Friday 22 February 2019

Team goals come first: Kilkenny

IN-FORM: Sure, official statistics partner of GAA, ambassador Ciarn Kilkenny. Pic: Sportsfile
IN-FORM: Sure, official statistics partner of GAA, ambassador Ciarn Kilkenny. Pic: Sportsfile

Nominated twice for Footballer of the Year but never scored in an All-Ireland SFC final in five attempts (including 2016 replay) - Ciarán Kilkenny's career has been one of mostly high achievement yet some, albeit very few, boxes remain unticked on his list.

"Generally, the way I'd approach the game, and I think my team-mates would be the same, is just to get yourself as prepared as you can, physically and mentally, just put yourself in the best position to put in the best performance for the team to get a result," he insists after a League campaign that saw him finish as the early front-runner for this year's Footballer of the Year gong.

Given Kilkenny has played in all but the full-back line of the Dublin team, it was no surprise to see his game undergo further revolution this year.

He scored just the second and third goals of his Dublin career in this year's League, having spent brief spells in some of those matches in his old underage haunt of full-forward.


The upshot is that the Castleknock man scored 2-13 from just 18 shots at goal, a conversion rate that represents a remarkably efficient return.

"I'd be a very competitive person, whether it's in table tennis, or tennis, or golf, or whatever it is," he explains.

"At the end of the day, you're doing what you can to help your team or enable your team to win or get a result. That's the primary focus for me as a Dublin player.

"Whatever way I can help the team, whether it's playing half-back or playing in goals or playing full-forward, wherever it is on the field, wherever I can contribute to helping the team get over the line is my primary focus as a player."

The club-only month of April was a welcome break from all matters Dublin-related, Kilkenny explains.

"I think a lot of the lads really enjoyed that whole experience playing more games (for their clubs) and pick up a bit of momentum with the club," he said after Castleknock recorded Dublin SFC1 wins over Clontarf and St Brigid's to secure their passage to the quarter-final with a game to spare.

"I got to play a bit of hurling as well and it means a lot to the boys and girls around the community as well and it gives them great inspiration to see players playing with their club.

"There's a great buzz and energy to be back in with your club-mates and there's a great energy then around the club championship as well."

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