Friday 27 April 2018

Aussie Rules: Painful return for Tadhg

Daragh Conchir

Tadhg Kennelly had to leave the field in the final quarter with concussion and his Sydney Swans team just failed in a heroic bid to topple premiership favourites St Kilda, but the Kerryman is still glad to be back in AFL.

With All-Ireland-winning team-mate Tommy Walsh looking on from the St Kilda corner, the Listowel man was playing his first game in the league for 18 months on Saturday night.

The 28-year-old was in typical all-action form until a sickening collision in a marking contest laid him out. He was nursing a headache yesterday but was able to join his team-mates at a recovery session.

"I'm feeling a bit busted up and sore all over,'' he said.

Sydney Swans doctor Nathan Gibbs said he had spoken to Kennelly, and also to Nick Malceski, who was dazed during a first-quarter collision.

"Both of them were concussed, and sore around the head and neck area. It's effectively like a whiplash injury with concussion. But it's a good sign that both of them are not too bad today."

Despite the injury and the result, Kennelly enjoyed his return after his year's sabbatical in Ireland.

"I loved being back out there. But my kicking was a bit off which was disappointing. I turned the ball over a few times. We should have won the game. We weren't smart enough with the ball."

For the most part, it looked like Kennelly had never been away as the Swans defended stoutly and hit the Saints on the break, with the Irishman's speed from the half-back line a constant factor.

By the end of the game, only team-mates Ryan O'Keeffe and Jarrad McVeigh had amassed more than Kennelly's 28 disposals, although his rate of success was not as he would have liked, because of those inaccurate kicks he mentioned.

He added seven marks while winning the same number of contests for possessions, and was fouled four times.

Irish Independent

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