Kennelly calls time on Aussie Rules career

MARISA REIDY mreidy@kerryman.ie

KERRY'S AFL star Tadhg Kennelly has finally called time on his Aussie Rules career after months of speculation, with the Listowel man understood to have met with management at Sydney Swans this week to confirm his intention to return home.

The Kerryman understands that the Listowel star, who had enjoyed Christmas and new year celebrations at home in Listowel, travelled back to Sydney at the weekend to meet with management and confirm that he would not be signing a new contract with the club.

In August 2006, Kennelly committed to the Syndey Swans for a further three years, but said at the time that it would be his last spell with the Premiership winning side. Since early last year he has made no secret of his desire to win an AllIreland medal with Kerry and it appears he has finally confirmed this intention.

It is understood that the 26year-old held talks with Sydney Swans management on Monday and Tuesday, where he confirmed that he would not be signing a new contract after seven seasons with the club.

In March of last year, Kennelly expressed in no uncertain terms his desire to lift the Sam Maguire, telling a national newspaper that he was, "definitely going home next year to try to win an AllIreland medal."

Since then, however, speculation has been mounting as to whether or not he would sign with the Sydney Swans for one more season and then return to Kerry, but it appears that is not to be.

Kennelly, who became the first Irish man to claim an AFL title when the Sydney Swans captured the league title in 2005, has suffered a series of serious leg and shoulder injuries in the last two years, which have become major setbacks to his AFL career.

It is understood that following this week's meetings with Swans management, Kennelly will return to Kerry full time within the next two weeks.

His return would be seen as a major boost to Kerry's bid to regain the Sam Maguire. A former underage footballer with the Kingdom, Kennelly would be seen as either a perfect midfield partner to, or replacement for, Darragh Ó Sé, or the solution to Kerry's full back problems.

News