CONOR MCKEON – 24 MAY 2013 02:30 PM
CIARAN Kilkenny last night trained for the first time with the Dublin U21 hurlers and admitted that he still harbours ambitions of lining out for the seniors one day.
Kilkenny, who excelled in both codes as a minor, has devoted his sole senior focus to Jim Gavin’s footballers this year after cutting short his professional contract with AFL club Hawthorn in January.
Hurling boss Anthony Daly even publicly admitted that he had failed to make contact with Kilkenny in order to put forward his case for entering into a dual arrangement with the footballers.
But yesterday, the Castleknock clubman hinted that as soon as next year, upon resuming his studies, he would reassess the situation.
“I’ve always said to Jim that I’ve a love of hurling and football and I’ve kind of said this year I’d give my priorities to the footballers because I’m just back from Australia and involved in a new job.
“(I said) I would concentrate on that and play a bit of hurling with the club and U21s so … that’s my priority for this year but I’m not ruling out in future that I’d could play dual,” he explained.
“I’m going to college next year and I’ll have a bit of down-time and that could be an opportunity to play a bit of hurling and football.
“Next year that’d be something I’d be kind of interested in doing (for Dublin), to give it a go because I’ll have so much time off college and it’ll be a great opportunity,” added Kilkenny.
Kilkenny, who injured a medial ligament in Dublin’s only defeat of the league against Tyrone back in March, also explained that he has resumed full fitness and is firmly back in the frame to play a part against Westmeath in Dublin’s championship opener on Saturday week.
He said: “I’m available for selection and have been training for the last three weeks. I’ll do whatever I’m called upon to do.
“I played club championships (football) two weeks ago and played a club hurling game the week before that and a bit of backs and forwards in training.”
Kilkenny also shrugged off the recent comments of Jack O’Shea. The Kerry great said in an interview that the Dubs star was just a “junior footballer”.
But Kilkenny says he just uses criticism to spur him on.
“You just have to take it in your stride,” he said. “If there’s any extra reason to get out of bed early that could be it.
“It didn’t affect me at all because you’re always going to get criticism as a fottballer.”