish ‘you were inherently born with a skill deficit.’

Now, as under-21 boss, Kenny looks to imprint his progressive, attacking and dynamic style of play onto his team, something which suits the Aston Villa loanee Doyle-Hayes. “We want to dominate possession as much as we can, that’s the way I like to play. I want to have the ball all the time, so the style of play here suits me well.” 

Club Football

Speaking ahead of two important games at home to Armenia before traveling for a tough away game against Sweden, Doyle-Hayes is delighted to be playing first team football after an injury-hit 2018/19 season. 

“I’m really enjoying it (playing for Cheltenham Town), I didn’t start the first game as I was just coming into the set-up that week but I’ve played ever since and I think its going well for me at the minute,” said the Cavan prodigy. 

Working with Colin Calderwood, a coach Doyle-Hayes worked with at previously at Aston Villa, the rising star went on loan last season to Cambridge United were first team appearances were scuppered by injuries.

“I had bit of experience last year on loan at Cambridge United, it didn’t go as well as I would’ve liked as I picked up a few injuries there. This year I thought that I definitely needed to get out as soon as I could to be playing to stay fit and get a continuous amount of games.” 

Dropping down the English football league pyramid, Doyle-Hayes has benefited from more regular game-time. The Football League is intense, with 46 league games plus three cup competitions, players are expected to play twice a week with a heavy schedule around the Christmas period.

This is something that the Cavan sensation has relished, citing a well needed step-up from under-23 academy football. “There is more physicality, not just on the pitch, but when you’re playing Saturday-Tuesday nearly every week, its intense. In academy football you might get a game once a week, sometimes not even that. Its demanding which is a good experience for me.”

Opportunity

The under-21 side play at home to Armenia in TallaghtStadium on Friday night. Admission to the game is only five euro with concessions for students and under eighteens, this is a great opportunity to see some of the rising stars of Irishfootball along with local wonderkid Jake Doyle-Hayes.

The Sean McCaffrey Foundation would like to thank Jake for his time and wish him all the best this season both domestically and internationally. 

Doyle-Hayes Delights as Two Crucial Qualifiers Await

David Wilson reporting for the Sean McCaffrey Foundation.

Two pivotal games await Stephen Kenny and his under-21 side as they look to be the first Irish side to qualify for the Under-21 European Championships. Preparations in Abbottstown have intensified over the last few days as Kenny and his coaching staff look to imprint their style on the team in a short space of time.

One newcomer to the squad is Ballyjamesduff’s very own Jake Doyle Hayes. He missed the two previous squads through injury. A talented midfield player who likes to dictate ball possession is currently contracted to Premier League side Aston Villa but has gone on loan to Cheltenham Town in search of first team football.

Ireland

Representing your country is arguably the pinnacle of one’s career. Being involved with a highly rated under-21 squad under the control of the future Irish senior team manager is something the youngster is naturally delighted with.

“Its unbelievable to be involved, it’s a really talented squad as well. There’s a lot of good players here so competition throughout the squad is high,” said Doyle-Hayes.

Ireland have yet to qualify to an under-21 European championships, ambition amongst the players and coaching staff is high as they look to take six points out of their next two games.

“The next two games, we should be looking to win both of them, we’ve set our targets high and we believe we can pick up six points.”

Influence

Last October, current under-21 boss Kenny, then manager of League champions Dundalk wrote passionately in his programme notes on the night his side picked up the league title. Kenny spoke of how inherently Irish players were expected to play a more direct style of play and that being Irish ‘you were inherently born with a skill deficit.’

Now, as under-21 boss, Kenny looks to imprint his progressive, attacking and dynamic style of play onto his team, something which suits the Aston Villa loanee Doyle-Hayes. “We want to dominate possession as much as we can, that’s the way I like to play. I want to have the ball all the time, so the style of play here suits me well.”

Club Football

Speaking ahead of two important games at home to Armenia before traveling for a tough away game against Sweden, Doyle-Hayes is delighted to be playing first team football after an injury-hit 2018/19 season.

“I’m really enjoying it (playing for Cheltenham Town), I didn’t start the first game as I was just coming into the set-up that week but I’ve played ever since and I think its going well for me at the minute,” said the Cavan prodigy.

Working with Colin Calderwood, a coach Doyle-Hayes worked with at previously at Aston Villa, the rising star went on loan last season to Cambridge United were first team appearances were scuppered by injuries.

“I had bit of experience last year on loan at Cambridge United, it didn’t go as well as I would’ve liked as I picked up a few injuries there. This year I thought that I definitely needed to get out as soon as I could to be playing to stay fit and get a continuous amount of games.”

Dropping down the English football league pyramid, Doyle-Hayes has benefited from more regular game-time. The Football League is intense, with 46 league games plus three cup competitions, players are expected to play twice a week with a heavy schedule around the Christmas period.

This is something that the Cavan sensation has relished, citing a well needed step-up from under-23 academy football. “There is more physicality, not just on the pitch, but when you’re playing Saturday-Tuesday nearly every week, its intense. In academy football you might get a game once a week, sometimes not even that. Its demanding which is a good experience for me.”

Opportunity

The under-21 side play at home to Armenia in Tallaght Stadium on Friday night. Admission to the game is only five euro with concessions for students and under eighteens, this is a great opportunity to see some of the rising stars of Irish football along with local wonderkid Jake Doyle-Hayes.

The Sean McCaffrey Foundation would like to thank Jake for his time and wish him all the best this season both domestically and internationally.

Monaghan Town F.C: An Insight

With the new season just under two weeks away, Monaghan Town continue to step up preparations as they look for a positive start to their Monaghan Cavan League Premier Division campaign.

Here, we will take a closer look at the club as they look to build a successful club from senior right down to underage level.

Foundation
Monaghan Town Football Club are a thriving amateur team based in Monaghan Town who play their home games in Belgium Park. The senior team compete in the Monaghan Cavan League, along with a selection of underage teams which compete in the Cavan Monaghan Underage League.

The club were founded in 2005, and currently the chairman is Gordan Forshaw.

First Team

The first team consists of a range of local players who all have had differing careers in the game. Peter McMahon, a recent signing, established a career both north and south of the border. Playing firstly in the Republic, the Monaghan man played with UCD, Drogheda United and Bohemians before playing in the North with clubs such as Portadown, Dungannon Swifts and most recently Glentoran.

There are also players who have had long distinguished careers at Belgium Park with Mark Kelly and Mark Mulhall both key mainstays of the team. Shane Loughran is another with technical ability and proved a very exciting player. Gary Hessin who has signed from Cootehill Harps is a major asset to the team along with Paul Smyth who had a glittering League of Ireland career.

The management team of Darren Smyth, Kevin Smyth, Jimmy Treanor and Alan Ballantine have all been preparing the side for the important opening fixtures, firstly away to Killymooney before home games against both Clones Town and Killylough.

Meanwhile Paul McHugh has been working with the reserve side as they also look for a positive start to league proceedings.

Honours
Capturing the Ulster Cup in 2011 was arguably the pinnacle of success for the club. Only Monaghan Town and Cootehill Harps have managed to triumph in the Ulster Junior Cup.

One of the more successful periods of the club honours-wise resulted in capturing the premier division three times in a row including the 2007/08, 2008/09 and 2009/10 seasons. They most recently claimed the title back in the 2015/16 season. The Premier Cup was claimed in the 2016/17 season along with successes for the reserve sides, winning both Reserve Division in 2016/17, the Reserve Cup twice in 2017/18 and 2018/19.

Andy Capaldi Cup success was also achieved in the 2009/10 season as the Town continued their successes. The League Cup was conquered five times over the years, victorious in 2009/10, 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16. Sean Woods and Co. Monaghan cup successes were also accomplished in the 2013/14 and 2009/10 seasons respectively.

Trophy accumulation hasn’t been the theme over recent years as the seniors look to build a competitive team again after a few seasons of transition, where the club lost as many as ten established first team players.

Youth Set-Up
Juvenile development is central to the overall development of the club. The underage teams are helped by volunteers and coaches alike along with major contributions from both Gordon and Kathleen Forshaw.


There are competitive teams at u-12, u-14 and u15/16s level, with some very talented players being developed throughout the juvenile set-up. The club has had numerous players who have represented the CMUL Emerging Talent teams and Kennedy Cup teams.

Also, the underage structures have involved players who were victorious in the Ulster Community Games and have represented the county throughout different age-group levels. The now famous annual summer camp that takes place in Belgium Park continues to go from strength to strength.

This season has seen history in the making as Monaghan Town have had their very first girls’ team who are competing at U11 level. This has been off the back of the FAI Girls Football programme currently being implemented through great work by John Crudden and Thomas Heffernan. This is certainly a highlight in the club’s history and something which they hope to build on in the coming years.

Involvement

If you would like to get involved as a volunteer, player or coach please get in touch with Kathleen at 086-061 3925.

Killylough F.C: An Insight

With the opening matchday of the Monaghan-Cavan League on the horizon, we’ve decided to do an in-depth look at some of the clubs who will be featuring over the next few weeks.

The first club to feature this week is Killylough F.C. Currently, their manager is Gerry McPhillips and preparations have been ongoing over the last few weeks for the upcoming season.

Formation

Killylough F.C. takes its name from the townland of Killylough in Tydavnet, Co. Monaghan. The club shares the name with the hugely successful Killylough Tug of War Club, and the rapidly expanding Killylough Cycling Club. They play their home games in Tullygoney, Tydavnet, providing football for Tydavnet and surrounding areas.

Formed in 1980, the club battling with limited resources, have acquired all three available cups on numerous occasions in the local Monaghan Cavan League namely the League Cup, the Andy Capaldi Cup and the Sean Woods Cup. Most recently the trophy cabinet has been filled by the 2014 League and Capaldi Cup successes.

Achievements

A trophy haul has included Premier Division victories in both 1991 and 2014. Also, Killylough captured the Capaldi Cup four times over the years in 1991, 2005, 2011 and 2014, combined with League Cup success in 2005, 2012 and 2013. Sean Ward Cup success was also achieved winning the competition back in 2011.

Club

The senior side continue to prepare for their opening game at home to Sporting Ballyjamesduff and will hope to secure an opening three points to ignite their title challenge. Matchday two sees Killylough at home once again, this time to Killymooney before travelling to Belgium Park to face Monaghan Town on matchday three.

Players, coaches and volunteers alike are encouraged to get involved with the club. Underage sides along with the senior set-up are constantly looking for those who are wishing to get involved in football at any capacity. If you would like to get involved, please contact Mark at 086-0660128.