Ciarán Toner

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Ciarán Toner
Ciaran Toner.jpg
Toner playing for Harrogate Town in 2010
Personal information
Full name Ciarán Toner
Date of birth (1981-06-30) 30 June 1981 (age 35)
Place of birth Craigavon, Northern Ireland
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Rotherham United
(Academy Coach)
Youth career
1998–2000 Tottenham Hotspur
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2000–2002 Tottenham Hotspur 0 (0)
2001–2002 Peterborough United (loan) 6 (0)
2002 Bristol Rovers (loan) 6 (0)
2002–2004 Leyton Orient 52 (2)
2004–2005 Lincoln City 15 (2)
2005 Cambridge United (loan) 8 (0)
2005–2008 Grimsby Town 94 (14)
2008–2010 Rochdale 50 (1)
2010–2011 Harrogate Town 32 (2)
2011–2012 Guiseley 44 (6)
2013–2015 Gainsborough Trinity 52 (9)
National team
2000–2003 Northern Ireland U21 17 (1)
2003 Northern Ireland 2 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 21:29, 12 February 2015 (UTC).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 13:57, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Ciarán Toner (born 30 June 1981 in Craigavon) is a Northern Irish former professional footballer and academy coach at Rotherham United. As a player, he played as a midfielder from 2000 to 2015.

He came through the youth academy at Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur and was promoted to the club's first team during the 2000–01 season, but after loans to both Peterborough United and Bristol Rovers he was eventually released in 2002 without playing a first team game for the club. He then spent two years with Leyton Orient before joining Lincoln City for the 2004–05 season. His season with The Imps ended in controversy as he was loaned out to Cambridge United for the remainder of the season following a training ground bust up with teammate Marcus Richardson. Toner would end up suffering relegation to the Conference National with Cambridge while his parent club lost out on promotion in the League Two Play-off final. Following a trial he signed for Grimsby Town the following season and remained with The Mariners for three seasons and suffered a play-off final defeat in his first year. In the summer of 2008 he joined Rochdale and was part of the side that earned promotion to League One during the 2009–10 campaign. He was released by the club shortly afterwards and dropped into Non-league football for the first time in his career by signing for Conference North sides Harrogate Town, and a year later Guiseley. He remained clubless for the entire 2012–13 season and instead joined the coaching staff at Rotherham United before returning to playing at the age of 32 when he signed with Gainsborough Trinity in September 2013.

He has also earned two caps in 2003 for Northern Ireland, before that he earned 17 caps, scoring once for the Northern Ireland U21 side.

Club career[edit]

Tottenham Hotspur[edit]

Toner was promoted to the first team setup at White Hart Lane at the beginning of the 2000–01 season. He failed to make an appearance for the club in his two seasons at the Premiership outfit, but spent time on loan with Peterborough United and Bristol Rovers, before being released at the end of the 2001–02 season.

Leyton Orient[edit]

His next port of call was to sign with Leyton Orient. He made his debut for the Brisbane Road club on the opening day of the 2002–03 season, with a 3–2 victory over Macclesfield Town. Toner went on to make just over 60 appearances for the club in his two-season stay. He scored twice, his first coming in a 1–1 away draw with Hull City on 31 August 2002. While with Orient, Toner impressed enough to be called up to the Northern Ireland international team, where he played in two games, against Spain and Italy.

Lincoln City[edit]

At the start of the 2004–05 season, Toner was signed by Lincoln City manager Keith Alexander on a one-year deal. He became a first team regular at Sincil Bank, scoring vital goals in victories over the club's rivals Grimsby Town and Mansfield Town. Toner made 17 appearances for The Imps, scoring twice, before being severely disciplined by the club for a "training ground incident" involving teammate Marcus Richardson. The pair were both fined by the club, made available for transfer, and loaned out too other clubs. An unexpected end to the season for the Irishman and he spent the remaining two months on loan with Cambridge United. Toner made eight appearances for United, and the club were eventually relegated from the Football League at the end of the season.

Grimsby Town[edit]

Following the end of his loan deal at Cambridge, Keith Alexander decided against renewing Toner's one-year deal, and he was released from Lincoln a few weeks after the end of the 2004–05 season. During July 2005, Toner joined up with Grimsby Town on an initial trial period he was one of many players on trial at the club that summer and was invited by the club to take part in there pre-season British Army boot camp. Shortly before the start of the season Town manager Russell Slade rewarded Toner with a one-year contract, to which he accepted. In his first season with Grimsby Toner initially found it hard to break up Slade's favoured central midfield role of Paul Bolland and Jean-Paul Kamudimba Kalala. It wasn't until Kalala joined up with the DR Congo international side for the African Nations Cup midway through the 2005–06 season that Toner began to find his feet in the first team. Toner however would eventually lose his place again when Slade signed Curtis Woodhouse in the January transfer window. Grimsby would go on to defeat former side Lincoln City in the Play-off semi-finals before finally losing out in the final at the Millennium Stadium to Cheltenham Town, Toner however was an unused substitute in the final. In his second season at Blundell Park, Toner finished joint top scorer with eight goals, as he played a large part in keeping Alan Buckley's side in the Football League. Toner was rewarded and signed a new two-year deal in the summer of 2007. During the 2007–08 season, Toner struggled with fitness problems that curtailed his season, and eventually saw him play second fiddle to other players at the club, and at the end of the season Buckley decided to cancel his contract by mutual consent. Upon his departure from Blundell Park, he gave an interview to the local press stating that he always gave 100% and did not see any reason why the fans would not acknowledge this upon his future return. On 26 June 2008 it was confirmed that Toner would leave the club after agreeing with the club to cancel his contract, despite having one year remaining on the deal. While at Grimsby, Toner managed to score some important goals, two of them goals came against his former side Lincoln City, in the clubs local derbys. One of them came in a 3–0 home win for The Mariners in 2005, while the other came in a 2–1 away win for Grimsby in 2007. He had previously scored in 2004 for Lincoln in the same fixture.

Rochdale[edit]

Immediately after his release from Grimsby, he signed a deal with fellow League Two side Rochdale. He did not feature in Rochdale's first game of the season, against former club Grimsby Town at Blundell Park and instead, Toner made his debut against Oldham Athletic in the League Cup and throughout the 2008–09 season he became a first team regular mainly featuring alongside veteran Gary Jones in the centre of midfield. Toner became an integral part of the Dale side by making 37 appearances and scoring a wonder strike against Aldershot Town. Rochdale went on to finish sixth in the league and claim a play-off spot, but lost out in the final.

Toner had a race to be fit for the opening day of the 2009–10 football season after having problems with his ear drum in Rochdale's pre-season training camp in Marbella before suffering from shin splints which made him miss the rest of Rochdale's pre season matches. Toner won his race by being named as an unused substitute for Rochdale's opening day fixture to Port Vale. Dale were promoted to League One at the end of the season after finishing third in the table despite leading the league for a lengthy period of the season.

Harrogate Town[edit]

In August 2010 he signed for Conference North outfit Harrogate Town. He made his debut on 28 August 2010 in a 6–3 defeat to Boston United. On 4 September 2010, he scored his first goal for the club in a 2–2 draw at home to Hinckley United.

Guiseley[edit]

In July 2011 he joined Guiseley[1] reuniting him with former Grimsby teammates Danny Boshell and Jamie Clarke. After losing in the Conference North play-off semi-finals, he was released at the end of the 2011–12 season.[2]

Gainsborough Trinity[edit]

On 13 September 2013, after spending time with Rotherham United as a coach during the 2012–13 season, Conference North side Gainsborough Trinity announced the signing of Toner on a non-contract basis.[3]

International career[edit]

In 2003, Toner was called up to play for Northern Ireland in two matches for his country, replacing Damien Johnson in a friendly against Italy, and Thomas Doherty in a 0–0 draw with Spain.

Coaching career[edit]

During the 2012–13 season Toner remained without a club to play for and joined League Two side Rotherham United's coaching staff. He left United in the summer of 2013 and returned to the playing side of the game with Gainsborough Trinity.[3]

Toner currently holds the role of Youth Development Phase Lead at Rorherham United.

Honours[edit]

with Grimsby Town
with Lincoln City

References[edit]

External links[edit]