Thursday 22 March 2018

'I simply can't agree with that article' - Kerry AFL prospect defends Tadhg Kennelly after Tomás Ó Sé criticism

Tomás Ó Sé (left) and Mark O'Connor (right).
Tomás Ó Sé (left) and Mark O'Connor (right).
Will Slattery

Will Slattery

Former Kerry underage star Mark O'Connor has hit back at Tomás Ó Sé's criticism of AFL Talent Coordinator Tadhg Kennelly's role in luring young GAA talents to Australia.

Writing in yesterday's Irish Independent, Ó Sé spoke frankly about his concerns regarding the talent drain from the GAA. The Kerry legend admitted that if he met former team-mate Kennelly, he would express his disappointment in person.

Read more: Tomás Ó Sé: I have nothing against Tadhg Kennelly, but I just hate what he’s doing

"Let’s make no bones about this. Right now, a lot of people in Kerry are cursing Tadhg. Cursing one of our own. That can’t be right," he said.

"I’d say any focus on this story must be bothering him. If I met him tomorrow, I’d say straight up, “Tadhg, I’ve nothing against you personally. But I hate what you’re doing.”

"Because people in Kerry are sick of this. A lot of Tadhg’s former team-mates are sick of this too, they just don’t feel comfortable saying it. But I think Clifford leaving would be the straw that broke the camel’s back."

The Clifford Ó Sé refers to is current Kerry minor star David Clifford, who is a rumoured target of AFL clubs. Two-time minor champion Mark O'Connor, from Kerry, left to play for Geelong last year and made his senior debut last weekend. Ó Sé also lamented the loss of O'Connor to Kerry football but the youngster responded on social media with a message, accompanied by the caption: 'With all due respect @tomas5ky, I simply can't agree with that article.'

"I don't like to get involved in these arguments but I think it's about time to give my point of view," O'Connor began.

"I'm disappointed that people can't see the positive impact that Tadhg has had on my life.

"Protecting players from Australian clubs" would also be protecting me from all that I've gained here in my short time with Geelong and Australia. If you "can't blame young men for following their dreams abroad", then surely you can't blame the man that makes those dreams a reality.

"I am nothing but grateful to Tadhg for all that he has done for me. It bothers me that a man can give young people a golden ticket in life only to be abused for it. That's not right."

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