Saturday 17 March 2018

Ciaran Kilkenny focused on ice baths and Kerry after man-of-the-match peformance against Donegal

Ciarán Kilkenny of Dublin celebrates with John Small, left
Ciarán Kilkenny of Dublin celebrates with John Small, left
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

After putting in a sublime man-of-the-match performance, it’s straight to the ice baths for Ciaran Kilkenny as he turns his focus to an All Ireland semi-final with Kerry.

With James McCarthy withdrawn from the Dublin starting line-up before today’s 1-15 to 1-10 win over Donegal, Kilkenny dropped back to the half-back line and excelled for Jim Gavin’s defending champions.

“I am absolutely exhausted. It was exhilarating, some game of football. We know Donegal are a savage team, talented footballers,” said Kilkenny on Sky after the match.

“They are unbelievable on the counter attack and Ryan McHugh is some footballer and Michael Murphy. It had everything that game for the spectator, it was a brilliant game of football.

“I am absolutely exhausted now. I will have to do a few ice baths now over the next few days and get ready for Kerry in a few weeks’ time.”

Dublin, who finished the game with 13 men after Diarmuid Connolly and Eoghan O’Gara were red carded, looked to be cruising to an easy win but made hard work of the final 15 minutes as Donegal fought back to within striking distance.

It was a tough test that Dublin arguably needed and Kilkenny said afterwards that patience was key to breaking down a resolute Donegal defence.

“It’s about being patient and waiting for the right opportunity because they are so good in the tackle. You have to wait for the right opportunity and hopefully get a score because it is so hard to break them down.

“I really enjoyed that game of football. I am exhausted now and would say I lost four or five kilos. I’ll put the feet up now, delighted with that.”

On his new role in the half-back line, Kilkenny says he will play anywhere to benefit the team.

I don’t mind playing anywhere on the pitch. Underage I played full back to corner forward so anywhere I will do a job for the team.

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