Kennelly: We wanted to lift nation’s spirit with Rules win

TADHG KENNELLY has revealed that Anthony Tohill’s International Rules squad used Ireland’s economic troubles as motivation for their clashes with Australia.

The Listowel man said the side were desperate to “get a bit of pride back in Ireland” with victory over their hosts and give people a break from the financial doom and gloom.

Kennelly, who announced his AFL retirement in August, played a key role in helping the visitors to a 2-0 series whitewash and hopes it had helped lift the mood of the nation.

He said: “It’s a very, very difficult time at home. It’s something we talked about, trying to get a bit of pride back in Ireland.

“We tried to bring a bit of happiness and give people a few minutes not to worry about what’s going on outside of the house. We wanted to give them pride in the people who come from their clubs and their counties.”

Meanwhile Tohill believes Kennelly is capable of continuing for another season in Australia. The Irish coach said: “He’s a wonderful guy, a great inspiration to the younger players and I would have thought another AFL club would have been snapping him up rather than letting him swan off into retirement. I think he’s too young for that yet.”

However former Swans coach Paul Roos, who helped turn Kennelly into a rebounding half-back, doubted he would reconsider his decision.

“Without putting words into Tadhg’s mouth, I would be staggered if he was thinking about playing again,” Roos said. “I think he is really comfortable with his decision. He finished his career well. Playing the Gaelic thing is really exciting for him. He loves that, he loves playing for Ireland. But I doubt he is having thoughts about playing again (in the AFL). In the end he was pretty beat up, too. His body was buggered.”

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