AN EARLY BOUT OF AUSSIE RULES INFLUENCED THE KILKENNY LEAP OF FAITH
A moment that seemed to mystify a lot of onlookers this past Saturday in Croke Park was Maurice Deegan awarding a free to Cillian O’Connor following a throw ball around the 64th minute of the All Ireland Final Replay.
Some saw it as a push from different vantage points but it’s quite clear now from various footage that Ciaran Kilkenny quite literally flew through the air where he clearly shouldn’t have been.
The throw in was to be contested between Michael Darragh MacAuley and Barry Moran. However before the ball came down between these two players, out of nowhere, the Castleknock man displayed the most amazing hang time to fist the ball away. Sadly he was the third man when there should only have been two and Deegan had no option but to award the free to Mayo.
We’re all aware of Ciaran’s brief encounter with Aussie Rules a few year ago, but thankfully for Dublin, Castleknock and of course St. Pat’s Teacher Training College he decided to return home.
Kilkenny has become one of the main stays in the Dublin Senior football panel, but is never far away from watching a game of rules.
Early Saturday morning Ciaran was up watching the AFL Grand Final between the Western Bulldogs and the Sydney Swans, were the Bulldogs ended a 62-year wait to lift the title.
So you could forgive Ciaran later that evening for having the game still nestling in the back of his mind.
“When they do the ruck and when they throw the ball up a third man is allowed to come in and hit it if he wants.” Ciaran explained to the42.ie.
“So I went in and I did that but Maurice Deegan gave a free against me. So all I was thinking was I need to get a kick out, I need to get on the ball and kill the game and try and make up for it.”
And like he had done for most of this Championship campaign, Ciaran once again upped his workmate and orchestrated the majority of Dublin’s exchanges for the remainder of the game. And for his efforts he was awarded one of the fifteen places on the RTÉ panel’s Team Of The Year
“I’m delighted, but some credit has to go to Mayo, we have massive respect for them they put us to our collar last year and in the drawn game and again today but we just got the few scores towards the end. Hopefully we can kick on and keep the train going.”
In describing the atmosphere and camaraderie among the panel this year, Ciaran admitted it was quite different. The group have all grown together under the guidance of Jim Gavin and even during yesterday’s celebrations in Smithfield you could feel a very special bond.
“We are all so committed to it we give so much time to it outside of training. We go to the sea together, we go for food together. So it’s so special to win with this group of players who love spending time with each other, we nearly miss each other now in the off season.”