Kilkenny leaves AFL to return to Dublin
Updated: Friday, 11 Jan 2013 18:06
Ciarán Kilkenny has cut short his Aussie Rules career with AFL outfit Hawthorn to return to0 Dublin.
Kilkenny, a rising star of Dublin GAA in both codes, announced his decision this morning after spending less than four months Down Under.
His decision will no doubt be welcomed in the capital as the pivotal force in the Dublin U-21 football side that won All-Ireland honours in 2012. He also made his senior debut for the Dubs last summer.
In a statement Kilkenny said he had enjoyed his experience in Australia and was grateful to Hawthorn for providing him with the opportunity to experience life as a professional athlete.
"The professionalism of the club was exemplary and they always made me feel very welcome.
"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.
The Dublin dual player said he had come to appreciate the things that make Ireland unique such as the way of life and the GAA.
Kilkenny played in Dublin's All-Ireland winning U-21 side last May and scored three points for the senior side in the All-Ireland semi-final defeat against Mayo.