When the dust finally settles on the 2016 GAA calendar year, and regardless what the outcome is between Dublin and Mayo on September 18th, the GAA/GPA would be misguided should they not bestow an All Star Award on Dublin’s Ciaran Kilkenny.
If there was ever a template to teach you consistency at the highest level, the Castleknock king is surely the model.
At 23, Kilkenny is ruling the roost, and orchestrating some of Dublin’s many attacking plays. And this is someone who left Ireland for Australia four years ago for a career in Aussie Rules football.
In less than three weeks time, Ciaran will be one of Dublin regulars who’ll be hoping to thread two All Ireland titles together and stand shoulder to shoulder with the greatest teams of the game.
But the expectations of these fine men don’t weigh heavy, and like always, indeed like last year after a stiff two game showdown with Mayo, it will be business as usual, and just another game to prepare for.
“We have to prepare for it like that,” Ciaran told the Herald after Sunday’s acid test with Kerry, “like we do for every other game.”
This is the trait we’ve come to know and indeed love in Jim Gavin’s group.
Jim, a facilitator of their talents, more than a manager, has instilled this air of unwavering calm among them, making them less likely to be distracted when it comes to their preparations. Something attributed to Ciaran choosing this band of brothers over a different life on the other side of the world.
“It’s not even about being successful,” he says. “The thing that re-iterated that I made the right decision is the bond that you have with the lads on the team.”
“Lads from different clubs in the county, how well we get on. We would literally do anything for each other.”