Kennelly will stay a Swan, says Longmire

THE Sydney Swans’ pre-season training kicked off without Tadhg Kennelly yesterday but the club’s new head coach insisted the Kerryman will not be turning his back on the AFL for another stint in green and gold.

Kennelly, the only player in history to win both Aussie Rules and All-Ireland championship medals, caused his Australian club serious concern last month when, during the International Rules series, he hinted that he was considering another shock career change.

Having helped his native county to All-Ireland glory during a 12-month spell back home in 2009, Kennelly said last month that being back at Croke Park on international duty had made him eager to play there on a more regular basis.

However, Sydney’s incoming manager John Longmire, who replaced long-serving coach and Kennelly confidant Paul Roos, at the end of the last campaign, is adamant that the veteran defender will be seeing out the final year on his current contract in the Harbour City.

“I had a chat to Tadhg about [what he said] afterwards and said ‘what are you doing to me Tadhg?’ and we had a bit of a laugh,” Longmire revealed yesterday.

“But no, I spoke to him directly after the end of the season and he was very excited so he’ll be back and I’m sure he’ll have a big role to play for us next year.”

While Longmire was putting his charges – including former Derry minor star Chris McKaigue, going into the second year of his rookie contract at the club — through gruelling long-distance runs in humid conditions yesterday, Kennelly was enjoying a break back home. The coach confirmed that he has granted the 29-year-old permission to skip the first two weeks of pre-season conditioning and training after his off-season was interrupted with international duty for Anthony Tohill’s Ireland during the Rules series. Three other Swans squad members who represented Australia in the series, including Adam Goodes who skippered the tourists to the Cormac McAnallen Cup, have also been given extra time off and will return with Kennelly in early December.

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