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Ciaran Kilkenny performs dramatic u-turn on Aussie Rules career
27 minutes ago
Only weeks after moving down under, Ciaran Kilkenny has turned his back on a career in Australian Rules Football.
The Castleknock youngster, who made a significant impact in his first season with the Dubs senior footballers last season and was an underage star in both codes in the past, released a statement this morning explaining his decision to cut his ties to Hawthorn with immediate effect.
Kilkenny had been linked with a move to Aussie Rules for a long time prior to confirmation of his move to Hawthorn was confirmed last September, two months before he travelled to Melbourne to link up with his new team-mates.
At that stage, Kilkenny spoke of returning to Ireland in “six or eight years”, but judging by his statement at least, it seems as if homesickness and a desire to return to the GAA played a big part in his decision to call time on his Australian experience.
Kilkenny praised Hawthorn and commented on how he enjoyed the challenges posed by playing AFL, but added: “Seeing Australia and a different way of life, also served to bring home to me the things that make Ireland so special.
“Obviously family and friends are important but I also came to really appreciate the things that make Ireland unique such as the people in general, the way of life and of course the GAA.
“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.
“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.”
Kilkenny’s statement can be read in full here and while it would have been interesting to see how far he would have gone in the AFL, his return will also be welcomed by new Dublin boss Jim Gavin and Dublin supporters looking forward to seeing one of the brightest talents in the GAA appear in a sky blue jersey once again.