Kilroot winds up after five decades

The local footballing fraternity was saddened last week with the news that Kilroot Rec, who celebrated their 50th birthday over a year ago, are no more.

Kilroot have been on the slide ever since finishing 7th in 1c in 2012. For the next three seasons, they’ve been rooted to 1c’s bottom step and since the departure of Paul Hannan, there have been a succession of managers, such as Trevor Gault, Terry Thomas, Alan Craig, Jim Skelly and Alan Brennan but finding the light at the end of the tunnel has been difficult, despite the move to their new Intermediate ground at Castleview Road, Whitehead.

This season, too, Kilroot dispensed with their second team which hopefully would have added to the first team pool but for their penultimate fixture of the season, they arrived at Bangor Swifts with a mere seven players, and no manager.

As Kilroot supremo Mervyn Smith said, the club has been struggling for players.

He added: “It was the first time in 51 years we have been unable to fulfil a fixture. It was so embarrassing.

“We had made some signings some months ago, but results didn’t really improve – and in some of our last matches, we only had two subs.

“People are wondering why we pulled the plug with just one game to go, but we were almost going to do it at Christmas. Some players these days think nothing of missing matches and training.

“That lack of training was hurting us – so many matches we were well in the game only to fall away in the second half.”

Kilroot thus won’t be playing their last fixture, away to 1c champions Colin Valley and the 8 points secured this season will be wiped from the records.

As Mervyn concluded: “The club would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in the club throughout the ICI and Kilroot days and there are way too many to name.

“Many players, managers, sponsors, supporters contributed to the success of the club and its reputation for fairness and sportsmanship throughout the 51 years. We would also take this opportunity to thank the NI Amateur League and the Co Antrim FA for their organisation.”