Thursday 14 December 2017

If he's moving well I'm sure Diarmuid will return this year - Kilkenny

Dublin footballer Ciaran Kilkenny. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Dublin footballer Ciaran Kilkenny. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Michael Verney

When Jim Gavin talks about his Dublin squad, the triple All-Ireland-winning manager is keen to stress the culture fostered in the capital during this golden era.

It's often difficult to quantify what such terms mean, but speaking at the launch of Sure deodorant as official GAA statistics partners, Ciarán Kilkenny offered insight into happenings behind closed doors.

Being part of a well-oiled machine which continues to prosper requires honesty from all involved, and All-Star forward Kilkenny (pictured) revealed that the Dubs are always seeking improvement from each other.

"It's important within a culture that you have that honesty with someone in your team to say what you need to improve on, so generally I'd go to another player and get feedback and when you get time you'd go to the manager and selectors," Kilkenny said.

"First of all after a game you look yourself at where you need to improve, that's really where you'd be focusing on those stats, and your colleagues, your team-mates, your friends and then your selectors and managers would say it to you then."

Imperious

The Castleknock attacker was imperious on Sunday, firing his first senior goal as the Dubs dismantled Westmeath by 31 points, but the main talking point was the actions of Gavin as he took a swipe at The Sunday Game and RTÉ in the aftermath.

Kilkenny was "oblivious" to the goings on as Gavin defended the suspended Diarmuid Connolly over comments made by pundit Pat Spillane - "you wouldn't be knowing what's going on in the background" - but the squad did rally around the St Vincent's star during a challenging time.

"If anything does ever happen to someone in the group, you just put your arm around him and you're there as a support. If they need you, you're there.

"If anything does happen to anyone in your life, you go out and do something with them or just chat them," he said.

"I think that's really important for inter-county players, at hurling and football level, because at the end of the day lads are amateur sportspeople."

The 24-year-old swatted aside questions about Connolly's role at present as he serves a 12-week ban for a push on linesman Ciaran Branagan during the Leinster SFC clash with Carlow but he does expect to see him in competitive action for the Dubs later in the summer.

"Yeah, I'm sure you will. He's back, when? The semi-final? Yeah, if he's moving well he'll be back, yeah," Kilkenny said.

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