Dublin hurling manager Anthony Daly. Picture: Sportsfile
DUBLIN’S All-Ireland semi-final exit to Mayo last September prompted a rapid ‘will he, won’t he’ saga around the future of Ciarán Kilkenny.
Namely, would the prodigious Castleknock youngster take the handsome offer of a professional contract with Hawthorn or remain at home and continue his studies with UCD and persevere with his burgeoning GAA career with the Dublin footballers and/or hurlers.
Now, after announcing his decision to remain and turn his Christmas break from the AFL into a permanent homecoming after just a brief taste of life in the pro lane, the subject of whether he will attempt to combine both codes in 2013 à la Eoin Cadogan has emerged.
It’s a given that he will declare for the Dublin footballers and that he will be welcomed aboard by Jim Gavin but Kilkenny had, according to Anthony Daly (pictured), intended to combine the codes this year prior to his signing with Hawthorn.
“I haven’t spoken to him yet and I would be conscious that the last few days have been a turbulent time in his life, but we would be hoping to make contact with him in the next few days,” Anthony Daly told the Evening Herald after news broke yesterday of Kilkenny’s announcement.
“But it would be great to see him hurling for Dublin and we would be willing to compromise and hopefully the footballers would too . . . if that’s what Ciarán wants, of course.”
“The last thing we want to do is put undue pressure on him but he said in the past he would like to combine both and we would do anything we could to facilitate him.”
Kilkenny is, according to Daly, just the right age to try such a rare feat, and there remain isolated instances of some players trying both.
Cadogan is the obvious example, and Damien Cahalane – son of former Cork defender Niall – has recently chosen football over hurling, following in the footsteps of Aidan Walsh and Ciarán Sheehan. Conal Keaney – a player who excelled like Kilkenny as an underage player, particularly in hurling – remains the last man to attempt to play both in the same season, and that trial lasted just one year back in 2004.
“We would love to see him (Kilkenny) involved in some capacity,” added Daly.
“I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t play a couple of league matches for the footballers and a couple with us. It would be a massive bonus to have some access to Ciarán. We hadn’t expected this news to break.”
– Conor McKeon- Evening Herald