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Blues’ Irish pair retire from AFL, go home

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Carlton duo Ciaran Byrne and Cillian McDaid have retired from the AFL and returned home to Ireland.

Byrne, 23, played 22 games in four seasons with the Blues, while McDaid departs without breaking through for a senior appearance in one year with the club.

Ciaran Byrne is one of two Irish Blues to have quit AFL.

Ciaran Byrne is one of two Irish Blues to have quit AFL.Credit:AAP

Byrne, who was contracted for next year, continued a wretched run of injuries when he broke his ankle playing Gaelic football for his home county at the weekend.

The defender battled injuries, including an ACL tear in 2016, and homesickness during his time with the Blues.

"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.

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"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."

Carlton football chief Brad Lloyd wished the pair well.

"It's a huge challenge for these players to travel and live on the other side of the world," Lloyd said.

"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.

"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."

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