Kilkenny stalls on Carlton decision

Dublin U21 football star Ciarán Kilkenny will wait until after his Leaving Cert before deciding whether to accept an offer of a trial from AFL club, Carlton.

Kilkenny has been in tremendous form in the capital side’s progression to Sunday’s Cadbury’s All-Ireland U21FC final against Roscommon but there are growing fears the Melbourne-based club may tempt him to a life Down Under.

He revealed yesterday: “At the moment it’s 50-50 and everything is on hold until after the Leaving Cert. Professional sport is obviously going to attract me. Some time between here and October I could go for a three-week trial over to Australia and see what it’s like over there. There was another camp with Tadhg Kennelly where we saw DVDs of Aussie Rules. I know how hard it is to make it over there and a lot of people struggle. The most appealing thing is playing professional sports six days a week. It’s a very tough decision to make. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher as well. My preference at the moment would be primary school, a Gaelscoil or I could be a secondary school teacher, teaching Irish and history. You could do a teaching course over in Australia as there is a module on Wednesday where everyone goes to college.”

After a series of devastating attacking displays for the Dublin minor side last summer and the U21 team this spring, Kilkenny has been touted for a call-up to Pat Gilroy’s senior squad. He is also a potential recruit for Anthony Daly’s Dublin hurling setup having lined out on the county minor side that reached September’s All-Ireland decider. But the Castleknock youngster has parked thoughts of senior championship action to focus on exams.

“I wouldn’t mind going up to either of them. Personally, I’d like to do both. But for now I’ll concentrate on my studies and see if they will talk to me when I’m finished. After the Leaving Cert, if I’m asked to go up, I would love to.”

Kilkenny has a rich GAA family heritage. His father John played at all levels for Dublin, his cousin Gearóid Ryan is a prominent member of the Tipperary senior hurling side, he has two cousins, Niamh and Orla, who line out for the Galway camogie team and he is also related to former Galway football great Sean Purcell. Over the past 12 months he has established his own reputation in GAA circles.

“I’d my oral exams last week and then I had a history project to do as well. I’m very busy at the moment in Scoil Chatríona but it is good to be in an Irish school. You just have to always get the balance. The last day against Cork in the All-Ireland U21 semi-final my preparation wasn’t the best and I wasn’t happy with my performance. I had exams that week and I wasn’t doing my usual routine and stuff but I’ll have my routine ready this week. I would stay away from papers, Facebook, Twitter, stuff like that before matches. I just concentrate on my game.

Kilkenny will also be in demand for the Dublin U21 hurlers this summer but will miss their opening Leinster championship assignment against Laois on June 6th as it clashes with the start of the Leaving Cert.

Sunday in Tullamore offers the chance of an All-Ireland U21 medal though and Kilkenny is hoping to atone for the All-Ireland MFC final loss he suffered last September with Dublin.

“Tipperary were a very good team and I was happy for them. But it always comes up in conversation between me and the lads with the team when we were talking how we lost. Beidh lá eile ag an bpaorach (Power will have another day) as the seanfhocail says. I’ve seen Roscommon on TV though and they’re a very strong team. They’re going to be very hard to beat.”


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