Friday 23 March 2018

Sydney swans axe Kennelly for key game

TADHG Kennelly's AFL future is in serious doubt after the former All-Ireland winning Kerry footballer was dropped from the Sydney Swans squad for tomorrow's crucial clash with St Kilda, WRITES KIERAN McCARTHY.

Speculation is rampant in Australia that Kennelly may have played his last game for the Swans, as the Listowel native has been struggling with his form of late and he is yet to sign a new deal for 2012.

Kennelly's below-par showings this season have prompted Swans coach John Longmire to axe the Kerry man from the team for tomorrow, but he was keen to stress that the defender still has a future at the club.

The challenge is now for the 30-year-old, who won an All-Ireland in 2009, to win back his place in the Swans first team and quash the rumours that he's also considering retirement, with a possible coaching role being mooted.

"We've been probably discussing it for a few weeks in regards to trying to get Tadhg to play his best footy," Longmire said. "Sometimes the best way is to go back and play reserves footy and get a bit of confidence and touch.

"We haven't thought about (long term), we're only thinking about this week's game. This is all we're focused on, three really important games for us to go. It doesn't mean Tadhg isn't going to play for the rest of the year either.

"We just made the decision on what we thought was best for us this week. Tadhg is really proud and determined. Sometimes you just need to get back, have a run around, get a bit of the footy and feel good about yourself."

Speaking on the Swans' website this week, Kennelly admitted that he is struggling with form: "It's been a hard couple of weeks. I just have to try and get my belief back and my confidence back."

Kennelly, in his second stint in the AFL, has played 193 games for the Swans and became the first Irishman to win an AFL Premiership medal with the Sydney club in 2005.

Irish Independent

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