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Dublin: 1°C Friday 5 March 2021

Ireland U21 international delighted after Championship debut

It’s been a week to remember for Bournemouth’s Gavin Kilkenny.

Gavin Kilkenny (file pic).
Gavin Kilkenny (file pic).
Image: John Walton

IRELAND U21 INTERNATIONAL Gavin Kilkenny has expressed his delight after recently making his Championship debut.

The 20-year-old midfielder had previously made three EFL Cup appearances for Bournemouth.

And last week, the highly rated Dubliner made his Championship debut, coming on in the dying minutes of the 4-0 win over Barnsley that helped the club to their current position of second in the table.

Speaking to the official Bournemouth website this week, Kilkenny, who joined the club from St Kevin’s Boys as a 16-year-old, said:  “This felt a long, long way away [when I joined]. At that stage, I’m not sure I thought this would ever happen, it was a whole different world when I came over.

The first three years were a lot of hard work with a lot of ups and downs, having to keep going when sometimes it didn’t look like it would happen.

“To actually get through the door of the first team last season was probably the toughest thing to do, then staying there and trying to get game time after that.

“It’s still the same now in a way, I never want to be satisfied with where I am. I can see I’m a million miles from where I was – but I always want more.”

Kilkenny appeared on the bench four times for the Cherries during last season’s Premier League campaign, and prior to last week, was an unused sub on three occasions this season, so his debut was a long time coming.

“It was nice to finally get it, it felt like it would never come! It actually hasn’t been too long but it’s felt long, it’s great that the manager’s had a bit of faith in me and gave me my debut.

“You always hope the team’s going to go up with the score, like we did against Barnsley, then it kind of opens the door for the debuts.

“When we went 3-0 then 4-0 I think all us young lads on the bench were rubbing our hands, thinking ‘this could be us now.’ Jaidon (Anthony) had come on a bit earlier, me, JZ (Zemura), Nnams (Ofoborh) would love to come on too.

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“Sudge (Surridge) scored the fourth and we were all just praying, I was warming up with Nnams when he scored, sprinting up and down the touchline even harder.

It’s great for Sudge because he deserves it. He came on against Preston, did really well and it’s been only a matter of time until he got the goals, he’s been showing for a while that he can do it — even in the back end of last season in the Premier League.

“That it was him who got the goal that maybe gave me my chance was lovely.”

Kilkenny also described the mood in the dressing room post-match at Oakwell, as well as the reaction of his family back home in Beaumont.

“When we got back the manager gave us a little talk, we’d needed the win after the Preston game, everyone was delighted to do that.

Then my phone was popping a bit, as you might expect. Everyone was going mad, especially with everyone watching the game on Sky and the Premier League not having a game.

“My family haven’t been over in a while but they were buzzing. I was speaking to my mum and dad that night back in Bournemouth, my uncle as well, everyone was watching it.

“It was a great occasion and a great time to do it, with the team going top of the league.

“The next appearances are going to be the hardest ones to get now, breaking in and putting a few appearances together, hopefully even a few starts.

“I’ve been in and around it for over a year now with the Premier League, I’ve always felt like I’m ready but as you go on and get used to it and the standard you feel like there’s no reason why not.

“It’s about getting that chance and then seeing if you can take it.”

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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