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Aussies pour cold water on Kennelly's Kerry return

AUSSIE Rules sources have poured cold water on the notion that Tadhg Kennelly will be available to resume playing for Kerry again in the near future.

The Listowel star recently retired from AFL football and came home to play a cameo role in the North Kerry final last weekend.

He told the Irish Independent afterwards that his new job with the AFL would not necessarily force him to live in Australia, thereby leaving open the possibility of a possible return for the Kingdom.

But a statement on the official AFL website yesterday seemed to indicate otherwise: "It appears Tadhg Kennelly will be calling Australia home for the foreseeable future after the Irishman accepted a role as an AFL Ambassador.


"The 30-year-old has taken on a number of responsibilities with the AFL that will ensure he will stay in Australia and remain heavily involved in Australian football."

The statement outlined that Kennelly will be an assistant coach and mentor for the Australian Institute of Sport-AFL Academy Level Two Squad, working under head coach and former Sydney Swans team-mate Michael O'Loughlin.

It said he will also coach the U-16 NSW/ACT team and assist the U-18 team. And it outlined that Kennelly -- "in a seemingly tailor-made role" -- will mentor players that come to Australia hoping to play at AFL level, including members of the U-16 World XVIII and South Pacific teams.

Kennelly is the only Irishman to win an AFL Premiership title, winning the Grand Final with the Swans in 2005 and also reaching the final the following season.

He returned to Ireland to win an All-Ireland with his native Kerry in 2009 before immediately resuming his AFL career.

Elsewhere former Dublin star Jim Gavin is staying on as the county's U-21 football manager for a fifth season. The Clondalkin man, who led them to All-Ireland U-21 glory in 2010, is already tipped as an eventual successor to senior boss Pat Gilroy.

Gavin's U-21s bowed out to Meath (after extra-time) in Leinster this year but eight of them will be eligible next season.

Gavin is also due to inherit some of the county minors stars, who Dessie Farrell led to the All-Ireland final last September, including dual player Ciaran Kilkenny.

Dublin open their campaign against Wexford on February 22.

Former Offaly hurling star John Troy has been appointed as the county's new senior camogie manager, succeeding Joachim Kelly, who guided the county to All-Ireland successes in 2009 and 2010.

Beaten All-Ireland senior camogie finalists Galway also have a new manager as Tony Ward has taken over from Noel Finn and he will have former star Sharon Glynn among his back room.

Paudie Murray, brother of Cork stars Aoife and Kevin, has taken over from Joe O'Brien as the Rebels' new senior camogie manager.

Irish Independent