Kilkenny coming home to Dublin
GAA:A matter of weeks after making the move to Australia, Dubliin youngster Ciarán Kilkenny has decided to turn his back on Aussie Rules and return home. The teenager had agreed a professional contract with AFL side Hawthorn but Kilkenny will leave Melbourne and resume his dual role with the Dublin footballers and hurlers.
The 19-year-old Castleknock player is considered one of the most promising players in the country and it was little surprise that he attracted the attention of a number of AFL clubs. However, Kilkenny has said his love of Gaelic sports is more important to him than “any of the benefits to be obtained from professional sport”.
“As much as I enjoyed the lifestyle of a professional Aussie Rules player and relished the challenge of achieving in a different code, I realised that it would never matter as much to me as the sense of community and joy I get from togging out and playing alongside the people with whom I grew up and live,” Kilkenny said in a statement this morning.
“Achieving success and realising my potential as a hurler and footballer with my club and county will always be more important to me than any of the benefits to be obtained from professional sport. It may seem like a short time to spend in Australia but I have always given absolute commitment to any team in which I was involved and I feel it would be unfair on both Hawthorn and myself to continue in a situation where I am not 100 per cent committed and happy in myself.
“I’ve come to realise also that although I enjoy the game of Australian Rules football, it could never replace the satisfaction I get from the round ball or a sliotar.
Sport has always been something I did for enjoyment and I have found that it’s not something I can do merely because it’s my job. The passion I feel for hurling and football is not transferrable to any other sport and seeing my neighbours and team mates happy when we do well is reward enough.
“Going to live in Australia was never something I felt I had to do. I always said however that if I didn’t go I might have doubts or questions later on in life but having spent some time there now I’m happy that that those doubts and questions will not arise. Now I’m looking forward to getting back involved in what I feel truly passionate about, hurling and football with my club, and seeing where that takes me.”
Kilkenny was a key figure for Dublin in winning last year’s All-Ireland under-21 football title – as he had been for the county minors 12 earlier ago when they reached both All-Ireland finals only to lose to Tipperary in football and Galway in hurling. He had also begun to make a mark at senior level and kicked three points from play having started the All-Ireland football semi-final defeat by Mayo.