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Ciaran: I couldn't refuse Aussie Rules chance

CIARAN KILKENNY says the opportunity to play professional sport in Australia was a chance he couldn't turn down.

The young Dublin star will embark on the initial stages of his AFL stint in November when new club Hawthrorn begin pre-season training.

"This is not a decision I reached lightly but the opportunity to experience a different culture, test myself in a new code and live the life of a professional athlete is one I could not pass up," said Kilkenny.

Already, Dublin hurling boss Anthony Daly has described the loss of Kilkenny - who attended a recent meeting of next year's hurling panel - as a "big loss" to his plans, while new football manager, Jim Gavin rates the player highly after working with the Castleknock man during this year's All-Ireland Under 21 win.