Kilkenny City’s twenty-year run as a League of Ireland club is over and there will be no Black and Amber Cats in action in senior soccer this coming season. The sad news was confirmed earlier this week by the FAI’s chief executive, John Delaney.
Due to a combination of poor results and dwindling attendances, the future of Kilkenny City had been in doubt for some time and while the outcome will not come as a surprise to many, it will still be a shock that it has actually happened.
It is understood there are debts of about €50,000 and the club was being kept going by a small band of hardworking volunteers and backers. Last season, the Cats finished bottom of the league with just five wins and eleven draws from 36 games.
Kilkenny City owns its own ground Buckley Park on the outskirts of the city. It is acknowledged as one of the best in the county with two stands providing seated accommodation for 3,000 spectators. It has hosted several underage internationals and Mr. Delaney said he hoped it could be maintained in its current, high-class state as he believed the club was only ‘taking a breather’ and would be back.
There were great celebrations in 1984 when the club was elected to the new First Division of the League of Ireland. It had come into existence in junior football as Emfa, an amalgamation of two street-names in Kilkenny, and the club later changed its name to Kilkenny City and was promoted to the Premier Division.
One of the club’s founders, Jimmy Rhatigan, is still the general manager and is one of the best known and respected names in Irish soccer.