Kennelly to bow out with Sydney

Tadhg Kennelly has said "the time is right" for him to retire from Australian Rules football and move on to the next stage of his career.

Tadhg Kennelly has said "the time is right" for him to retire from Australian Rules football and move on to the next stage of his career.

Kennelly has announced his decision to retire from the playing ranks at the conclusion of the current AFL season. He informed his Sydney Swans team-mates of his plans at a meeting yesterday.

It is believed that he was recently offered another contract with the Swans, but turned it down as injuries have taken their toll and his body would not be up to another season of professional football.

Now 30, the Kerryman made history in 2005 by becoming the first Irish player to win an AFL Premiership title. He has been Down Under for the guts of 12 years, apart from a spell back home in Listowel when he became an All-Ireland winner with Kerry in 2009.

Kennelly, as a fresh-faced 17-year-old, was signed by Sydney as an international rookie back in 2000 and made his debut for the club the following season.

The talented half-back has played 194 senior games for the Swans and would dearly love to help them challenge for silverware in his final campaign.

They are currently seventh in the Premiership ladder, with just this weekend's home match against the Brisbane Lions remaining before the top eight sides go through to the four-week AFL finals series.

Reflecting on his time in Australia, he told the Sydney Swans website: "I've had an incredible career since arriving in Australia as a teenager. I couldn't have asked for more, but now I feel the time is right to move on to the next phase of my career. I hope to still be involved in the AFL in some capacity, whether coaching or media.

"I've been here nearly half my life and want to thank the club for instilling such strong morals and values into not just my football life but my everyday life. Being so far away from my family in Ireland, this club has been my second family."

Praising Kennelly for his stellar displays during a 12-year career at the top, Swans coach John Longmire said: "Tadhg has been an absolute standout in the AFL competition as a running half-back player.

"He was incredibly driven to succeed. People saw Tadhg's outgoing, upbeat personality, but behind that was a steely resolve to be the very best player he could be.

"He is a great mix - someone who can give everyone around the place a lift, but also know exactly when to knuckle down and be serious."

Tellingly, Longmire added: "Tadhg has a great understanding of the game. He has been in the coach's box with us numerous times when he's been injured, and he'd make an excellent coach."

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