The Kerryman had just made a rapid recovery from a dislocated knee injury when he was hospitalised and forced to sit out the round nine clash against the Western Bulldogs.
The 25-year-old had to endure a painful lumbar puncture to assess whether he was suffering from the viral or more dangerous bacterial variety of the disease.
The Sydney Swans AFL Premiership winner admitted he was traumatised by the event.
Said Kennelly: “The thing that really scared me was that the doctor was so frightened and serious about it and I suppose that made me worry.
“I had massive headaches and was shivering and vomiting and sweating. My temperature had sky-rocketed by the time I made it to the doctor. I didn’t want to tell my mother, as I didn’t want her to worry.”
Nevertheless, his efforts to keep the scare from his family, his mother, Nuala, found out and attempted to ring the Swans’ player welfare officer to find out what was happening.
Though out of hospital by the time the Bulldogs game came around, Kennelly was still bed-ridden and was unable to board the flight to Canberra with the rest of his team-mates.
In all, he lost four kilos in weight, but he recovered in time to face Essendon in round ten last weekend.
“On the Tuesday before, I didn’t think I’d play. I still had the headaches and I went for a 10-minute jog, which was little more than a walk and I was no good. Then on Wednesday, I started to come around and the headaches really went away. Again I did a 10-minute jog and it was much better, I just didn’t have much energy,” he said.
Kennelly’s difficult start to the season has been mirrored by his team who currently lie halfway down the ‘ladder’ in ninth, but the Irishman is hoping his days in the sick bay are over.