CASTLEKNOCK’S Ciaran Kilkenny says he would “firmly rather be winning an All-Ireland” than still be in Australia playing AFL following Dublin’s dramatic one-point win over Mayo in the senior football final last Sunday in Croke Park.
Speaking on Monday, he said he was delighted with his decision to return to Ireland after a spell down under with Hawthorn even though he could have been playing in the grand final there had he stayed.
Kilkenny, though, says he has no regrets whatsoever: “Even just coming home for the banter and the craic you would have at training, they are probably the best moments with the team.
“It’s been an unbelievable feeling winning the All-Ireland. I’d firmly rather be here now winning an All-Ireland with the Dublin lads. I wanted to come home and play Gaelic and that’s what I had my mind on to come back and play football and do it to the best of my ability and try to win an All-Ireland with these lads.”
He is already looking forward to linking up with Castleknock’s hurlers, too, as they aim to progress their silverware ambitions.
“I’ve a club hurling game next weekend, a junior championship quarter-final against Cuala, and then we have Pat’s Donabate the week after in the football so I will be busy enough with the club stuff the next few weeks.”
He was part of a sizeable local contingent involved in the All-Ireland final, lining out alongside man of the match Bernard Brogan.
He produced the goods when it mattered most as his 2-3 – with 2-2 coming from play – proved a decisive factor for Dublin as they landed their second All-Ireland title in three years.
After a year in which other forwards have taken the limelight from the former footballer of the year, the St Oliver Plunketts/Eoghan Ruadh man made the defining impact in the 2-12 to 1-14 win.
Speaking afterwards, he said that the side has experience of coming back from deficits and showed their fighting qualities to land the ultimate prize.
“We pulled through games this year already that had been close and we’ve come from behind,” he said. “We just stuck to our gameplan and came out on top. That is what has worked for us all year. We never panicked. That is the one thing with Jim, he has had that calm around the place. No one ever panics.
“In fairness both teams went toe to toe and hit each other very hard, and it was very tense.
“There was nothing given easy and you had to work hard for scores. You’ve seen the amount of bruises, black eyes and torn hamstrings. It was a tough game but that’s what you’re going to get.”