CIARÁN KILKENNY SET TO RETURN TO FULL TRAINING WITH DUBLIN.
After eight months of frustration, rehab, looking on and more rehab, Dublin footballer Ciarán Kilkenny will be ready to return to full training with the county’s senior panel shortly after their training ban is lifted on December 8th.
One of the country’s most talented young footballers, the Dublin forward who is still only 21-years-old, was early last year approaching his second season as a regular starter in Jim Gavin’s team before a cruciate ligament tear put to bed any such aspirations.
The 2012 Cadbury’s Under-21 Hero of the Future, and 2013 All Star nominee sustained the season ending injury minutes into a league clash with Kildare last March, yet after the enforced term on the sidelines he’s now eyeing match fitness by the new year and a complete return in advance of the National League.
The Castleknock club man says he’s now learned his lesson in terms of being “a lot more intelligent” about the amount of games he plays following the long-term injury.
A dual player, Kilkenny had been representing his club, county and university in both codes and at numerous grades right up until his services were required by the county’s senior footballers two years ago. At which point he pulled the plug on his intercounty hurling ambitions.
“I’m hoping to be back training now in the next few weeks, before Christmas,” he says, “I’m working really hard now and should be fully ready to go from January onwards. I’ll be back training fully towards the end of December and I’m hoping to be back before the national league.”
The St Patrick’s College student says he’s currently training one-on-one in the gym, three to four times a week with the Dublin senior footballer’s head of athletic development Martin Kennedy – as well as doing “his own bit”.
“I’m waiting, not rushing back into it – I’d be alright now, but you just have to be cautious with these sort of injuries and make your legs as strong as you can before you go back .”
Before injuring his cruciate ligament Kilkenny had been linked to a possible role in the county hurling under-21 set-up. In 2011 he reached both the football and hurling All-Ireland minor finals, and despite losing both he displayed his wide array of skills in both codes.
“Yes I was going to play hurling (last year) but I didn’t in the end up. For now I’m just focusing on getting the knee right before I focus on anything like that really, but I suppose it is a lot easier to do that at minor level.
Obviously senior training is more strenuous and it’s more full time than minor so it’s very difficult to do it at the top level.
“It’s something that all dual players would love to do but as it gets more and more professional the harder it is to do.”
Still somewhat fresh off the plane after returning from his short-lived AFL career with the Hawthorn club in late January, and with a full appetite for the game which led him to turn his back on that professional career – to miss the last eight months of the season has been incredibly tough.
“Oh yeah it was difficult alright, it makes you appreciate it all a lot more and I’m just really looking forward to getting back now.
“I was talking to other lads who were experiencing it (including Kerry’s Colm “Gooch” Cooper) and they would have been great for giving me advice. The sport was just a big help and it shows you what a big community the GAA is, given the amount of lads who contacted me.”(IrishTimes)