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Kilkenny can join chase for Sam – Darcy

HAVING watched Dublin U21 footballer Ciarán Kilkenny over the past few seasons, former Dubs senior and U21 selector Declan Darcy is a confirmed admirer of the Castleknock prodigy.

Like current U21 manager Jim Gavin, he believes that, despite being in his Leaving Cert year, he could play a role in the pursuit of Sam Maguire this year.

“His balance is critical,” notes Darcy of the dual player’s range of talents. “He has two feet. His size is big for a guy straight out of minor. He’s able to power his way through players, no problem. Now, he is going to meet his equivalent strength-wise.

“But he’s also got skill and agility – he just has that knack of being in the right place at the right time.

“He’s just a natural forward. I don’t think you can coach that.”

As for the big question of whether Kilkenny has the tools to make a career in the AFL after his expected move to Australia this autumn, Darcy feels the task requires more than sheer ability.

“For Ciarán, I would suspect it’s his personality that would be key there,” he explains. “Has he got the personality to deal with going over there and living life there and all that kind of stuff?

“If not, I think he is better off staying at home and trying to better his Dublin career. I think he has a big future here and I would be delighted if he did.”

Darcy adds: “I think he could influence the senior championship later on this year. I would like to see him continue here. I don’t want to see him go.”