Following the sad passing of the legendary Stynes, after a two-and-a-half-year battle with cancer, Kerryman Kennelly admitted that he was in "awe" of the Dubliner, who played 264 games for Melbourne.
Sydney Swans legend Kennelly said that it if it hadn't been for the exploits of the much-loved Stynes, he would never have played a game in the AFL.
"The stuff he did on field was unbelievable. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Jimmy Stynes because he was the trailblazer, he was the one that set the tone for people with different backgrounds," Kennelly said.
"Not just for Irish players, but blokes with totally different backgrounds and upbringings to AFL, he was the one that set the scene.
"I'm indebted to the man. I would not have played one game of AFL if it wasn't for Jim Stynes.
"He was the first bloke with a different background, different culture and heritage to come out and play it successfully.
"If he came out and wasn't as successful, clubs might not have bought into it but because he came out and did so well with the impact he made, people were all over it.''
Kennelly went on to explain how much help Stynes was to him during his AFL career, and that he was always willing to offer his advice.
"When I first came out I didn't know a whole lot about him, but I was given his book when I got here and as soon as I read that, from then on I was gob-smacked by him," Kennelly said.
"I was just in awe of him, I would be constantly picking up the phone to him. I would ask him for advice on a contract negotiation, stuff like that."
Kennelly, Ireland's second most famous AFL player, added that Stynes will never be forgotten.
"Jim's legacy is going to be enormous. On the field, Jim changed the game. He was a roaming ruckman, that wasn't around at the time, and winning the Brownlow medal," Kennelly said.
"What he has done off field speaks for itself. The Reach Foundation and the work that he's done for underprivileged kids is enormous.
"He was a real inspiring character and just a down-to-earth bloke that had so much time for so many people. Most footballers visit schools once a week, or once a month -- Jimmy set a school up."