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Dublin: 15 °C Monday 6 July, 2020

'No forcing or pressuring' - Kildare boss to give Brophy time after Aussie Rules career in Perth ends

Cian O’Neill admits Paddy Brophy could be a huge addition to the Kildare squad.

KILDARE BOSS CIAN O’Neill insists he will not be placing pressure on Paddy Brophy to make a quick return to Gaelic football after ending his Aussie Rules career.

Paddy Brophy Paddy Brophy has brought his AFL career to an end. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Brophy brought his time with West Coast Eagles, the Perth-based AFL club, to a halt last week after first joining in October 2014.

The Celbridge native cited ‘personal reasons, including homesickness’ for his decision to return to Ireland.

Irishman @paddybrophy94 has called time and will return home. Thanks for everything, Paddy!

A post shared by West Coast Eagles 🦅 (@westcoasteagles) on

O’Neill revealed he has been in contact with Brophy but wants to give him space to adjust to the move home.

But the Kildare boss admitted that the addition of Brophy would be ‘really exciting’ to a squad that recently clinched promotion to Division 1 of the league next spring and are gearing up for a Leinster championship assault with a tie against Laois or Longford on 4 June.

“I’ve been in touch with Paddy but I think the most important thing is that on a human level that Paddy’s in a good space when he comes home because it’ll be a massive transition.

“When he comes home he needs to make sure mentally as well as physically, socially and emotionally, that he’s in a good space.

“If football comes into that in the short-term, absolutely fantastic, that’ll be hugely exciting. If it’s more medium to long term, depending on circumstances, then so be it.

“I’m just disappointed for Paddy on one level that he felt it was time for him to come home and it didn’t go to another level over (in Australia).

“But at the same time in a selfish way and as a Kildare man, (I’m) happy to see him on that plane coming home over the next couple of weeks.

“Listen, it’s great news and it’s positive news for Kildare GAA and for Celbridge his club. There’ll be no forcing or pressuring.

“I think when Paddy is good and ready, we’ll have a good conversation about that. All the players and management will welcome him back with open arms. It’s really exciting but I think everything needs to be in context.

Cian O'Neill Kildare football manager Cian O'Neill. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“There’s players over in Australia at the moment, that half the GAA supporters in the country don’t know they’re over there. Why would they if they’re from a different county or not as high profile as someone else?

“When these guys come home I think that’s important that they’re supported in every way by club, by county, by the GAA, by the GPA.

“I know for a fact that the GPA will be hugely supportive of Paddy and rightly so when he comes home. It can’t be a rushed effort.”

“Paddy will be a huge addition when he’s good and ready. I can’t wait to have him back in but I don’t want to put a timeline on it.”

O’Neill has previous experience of integrating Gaelic footballers back into squads after spells with Aussie Rules clubs.

He was coaching Kerry in 2015 when Tommy Walsh returned home and welcomed Sean Hurley back into the Kildare fold last winter before the Johnstownbridge man stepped away from the setup in February due to injury problems.

O’Neill continues to monitor the recovery of former Fremantle Dockers player Hurley.

“Sean’s issue was coming home was he had some serious injuries, some unfortunate injuries. For me the key thing is to get him physically right and then we’ll see where things are at.

“With Paddy he doesn’t have the same injury history there but there are many other challenges he’ll face when he comes home. All I want to make sure is myself on a personal level and Kildare GAA are there to support them.

“We review it on a regular basis to be honest (with Sean). He’s on a reduced training load, he’s back with his club Johnstownbridge, he’ll feature all going well in the club championship this weekend.

David Moran and Sean Hurley Sean Hurley in action for Kildare against Kerry's David Moran in 2014. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“But I know that he hasn’t been training fully because we’re trying to monitor his workload and make sure he doesn’t break dowm. As you can appreciate when you move up to county level, it’d be very difficult to perform at that level if you weren’t training at the highest level all the time.

“So he’s in a good place in terms of what his body can cope with at the moment. We’ll see how that transfers throughout the season and take it from there but there’s definitely no start or end point with that, it’s just something we’ll monitor.”

Source: The42 GAA/SoundCloud

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Fintan O'Toole

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