03 Dec KDFL 2018 SPECIAL AWARD WINNERS AND PROFILES
Masters Div 2 POY
Richie Kenna (Sallins Celtic FC)
The Masters Div 2 Player of the year needs no introduction in the KDFL, he captained his previous club to their league cup success way back in 2004. He captained his current club during their most successful period 2008-2012 where they gained consecutive league promotions and captured two League Shield titles.
He was a founding member of his master’s team last year and this season were convincingly crowned Over 35 D2 League Champions losing only 1 league game and also securing the Masters Plate. The ultimate Club Man who, if he’s not organising or training the lads, he is down marking the pitch and putting up nets.
Master Div 1 POY
Graham Kiersey (Leixlip United FC)
The Masters Div 1 player of the Year award goes to a player who has played a huge part in his team’s recent success. Having played previously in the Junior section of the game in the League, picking up some silverwear on the way, he naturally progressed to the Over 35 section. His experience, knowledge and commitment to the team has had a positive impact on the players around him. He had several man of the match performances this season, picking himself up the league’s September player of the month award and bringing home the Masters Cup for the second season in succession to his north Kildare Club.
Womens Div 2 POY
Caoimhe Kenna (Arlington FC)
The Womens Div 2 Player of the Year award goes to a young girl playing her first season with her current club. Through the entire season she has never missed a training session or game. In particular in one game having picked up an injury she insisted on continuing to play to the final whistle such is her commitment to her fledgling team. Despite the teams league standing this year she has proved her ability on the pitch to match any league winning player. She is always full of encouragement for her team mates with a joyess and positive attitude.
Womens Div 1 POY
Tara Jacob (Allenwood Celtic FC)
This years Womens D1 Player of the year goes to a young girl who joined her club at the youthful age of 15 even through not eligible to play that season, she trained along side the team. Her love of the game was evident from an early stage through her commitment and her performance at training. She came straight into the team set up in 2016 and proved a force to be reckoned with. Immediately owing the right wing position but also offering complete versatility on the pitch. She would never turn down an opportunity to get some extra training in and always gives 100% in every game no matter what the stakes are. As an opponent she is the one you don’t want to mark due to her tenacious attitude and lightening pace not to mention her cool control. No surprise she was a part of the 2018 Futsal winning team and has won her club’s POY for the last 2 seasons she was also an integral part of the KDFL Womens Representive side who reached the semi final of the Angela Hearst Interleague Trophy this year.
Div 3 POY
John Tracey (Straffan AFC)
The Div 3 Player of the year is playing his first full season in the adult game. He is a very talented player with great speed agility and strength. Hi ability to find the back of the net is breathtaking . He plays on the left side of his team’s three man attack and has scored no less than 28 goals in 21 games, earning him the nick name MO. He also is credited with 15 assists and has helped his team in no small part in securing the League title unbeaten. There is no doubt this season his contribution to his team’s success has been immense.
Div 2 POY
Shaun Pierre Cretaro (Garryhinch FC)
The D2 Player of the year goes to a player who has played with his current team for several years and was their top goal scorer for many of them. He spent several seasons across the water as a youth player with Celtic and brings a wealth of tactical experience to the young players in his new club. He is also a great support to his manager and technical staff. His total commitment and dedication shines through every time he puts on the number 10 shirt. Coming from a soccer background he is the brother of Sligo Rovers Legend Raphael Cretaro, in fact he himself contends he is a better player altogether
Div 1 POY
Darragh Kelly (Kilcullen AFC)
The D3 Player of the year this year goes to an 18 year old who has represented his current club not only at schoolboy level but also at international level with the Ireland U16 squad. Playing with his team from his hometown he has excelled both on and off the pitch scoring no less that 41 goals this season with numerous assists. In his first season at senior level he has played every minute of every game and never missed a training session. He brings with him a level of maturity, attitude and commitment to the team which is admired by all members of his club. His greatest strength is his wiliness to listen and be coached when needed, sacrificing his own game for the greater good of the team. Now in 3rd level education having completed his leaving cert this summer he is an integral part of the KDUL coaching staff and is heavily involved in the development of the younger players in the league and his own club.
Prem Div POY
Michael Lawless (Clonmullion FC)
This year’s Prem Div Player of the year goes to a player who joined his current club at the youthful age of 17 when he joined their very first youth team it didn’t take him long to break into the senior side playing at National level for Kildare County U21 along the way. He is without doubt one of the reasons his team have been unbeaten in 90 minutes over the season, making crucial saves at vital times in close games. He is a fierce competitor and natural leader, saving the first two penalties in the semi final shoot out in the premier league cup and in the league its self he actually scored a penalty that clinched the League title.
Senior Div POY
John Paul Higgins (Ballycane Celtic FC)
The Senior Div POY of the year goes to a player who burst into the senior ranks way back in 2005 at the youthful age of 17 having played his underage football locally. A few years later he suffered a serious leg break which threatened his career but the resilient centre back returned bigger stronger and hungrier than ever. In 2011 he joined his current club where he has improved immensely, so much so he was made captain this year where he guided the club to their second ever Lumsden league cup final. He wears his heart on his sleeve, is a born winner and never loses in an arial battle. Affectionately known as ‘Rocks’ for his hard but fair tackling ability he is a leader among his teammates and proves he can mix with the best in the league.
Manager of the Year
Joe Adibekov (Monead FC)
The Manager of the year awards goes to a manager who has been a member of the KDFL for over 6 years. As a player initially and for the last 5 years as manager of his senior side who have gained promotion each season since 2012. An extremely popular figure in Kildare League circles his enthusiasm and zest for the game is unparallel. Never one to shy away from giving his opinions and suggestions at league level he has also won several monthly Manager awards. Deciding recently to pursue a career in football management and coaching. He is currently undertaking a Level 7 Qualification in Carlow and all this while guiding his charges to the CR Wynne Feeds Senior League title, unbeaten, at their first attempt.
Photo Of the Year
Adrian Melia Photo of the Year – Garryhinch FC
From the crazy hats to the techicoloured scarf and infectious personality, Adrian Melia commanded the respect, admiration and gratitude of all who were lucky enough to know him.
Since 1994 he had been adorning the sidelines of every pitch across the County and beyond as he encapsulated the very best of grassroots from the KDFL in spectacular imagery for the Local and National Press. An ardent supporter of the KDFL since its foundation he prided himself on ensuring he covered every single team in the League each season. A professional to the end.
The KDFL’s success over the years is attributed in no small way to the exposure it has been afforded in the Provincial / National press and on Radio. Adrian covered games for the KDFL for various publications weekly and indeed the Leinster Leader being a major stakeholder. Our huge volume of clippings for the past 25 seasons are available to view here this evening. Each year at this time Adrian would have a special photo of the year award which he chose himself and took great pride in it’s presentation. To honour his legacy we decided to continue the tradition. The award was presented by Adrian’s partner Jeannie Frampton and his mother Paddy. Adrian was posthumously awarded the FAI John Sherlock Services to Football Award this year at the FAI Delegates dinner and his mother and Jeannie proudly accepted the award on his behalf. A fitting honour to the man and one which the KDFL are very proud of. Jeannie arranged for Newbridge Silver to commission a particularly beautiful piece which represents Adrian and his achievements. It is a perpetual trophy and this year went to Garryhinch FC.
League Cup MOM
Darren Kilbey (Suncroft AFC)
The League Cup MOM goes to last year’s KDFL overall player of the year. A most versatile player in his third full season with his current club. He is without doubt one of the main movers and shakers in his team’s hugely successful campaign this year. Capturing the Senior Cup and putting in an outstanding man of the match performance in his Club’s Lumsden League Cup victory.
Fair Play Award (Newbridge FC)
The Fair Play Award is presented to a club who reflect an exemplarily Disciplinary Record throughout the season. This year’s Club showed great restraint during their campaign in the Premier Division. First time recipients they , lucky for them, only 13 cautions. Recording their best Disciplinary record in the KDFL to date.
PRO of the Year (Brendan Rooney – Kilcock Celtic FC)
The PRO of the year is presented to an individual who displays an extraordinary understanding of the requirement to achieve maximum publicity for their club. This year’s recipient has been with his current club for a number of years when he joined their senior set up and later progressed to the o35. He is a qualified referee who has officiated at all levels from U7 to Senior Level. Unfortunately due to illness he was forced to step down mid way as manager of his senior side that finished up runners up in their league but it wasn’t long before he became involved in the Boardroom. He currently runs the clubs vibrant Social Media page where you will find numerous posts daily, 7 days a week as he reports on all things soccer. His posts are always positive and encouraging while promoting inclusion at all levels of the game with photo and video coverage keeping the wider community of this north Kildare Club updated on all his clubs activities.
In Appreciation (Mick Byrne – O’Neills Sports)
The KDFL In Appreciation award goes to an individual who contributes in a positive way to the leagues success and this year is no different. The award this year is dedicated to a man who has supported the league for over 2 decades as the main O’Neills Sports Representative for this area. Many clubs in the KDFL will know him to be a very endearing individual. From the leagues point of view our association no doubt has continued as a result of our friendship with him. The company have sponsored the apparel for our Lumsden League Cup Finalists and Officials for over 20 years, in turn ensuring that both teams are dressed to impress on the biggest day of their footballing calendar. We are grateful for his and O’Neill’s Sports continued support and gladly make the presentation to the legendary Mick Byrne as a measure of our gratitude.
Special Merit (Rathangan AFC)
The Special Merit award is presented to a club who show great initiative in their promotion and development of the game in their area and this year it goes to a club who are members of the KDFL since 1995. They have enjoyed on going success in the league over the years, participating in all strands of the game from numerous underage sides through to Senior Men and Women. They possess a stalwart committee dedicated to promoting of association football in their sleepy canal side village. The past year has seen major development at the clubs ground on Canal road where they developed their new playing surface and ancillary works and only last week began development of their walking track and car park with further development to include an all weather facility in the not too distant future.
Young Player of the Year
Brandon O’ Keeffe – Kildare Town
The KDFL Young Player of the year has been with his current club from the age of seven. It was apparent from that early stage that he would become a top talent. Coming from the U17 set up this season he broke into the senior side and within two weeks had claimed his spot at the highest level in the KDFL. With lightening pace and superb skill to match he has proved a most difficult opponent in the League’s top Flight while notching up an impressive goal tally to boot. He has now returned to Youth football with his club during the KDFL’s closed season and there is no doubt he will set the Senior Division alight on his return in 2019.
Womens Player of the Year
Jessica Turner – Newbridge Colts
The KDFL 2018 Women’s player of the year goes to a player who has been with her club for the last two seasons. She is a fantastic club member, always positive, willing to help out and very supportive of her team mates and management alike. She has really moved up another level in terms of performance this season, impressing in both the attacking and defending aspects of the game. She has led by example, played where ever she was needed and scored some really important goals. She has represented the league at national level also as an integral part of the side that reached the Semi Finals of the Angela Hearst Interleague trophy. Captaining her Club side on a number of occasions where they have secured Women’s division 1 league title and Shield trophy.
Overall Player of the Year
Ray Coleman – Suncroft AFC
This year’s overall player of the year goes to a player who rejoined his current club in 2015 when they competed in the Premier League, That season saw them promoted back to the top flight as league winners. The following season he was named captain where the club enjoyed success as runners up in both the league and cup. Last year, in the clubs 40th anniversary year would prove a very special occasion in more ways than one for this player when he lifted both the Lumsden League cup and senior League title. Playing his finest season this year would prove memorable as under his captaincy the club would retain the League cup trophy and secure the senior cup. He is a born leader and a very endearing individual and extremely popular among his peers.
Special Service Award
Pat Mc Kenna – Straffan AFC
The Special Service award is an award bestowed on a person who has given extraordinary service in the KDFL. This year again we have not one but two worthy Recipients.
The first recipient has been a member of his club for over 40 years. He joined their committee in the 1980’s and is undoubtedly one of the longest serving members of the club. He has served the office of groundsman, committee Member, team manager and chairman. He managed the team in the early 80’s but took a step back to concentrate on committee work in the late 80’s early 90’s. He was tempted back into a managerial position in 1996 and again brought success to the team. A very quiet and unassuming individual he is always available of any task that is asked of him.
Special Service Award
Kevin Murphy – Monasterevin AFC
The other recipient of this year’s special service has given no less that 46 years to the game in his area. His early football days were played at a local club competing in the Leinster Junior League in the early 70’s. In 1982 he was a founding member of his current club. In the early 90’s he became player/Manager of their second team and began managing their underage teams where he can still be found today. In 1996 he hung up his boots and took up the whistle but soon discovering it was not for him. The following season he went back playing and faded gracefully into retirement however in 2009 he made an astonishing comeback as an over 35 player, albeit a very ‘over age’ player at the age of 57! Eventually retiring 4 years later. He returned to management in 2014 and guided his charges to the Georgina Donnolly Premier Cup title. He has held every position in his club from Groundsman to Chairman.
Club of the Year Award – Suncroft AFC
The KDFL Club of the year for 2018 goes to a founding member Club of the League. Through the years they have had undeniable success and this year has been no different. Capturing endless trophies in all sections of the game in the KDFL over the years they have been ever present since 1994.
Over the last number of year the Club have been to the fore in development both on and off the field, most notably with the fantastic development of their local community facility which boasts a state of the art auditorium, shop, café and extensive children’s play area. The Committee of this Club were deeply invested on the board of the local CDG through the development and fundraising stages and are now reaping the rewards of their years of tireless commitment. On the field they boast an extensive underage section catering for all age groups, thus securing the future of the junior game and giving the children a much needed pathway. From the KDFL’s perspective the Club hosted what was arguably one of the most successful League Cup finals in recent years from both a playing and spectator point of view, last season leaving no stone unturned on the day to ensure what was a most enjoyable event for everyone involved. This year we experienced some of the worst weather in the days leading up to the final but the Club rallied to ensure the grounds were playable when all seemed lost. With a stalwart Committee in place and healthy membership the future is certainly bright for this vibrant Kildare Club. They have been most successful again this season with their Senior side picking up the Lumsden League Cup and Senior Cup titles and Senior League runners up position.