Tuesday 20 February 2018

Swans insist Kennelly has part to play

Kieran McCarthy

SYDNEY Swans coach John Longmire has rubbished speculation that former Kerry footballer Tadhg Kennelly has played his last AFL game for the club.

Listowel native Kennelly, who has struggled to find top form this season, was axed from the Swans squad for their recent win over St Kilda and while he has not earned a recall for tomorrow's crunch match against Geelong, the Swans coach feels that the star defender still has much to offer.

All-Ireland winner Kennelly, named as an emergency for tomorrow's game, has been backed by his coach to make an impact in the final stages of the AFL season, if called upon.

"Yes, is the short answer," said Longmire when asked if Kennelly still has a role to play this season. "Tadhg's played on the weekend, had 30-odd possessions.

"We had a really good win in our reserves, but he certainly got enough of the footy to suggest he's still got something to give this year.

"There's a couple of important games to go obviously and he's certainly in calculations for those games. We certainly haven't put a line through him at all."

After Kennelly -- who was the first AFL player to represent Ireland against Australia in International Rules -- returned to the Sydney Swans following his All-Ireland triumph with Kerry in 2009, he penned a two-year contract and while that runs out this season, he still may have a future with the club.

Kennelly -- a free agent for 2012 -- has delayed contract discussions until the end of this season. Longmire also rebuffed reports that Kennelly is now playing for his career over the next few weeks, admitting that a decision will be taken then on the 30-year-old's future.

"We'll sit down at the end of the year and talk to him about a whole range of issues, but we'll do that after the season's finished because we just look at what's in front of us now," Longmire said.

"We'll let those discussions take place after the season."

Irish Independent

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