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Former Clonea hurler finds net for Blackpool against Liverpool at Anfield

Winger CJ Hamilton got opening goal for Blackpool in their pre-season friendly at Anfield. The Reds recovered to win 7-2.

Waterford's CJ Hamilton scored for Blackpool against Liverpool today.
Waterford's CJ Hamilton scored for Blackpool against Liverpool today.
Image: EMPICS Sport

CJ HAMILTON MAY not have been a name that too many Irish football fans knew an awful lot about. Well, until this afternoon that is.

The 25-year-old winger has had a nomadic career – putting in time with five clubs, including loan spells, in five years. As of June, Blackpool became his latest stopover and he has certainly hit the ground running, scoring their opening goal today as they built an unlikely 2-0 lead against Liverpool at Anfield.

Born in Harrow, Hamilton did his growing up in Clonea-Power in Waterford, where he played hurling for Clonea – the same club that former Irish international striker, Noel Hunt, hurled for.

In between hurling in Waterford’s underage leagues, Hamilton was also making a name for himself with local soccer teams, Portlaw and Carrick United. The first time his name appeared in print was in 2008, when he scored for the Waterford schoolboy league in a 2-1 victory over a Cork schoolboy selection that included current Irish international, Alan Browne.

Fast forward to today. Hamilton, who joined Blackpool on an undisclosed fee from Mansfield Town in June, scored Blackpool’s opening goal against Premier League champions, Liverpool. Yes, it was just a pre-season friendly in front of an empty Anfield. But still. Home defeats for Liverpool are rare events.

And when Blackpool went 2-0 up on 35 minutes, they must have wondered if it would be their day. Alas, it wouldn’t. They lost 7-2 – Matip, Firmino, Mane, Elliot, Minamino, Origi and Van den Berg scoring for the Reds.

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Elsewhere, Eoghan O’Connell, the former Celtic and Cork City defender, scored Rochdale’s winning goal in their EFL first round victory over Huddersfield. James Collins, the Ireland striker who was favoured by Mick McCarthy in last year’s Euro qualifiers, nabbed a hat-trick in Luton Town’s impressive 3-1 victory over Norwich City. Conor Wilkinson scored Leyton Orient’s winner in a 2-1 victory away to Forest Green Rovers.

Another player who had an impressive day was Aaron Drinan, who provided an assist on his Ipswich Town debut, as they beat Bristol Rovers 3-0. Dubliner Alan Judge also had an assist in that Ipswich victory.

Meanwhile, Ryan Manning – QPR’s former Ireland U21 international – scored the opener in a five-goal thriller at Plymouth. Argyle prevailed to win 3-2. There were also debuts for a number of Irish players – expertly chronicled by the @KennysKids Twitter account – including Rochdale’s 18-year-old keeper, Gavin Bazunu, who has been loaned to the club by Manchester City.

Two more Irish teenagers, Sean Roughan and Ryan Cassidy – also made club debuts, for Lincoln City and Accrington Stanley, respectively.

About the author:

Garry Doyle

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