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'When I Went To New Zealand And Australia, I Really Developed A Grá For It Again'

'When I Went To New Zealand And Australia, I Really Developed A Grá For It Again'

"I feel a little bit stiff but fresh enough," says Ciaran Kilkenny, just a few days after Dublin eased past Kildare in the Leinster semi-final.

The five-time All-Ireland winner spent the previous evening doing some recovery and a gym session.

"I go for a swim in the sea, High Rock or Malahide, or the pool," he reveals.

"The Southside guys might go to the Forty Foot.

"You just go in and swim for five or ten minutes. It’s a very good, even if you’re having a tough day you can jump in head first into the water and it’s a great sensation.

"You definitely feel that bit of sharpness around your body when you go in. It’s a bit of a shock when you go in but you feel good afterwards."

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The 25-year-old spends an increasing amount of his free time in the water. He travelled to Australia and New Zealand earlier this year. It reawakened his interest in surfing.

I would have done it years gone by in Inchydoney down in Cork. When I went to New Zealand and Australia, I really developed a grá for it again. I bought a surfboard and started to go every two weeks.

Last week, I went to Bundoran and Strandhill. I might try to go to Lahinch next.

It does help with your core strength and balance. Ideally, you’d go out the day after a game or a hard training session.

It’s great recovery for the mind. Some of the scenery down the west of Ireland is phenomenal.

Kilkenny went travelling in January, returning to Ireland in early February. Queenstown, the adventure sports capital of New Zealand, was his favourite spot.

"I got back for the last three or four games of the league," he says.

"It was really good to get away, do something different.

"I went on my own and visited my sister in Melbourne. We did a bit of travelling together and then I went off to New Zealand.

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"I went all over the South Island: Milford Sound, Franz Josef Glacier, Queenstown, Christchurch.

"The watersports, the buzz, the vibe, the backpackers. It’s pretty cool and the views are amazing [in Queenstown].

"I did all the bungees, the Nevis Bungee, the Kawarau Bridge bungee. It was exhilarating. You’re trying not to look down. The scariest bit was going on the cage over."

The Castleknock player finished a Masters in Education at DCU last year. His winter of travelling meant when he returned to Ireland, it was too late to nail down a full-time job. He has spent recent months subbing at Scoil Oilibhéir in Blanchardstown and St. Benedict's in Ongar.  "You’re helping them become better critical thinkers. They love the fact that I play a bit of sport as well."

Last year, Kilkenny misplaced just a single handpass and no kick passes during Dublin's seven championship games. Still, he eyes room for improvement.

"You can always get leaner. Defensively, offensively, there’s always different areas you can improve on. You just have to look for them and hone in.

"It’s a continuous discussion you’d be having with yourself, teammates, management, coaches."

Sure, Official Statistics Partner of the GAA, are proud to launch their 2019 campaign with brand ambassador Ciaran Kilkenny. The partnership, which has entered into its 2nd cycle of a 3 year partnership, promises to empower GAA fans with a deeper understanding of the components of success by breaking down individual and team statistics through conversation, head to head analysis and easy to digest infographics that explore and expose the numbers behind the performances that set the Championship alight. Pictured is Ciaran Kilkenny of Dublin at GAA National Games Development Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photos by Sportsfile

See Also: Clare Minor Lands All-Time Epic Hurling Point After Outrageous Escapology

PJ Browne
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