Ciarán Kilkenny hails Castleknock’s volunteer vow

'It's all people volunteering their time and people who want to be there'
Ciarán Kilkenny hails Castleknock’s volunteer vow

Ciarán Kilkenny has been announced as an ambassador for a new SPAR Better Choices campaign. Kilkenny will be a key player for Dublin as they seek a sixth All-Ireland title on the bounce. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Dublin star Ciarán Kilkenny has praised his home club Castleknock for their declaration that all managers of teams for 2021 will be appointed "on a volunteer basis".

The announcement was made last week following a meeting of their executive and, if replicated in other clubs throughout the country, could prove hugely significant.

There is no suggestion that Castleknock had previously paid managers contrary to GAA rules though anecdotal evidence suggests that this is an issue generally for the amateur association, costing individual clubs thousands around the country each year.

Castleknock GAA confirmed in a statement that, "The executive at a meeting on the 19th October 2020 decided that all adult club teams would be managed on a volunteer basis. In addition, all management teams will be appointed by the club executive, on the basis of recommendations from two sub-committees established to oversee the selection process".

Dublin All-Ireland five-in-a-row hero Kilkenny, who competed with Castleknock in the 2016 Dublin SFC final, supported the move.

Speaking at a SPAR Better Choices promotion, Kilkenny said: "Someone mentioned it to me over the last few days about that. The person to ask about that would be the chairman of the club but I suppose from my perspective, when you're younger and you're representing your club, it's all people volunteering their time and people who want to be there.

"So it's great that they've gone down that way of looking for people from around the area or people who have played for the club and who want to get back involved with the club.

"It's a community-based sport within the club and that's the angle the executive have gone down. We're currently looking for new management as well so hopefully we can get a good management team in place and keep encouraging the juvenile teams within the club, boys and girls, and keep things going in the club and try to get as much boys and girls playing football at all levels and then move (them) on to senior levels and then try to get them involved in the club in other capacities, whether it's in coaching, fundraising or whatever capacity in the club.

Because the club is forever growing with Castleknock so it's just about keeping it going and keeping the energy flowing throughout the club.

Attacker Kilkenny is currently preparing for Dublin's Leinster championship opener against Westmeath on Saturday week.

Whilst the Dubs have lost key figures including boss Jim Gavin, All-Star Jack McCaffrey, Diarmuid Connolly and Bernard Brogan since last year's five-in-a-row success, Kilkenny has remained a reliable and solid performer.

Along with David Byrne, Brian Fenton and Dean Rock, he started every League game for Dublin this year, registering 0-13 and scoring in all bar the loss in Tyrone.

Kilkenny spoke after last year's All-Ireland final replay win over Kerry, when he was Man of the Match, about changing his approach for that game and playing with more freedom after being told by coach Declan Darcy to "pretend that you're a kid, you're an eight-year-old again".

Asked if he's kept up that carefree attitude this year, Kilkenny said: "As a player, you're always looking to add a different dimension to your game and Dessie (Farrell) and the coaching team are really encouraging me to go at the game a lot. I've enjoyed doing that and trying to add different layers to my game, thinking about the game differently and so on and it's been energising for me to get that feedback from the coaches to express myself that way and just go at the game. I feel like it's really triggered my mindset and helped me think about the game differently, while keeping the good things as well."

Dublin's rivals will be hoping the winter conditions are a leveller though Kilkenny insisted he'll be playing with a smile on his face whatever the weather.

"You just have to embrace it really," he maintained. "If it's raining, you just have to have a big smile on your face, even if it's lashing rain. You just have to embrace it, love going out on the soft ground, love going out in the rain and really enjoy it. You're going out playing games, we're so fortunate to be going out playing games so get the jersey on you and get out there and enjoy it."

- Ciarán Kilkenny is an ambassador for the new SPAR Better Choices campaign which is part of SPAR's continued efforts to keep families fit and healthy. As part of the campaign Ciarán will set a fun challenge for children to undertake with their family members throughout the month of November. The winning child will receive a training session with Ciarán for their class while the runners-up will receive sporting goods vouchers courtesy of SPAR.

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