Boss O'Neill promises to ease Brophy into Lilies' fold
Kildare boss Cian O'Neill looks forward to welcoming former AFL rookie Paddy Brophy into his football set-up in the coming weeks but has tempered expectations about his return, stressing that he will not be parachuted back into the fray and will instead be given ample time to find his feet.
Brophy, a Leinster U-21 medal winner in 2013, recently called time on his Australian Rules career with the West Coast Eagles after joining the Perth-based club in October 2014 and outlined his wish to come home and resume his college and football commitments.
Kildare have already secured their Division 1 place for 2018, and the Celbridge attacker, who played with the Lilies in 2013 and 2014, would be a major addition to O'Neill's squad with championship around the corner. The pair were in touch last week and Brophy is set to return home in the next fortnight but O'Neill feels he should be afforded time to settle back home.
"It's an exciting prospect to have Paddy home. Everyone that's been involved with him will tell you that he's a phenomenal guy, a phenomenal trainer and player and he has no doubt developed great experience and great habits in the last couple of years," O'Neill said.
"But I would urge fans and the media just to exercise a bit of restraint because we need to look at this on a human level.
"He's coming home after two-and-a-half years on the other side of the world, different culture, different responsibilities and that. He's got family to think of, work or college, all these things going through his mind.
"Football is there as well and that's brilliant, and he is keen to get back playing but I need to make sure that Paddy has all the support from everyone. You've seen it in the past where there's an expectation and then for whatever reason, be it injury, work or whatever, that expectation isn't reached and all of a sudden it's viewed differently."