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Louth and Galway footballers move home as they bring AFL careers with Carlton to an end

It has been confirmed that Ciaran Byrne and Cillian McDaid have called time with the Melbourne based club.

LOUTH’S CIARAN BYRNE and Galway’s Cillian McDaid have both announced their retirement from AFL football, making the decision to return home to Ireland.

pjimage (1) Louth's Ciaran Byrne and Galway's Cillian McDaid had both been playing for Carlton.

The pair have both brought their time with Melbourne-based club Carlton to an end.

23-year-old Byrne first made the move to Australia in 2013 but had suffered injury problems, including a torn cruciate ligament during the 2016 campaign.

He was in action for his club St Mochta’s yesterday as they celebrated a Louth intermediate football title win but had to go off during the game with a serious ankle injury.

22-year-old McDaid has also brought his spell to an end after one season with the club, originally joining last November.

McDaid was a Category B rookie and after impressing in 2017 for the Galway U21 side that reached the All-Ireland final, along with making his championship debut for Kevin Walsh’s senior side, he moved to embark on an AFL career. An All-Ireland minor hurling winner in 2015 with Galway, McDaid did not make his senior AFL debut in 2018 and instead lined out for the Northern Blues.

Cillian McDaid with Con O’Callaghan Cillian McDaid goes up against Con O'Callaghan in the 2017 All-Ireland U21 final. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Byrne had spent four years with Carlton, playing in 22 senior games for the club. He made the decision to retire and part ways with the club on 7 October, after a number of discussions over the past two weeks and throughout the course of the year.

“This decision hasn’t been made lightly, it’s something that’s been on my mind for a while but ultimately I feel the time is right for me to go back home,” Byrne told Carlton’s official website.

“The club has been incredibly supportive, managing the best interests of both myself and my family and for that I will always be incredibly thankful and grateful. I will miss the club, my team-mates and coaches and will always be a Carlton person.

“I wish the boys the very best for next season and beyond.”

The pair were both wished well by Carlton Head of Football Brad Lloyd.

“We are disappointed to lose a quality young player like Ciaran, but we understand his decision to return to Ireland for personal and family-related reasons,” Lloyd said.

“As a club we have supported Ciaran very closely over a number of years, but ultimately his desire to return home was too strong, so we accept that and will continue to support him as he transitions into the next phase of his life.

“We also hope Ciaran makes a speedy recovery after breaking his ankle playing Gaelic football on the weekend.

Ciaran Byrne gets his shot away despite the tackle of John O'Loughlin Ciaran Byrne in action for Louth in the 2013 Leinster senior football championship. Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

“Likewise, we’re also accepting of Cillian’s decision to return to Ireland – it’s a huge challenge for these players to travel and live on the other side of the world.

“We wish Cillian and Ciaran all the very best for the future and thank them for their services to the club.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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