Tuesday 23 January 2018

Walsh steps into Kennelly's boots as Swans swoop at eleventh hour

Daragh O Conchuir

HAVING lost Tadhg Kennelly, Sydney Swans are to get another former Kerry All-Ireland SFC winner after Tommy Walsh finally secured his dream move.

Walsh had been with St Kilda for the last two years but the Tralee native was anxious to join the Swans and he completed the switch on the final day of the AFL trade window yesterday.

St Kilda were anxious for Walsh to stay, having put time and money into his development, but the failure to give him a senior game despite a consistently good level of performance with their VFL affiliate Sandringham proved their undoing.

Former All-Ireland winning team-mate Kennelly sold Walsh on Sydney's virtues and with the Swans promising more playing opportunities, he decided to make the switch.

New St Kilda coach Scott Watters had indicated that Walsh would be staying and he spoke at length to the 23-year-old in an attempt to convince him to stay.

Having already undergone a medical with the Swans, the Kerins O'Rahillys star was desperate to push the move through, though, and St Kilda relented, accepting two of Sydney's draft picks in exchange for him.

"The club are disappointed but every effort was made to convince Tommy to stick around," Saints list manager Ameet Bains said.

Sydney coach John Longmire said that Walsh would give the Swans increased options.

"Tommy hasn't played a senior game yet but we think he's a fantastic key position prospect. He's aggressive and he's 194cms and 97kg,'' Longmire said. "He competes really well and he can play at either end of the ground.''

Meanwhile, Setanta O hAilpin failed in his bid to move away from Carlton for the second year in a row and now faces an uncertain future, with the Blues having to delist one player before next month's draft.

Coach Brett Ratten said that O hAilpin or Paul Bower would be the unlucky player. Ratten added that there was no real interest from clubs in either player.

Irish Independent

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