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Tadhg Kennelly
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Personal information
Birth 1 July 1981 (1981-07-01) (age 28)Ireland
Recruited from Kerry underage football teams (Gaelic football)
Height and weight 190cm / 86kg
Playing career¹
Debut Round 14, 8 July 2001, Sydney Swans vs. Carlton, at Sydney Cricket Ground
Team(s) Sydney Swans (2001-2008; 2010-)

158 games, 29 goals

¹ Statistics to end of 2008 season
Career highlights

Tadhg Kennelly
Personal information
Irish name Tadhg Mac an Fhailí
Sport Gaelic football
Position Half Forward
Place of birth Listowel , County Kerry
Years Club Apps (scores)
Listowel Emmets
Years County Apps (scores)
2009 Kerry 6 (0-8)
Senior Inter-County Titles
Munster Titles 0
All-Ireland 1 (2009)
All Stars 1
** Inter County team apps and scores correct as of November 2009.

Tadhg Kennelly (born 1 July 1981) is an Irish sportsperson known for his top level careers in both Gaelic football and Australian rules football.

Kennelly grew up playing Gaelic football in Kerry, but moved to Australia to play professional Australian rules football in the Australian Football League. He is best known in Australia as the first Irish-born player to have received an AFL Premiership medallion and the first AFL player to represent Ireland against Australia in International Rules Series. He is the second most experienced player (after Jim Stynes) to be associated with the Irish experiment.

Kennelly returned to his native Kerry to play in the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship 2009. On 20 September 2009 he started the 2009 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final as part of Kerry's All-Ireland winning side, scoring two points in the final and thus becoming the first person to win an AFL Premiership and a Senior All-Ireland Championship. After achieving his dream, he returned to the AFL to play for Sydney, after missing one season.


Early life

Kennelly was born in Listowel in 1981. He is the son of Tim Kennelly, a former All-Ireland Senior Football Championship winner with Kerry. [1] In Australia, Kennelly's first name, Tadhg in the Irish language, is often mispronounced as "Tie" or misspelt Tadgh, but is in fact correctly pronounced quite similarly to the first three letters of tiger and spelt with the h before the g.

Sporting career



Tadhg grew up playing Gaelic football and was recognised as a highly talented underage player with Kerry GAA[2].

His underage achievements include being on the Kerry underage squads that won the Munster Minor Football Championship in 1998 and Munster U21 Championshp in 1999.

Move to Australia and AFL 2001 - 2004

In 1999, he agreed to play Australian rules with the Swans[3][4]. After his debut in 2001 (following elevation from the rookie list), he became a permanent fixture in the Sydney line-up as a dashing rebound defender, wearing the number 17 guernsey.

Kennelly earned an AFL Rising Star nomination in round 19 of 2002, consolidating his reputation as an upcoming young talent.[5]

He was second (behind Leo Barry) for rebounds (77) from the defensive 50-metre arc in 2004. Tadhg became a high-profile member of the Swans outfit, well-known for his exciting play, his nationality and his "Talking With Tadhg" articles on the Swans' website.

Swans Premiership year

Kennelly became the first Irishman to win an AFL Premiership medal in 2005, after playing all 26 games for the Sydney Swans that year. He was reportedly earning $750,000 (350,000 Euro), while playing for the Sydney Swans. The hype in Australia surrounding Kennelly's appearance in the AFL Grand Final was so much that Network Ten sent out its usual game-day boundary rider, Andrew Maher, over to County Kerry to visit Tadhg's family for the week and watch the Grand Final with them. Kennelly also appeared in the 2006 Grand Final, but the Swans lost 85-84 to the West Coast Eagles.[6]

AFL 2006-2008

In 2007 and 2008 after several seasons missing only a handful of games, Kennelly suffered a series of serious leg and shoulder injuries which became major setbacks to his AFL career. His knee buckled from a heavy tackle from the Melbourne Demons' Byron Pickett, causing an anterior cruciate ligament tear and seeing him miss several matches and later matches due to complications. In 2008, he again injured his knee, dislocating his knee cap and injuring his shoulder.

He was selected in the Dream Team for the AFL Hall of Fame Tribute Match[7], but later withdrew due to injury. He was quick to recover, however, and made an appearance for the Swans the following week, though again succumbed to the injury curse.

During the rest of 2008, Kennelly's shoulder continually dislocated during games and his unorthodox methods of popping it back in was the subject of much media interest.[8]

On several occasions during his AFL career, Kennelly had expressed a desire to return home to Ireland and leave the AFL, as he would like to emulate the success of his father and win an All-Ireland Senior Football Championship medal with his native county's team, Kerry.[9] In December 2005, Kennelly's father Tim died suddenly at age 51. [1]. It is believed his father's death may have some bearing on Kennelly's wish to return to Ireland.[10]

Return to Ireland

On the last day of August 2006, Kennelly ended months of speculation by announcing he would be staying on with the Swans for a further three years. Kennelly said that this would be his last AFL contract and that he would be returning to Ireland at the end of the three year contract. In March 2008, Kennelly was reported to have announced that he would "definitely" return to Ireland in 2009[11] to play with Kerry, saying "I want to win an All-Ireland with Kerry."[9][12] Kennelly announced his return to Ireland and Gaelic football in January 2009.[13]

Senior Gaelic football

Upon returning to Kerry, Kenelly was given a job as a coaching officer by the Kerry County Board.[14]

He played his first competitive game for the Kerry Senior team on 8 March 2009 when he came on as a substitute in the NFL against Derry, and there was speculation that he would be a member of the Kerry squad for the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.[15][16] He went on to win a National Football League medal when Kerry beat Derry in the final in Croke Park. As Kerry had a number of injuries meaning that Darragh Ó Sé, Anthony Maher, Séamus Scanlon and Kieran Donaghy were all short of full fitness, Kennelly played in Kerry's first two games of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in June. He picked up an injury during the qualifier series but his form continued to improve and after an impressive appearance as a substitute in the All-Ireland quarter-final against Dublin, he broke into to the starting team for the semi-final in which Kerry beat Meath. On 20 September 2009 he played the first 50 minutes of the All-Ireland final, scoring 2 points and becoming the first person to win an AFL premiership and an All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.[17] After the final Kennelly committed himself to the Kerry football team for the 2010 season, despite speculation that he was returning to Australia.[18]

In July 2009 Mercier Press secured the right to his autobiography[19], which was subsequently published in October 2009.[20] In this book he admitted to setting out to taking out a Cork player at the start of the All-Ireland. In this case it was Nicolas Murphy who received a high elbow charge from Kennelly. After a big backlash, Kennelly released a statement where he stated he was taken out of context by his ghost writer. His standing in Gaelic Games has taken a bashing since he admitted his act of dirty play. Even Kerry fans wrote into local newspaper stating this was not the Kerry football way. In November 2009, Kennelly informed the Kerry county board of his intention to return to the AFL in 2010.[21]

Return to Australia

On 12 November 2009, Kennelly signed a two year deal with the Sydney Swans, marking his return to the AFL. In addition to his playing role, he is also going to take up a coaching role at the club. [22]

See also


  1. ^ a b Michael Cowley (5 December 2005). "Kennelly's champion Irish dad dies after being there for Tadhg's Swans fairytale". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2008-11-29.  
  2. ^ Kennelly to miss Swans' AFL opener |
  3. ^ Listowel Emmets
  4. ^ RTE TV
  5. ^
  6. ^ report
  7. ^ Kennelly represents the world in AFL Tribute Match from
  8. ^ Swans draw on spirit of Kelly By Jenny McAsey for 11 September 2008]
  9. ^ a b Kerry GAA - Tadhg Kennelly to Return to Kerry Football
  10. ^ Family man torn between home and blood brothers - AFL - Sport -
  11. ^
  12. ^ - GAA Football & Hurling
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Kennelly adds to family's medal haul". RTÉ Sport. 2009-09-21. Retrieved 2009-09-21.  
  18. ^ "Kennelly commits himself to Kerry". RTÉ Sport. 2009-09-22. Retrieved 2009-09-22.  
  19. ^ "Mercier Press secure Tadhg Kennelly for Christmas 2009 autobiography". Mercier Press. 2009-07-30. Retrieved 2009-10-13.  
  20. ^ Kennelly, Tadhg (2009). Tadhg Kennelly : Unfinished Business. Mercier Press. ISBN 9781856356398.  
  21. ^ "Tadhg Kennelly to return to AFL". RTÉ Sport. 2009-11-06. Retrieved 2009-11-07.  
  22. ^ His body healed, Kennelly returns to Swans

External links


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