Byrne calls time on AFL career
Louth Village man Ciaran Byrne has announced his retirement from the AFL.
The 23-year-old, nicknamed ‘Casey’ had been on the books of Melbourne-based club Carlton since 2016 but saw his time there disrupted by injury problems.
The former Louth GAA player returned home in recent weeks and featured in his club St Mochta’s 1-15 to 1-13 victory over St Fechins in the Intermediate Championship final at The Grove in Castlebellingham yesterday only to depart in an ambulance with a serious ankle injury soon after scoring a point on his introduction at half-time.
Posting to his Instagram page from Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Byrne confirmed he would not be heading back Down Under.
He said: “What an experience it was. A massive thank you to the Carlton and northern blues football club for the last 6 years. I really enjoyed my time albeit riddled with injuries. I got to play an amazing game with an amazing football club and I’ll be forever grateful for that. I’ve made some lifelong friends along the way and Carlton will always be family to me.
“For now my heart is in Ireland and I couldn’t spend any more time away from family, friends and the GAA. Unfortunately my GAA career will be put on hold with a small ankle hiccup but my beloved club St Mochtas are champions 💙💛 Thanks again BLUEBAGGERS. 💙”
Byrne’s decision was confirmed by Carlton on their official site.
It said young defender made the decision to retire from AFL football and part ways with the Club on October 7, after a number of discussions over the past two weeks and throughout the course of the year.
Riddled by injury, including rupturing his ACL halfway through the 2016 season, Byrne managed 22 senior games since arriving at Ikon Park as a Category B Rookie via the 2014 AFL Rookie Draft.
Byrne said the decision to return home after four years at the club was incredibly difficult.
“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 said.
“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 teammates and coaches and will always be a Carlton person.
“I wish the boys the very best for next season and beyond.”