Saturday 25 March 2017

Croke Park 'made aware' of latest AFL training camp, claims Kennelly

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Tadhg Kennelly has insisted that the Aussie Rules camp he will host in the Tallaght Basketball Arena today will be "above board" and complicit with the standards the GAA would expect for their players' welfare.

A host of the GAA's best underage talent have been invited to the Dublin venue for a day-long series of tests which could provide a pathway to futures of some of them in the AFL.

Kennelly confirmed yesterday that the GAA had been informed which players would be attending the camp. "We have made the GAA aware of what we're doing," he said.

Croke Park has never been officially notified of Kennelly's appointment to the role of international ambassador -- which occurred in December -- or the intentions the AFL have for Ireland, but the issue of player poaching was discussed at meetings attached to the 2008 International Rules tour to Australia.

While they are powerless to prevent such camps going ahead -- even when officially AFL sanctioned -- the GAA will feel that they can exert a little more control than they had over the Ricky Nixon operation, which wound up last year.

They are confident that Kennelly, who will have the AFL's general manager Ben McCormack over from London for the trials, will have the welfare of the players as a priority.

Since quitting as an AFL player with Sydney Swans last September, Kennelly has taken up the international ambassador role for the AIS/AFL and is also coaching several New South Wales/ Australian Capital Territory and AIS/AFL Academy underage sides.

Elswhere, Cavan boss Val Andrews has been hit with another setback after Cootehill defender John McCutcheon and Redhills goalkeeper Fintan Reilly both opted out of the senior panel.

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