Tuesday, 31 May 2011

423 Ciaran Toner

Position : Midfield

Played : 2008-09  to  2009-10

Appearances : 50

Goals : 1

Ciaran was signed in the summer on a free from Grimsby. He began his career at Tottenham but made his League debut on loan at Peterborough in 2001. After a further loan spell at Bristol Rovers he was released in 2002 without having appeared for Spurs. He signed for Leyton Orient where he scored twice in 50 games and won a couple of caps for Northern Ireland in 2003. In 2004 he moved to Lincoln and scored twice in 15 games before his infamous training ground fight with Marcus Richardson saw him exiled to Cambridge on loan to the end of the season. He then moved on to Grimsby. He spent 3 seasons at Grimsby and finished joint top scorer with 8 in 2006-07. The following season he struggled with injury and his contract was cancelled by mutual consent having played 94 games and scored 14 goals. Consensus among the Grimsby fans suggested that he was inconsistent but he was often played out of position on the left.

I’d noticed Ciaran playing against us and thought he was a good player so I was quite excited when we signed him. He had to wait a few games for his chance in central midfield but when it came he immediately looked a better partner for Gary Jones than Clark Keltie. Ciaran was a good all-rounder who got up and down the pitch giving the backline some protection as well as making some surging runs from midfield. He was also a much better tackler than Keltie, able to put his foot in without getting booked. His first touch was a bit shaky but he usually got away with it. He only got one goal but it was pretty special, a 40-yarder at Aldershot that won him Rochdale’s Goal of the Season.

For the first half of the 2009-10 season he was struggling with a shin splints injury, then spent a long period on the bench as 4th choice midfielder and we were virtually promoted by the time he got back in the side. Playing in the dismal run of games after promotion didn’t do his chances of a new contract any good and I could tell from his muted participation in the victory parade that he knew his time was up.

Ciaran had a trial at Luton but eventually ended up at Harrogate Town. This was surprising as he was more than good enough for the likes of Accrington or Morecambe but perhaps he has some injury that won’t take full-time training.

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