Ciaran Kilkenny relishing return to competitive action

by Stephen Findlater

Spar Better Choices ambassador Ciaran Kilkenny. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Ciaran Kilkenny is relishing being back in a competitive action after a long hiatus as he put in a player of the match performance in Dublin’s 2-15 to 0-15 win over Galway in the last match of the protracted 2020 national football league.

It concluded two wins from two since the return to action and while it was not enough to nick another league crown, Kilkenny says it has Dublin bubbling nicely ahead of next week’s championship opener against Westmeath.

“It’s been great to get back out there,” the Castleknock man said on Wednesday.

“The big thing was no one really knew where they were at. Two games under the belt, both really competitive against Meath and Galway and it leaves us in a great place for the championship.”

The Westmeath game on November 7 in the Leinster quarter-final could mark the first step to a tenth successive provincial crown.

But, in the current environment, the biggest pothole could well be away from the pitch. Recently, Roscommon travelled together in two team buses to Armagh but when a player tested positive, the rest of the bus was deemed a close contact and did not play in their next league tie.

With league matches being surrendered as walkovers, it shows the delicate balance there is to picking through the competition without a major setback.

“It’s such a privileged Spar Better Choices ambassador Ciaran Kilkenny. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile position and so there is a massive responsibility on each individual player to be diligent in their protocols and guidelines,” Kilkenny says of managing the
situation.

“We have been very good at that so far and that’s all you can really do as a player and a group, abide by the guidelines, because there is massive responsibility to protect ourselves, our families and everyone around us. We all understand and recognise that and so it has been to the fore in the group.”

He is visibly thrilled to be back in action, an infectious love for the sport he displayed through the first lockdown with his skills videos.

“It really brought myself and my mam together! She was my chief videographer and took part in a few videos as well. It was amazing to see all the boys and girls doing the skills. I remember looking at my screen time on my phone and it was around nine or ten hours because there was that much activity.

“Day by day, I had to think of a new school. I might be lying in bed at 10 or 11 at night, thinking what skill am I doing next?

“It challenged my mind and creativity. It was great to see kids use it to develop their skills and be creative and to see them develop was the inspiring thing. It also sharpened up my own skills as well and was my real purpose during lockdown.”

** Ciarán Kilkenny is an ambassador for the SPAR Better Choices campaign which is part of SPAR’s continued efforts to help 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.

For more information, visit www.SPAR.ie

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