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Ciarán will excel: Clarke

MARTIN CLARKE has predicted a "huge year" for Ciarán Kilkenny after the Castleknock prodigy turned his back on Aussie Rules to concentrate on his career with the Dubs.

According to Clarke, the former Down footballer currently enjoying his second stint as an Aussie Rules professional, Kilkenny can flourish now that he's free to concentrate on his football, free from wondering if he was making the right decision.

"I had been out of the game for three years when I returned from Collingwood, and I don't believe my time in the AFL was positive for my Gaelic football," writes Clarke in his newspaper column. "It takes you so long to get used to the pace of the game again, to get in the right positions to get involved in the play, to perfect the unique skills.

"Ciarán was gone from October to January. It was like having an off-season training hard in the sun. Perfect! And he will appreciate being a Dublin player now, more than ever," he adds.

TYRONE (SF v UUJ): P McConnell; B Tierney, C McCarron, D McNally; R McNamee, Joe McMahon, R McKenna; C Clarke, S Cavanagh; K Gallagher, J Lafferty, P Kane; M Penrose, Mark Donnelly, C McAlliskey.