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Tohill defends Kerrymen absence from Rules panel

The International Rules coach defends his decision to include just two Kerrymen – both of whom are in the AFL.

Tadhg Kennelly and Tommy Walsh - the only two Kerrymen in the International Rules squad - at training in Croke Park last night.
Tadhg Kennelly and Tommy Walsh - the only two Kerrymen in the International Rules squad - at training in Croke Park last night.
Image: INPHO/James Crombie

ANTHONY TOHILL has hit back at criticism that his 22-man squad for this year’s International Rules series does not include any current footballers from the Kerry inter-county side.

The squad, announced yesterday, includes just two players from the Kingdom – both of whom ply their trade full-time in the Australian Football League.

But while Tommy Walsh (of St Kilda) and Tadhg Kennelly (Sydney Swans) both feature in the team, there was no room for Kieran Donaghy or Declan O’Sullivan – both of whom played alongside the ex-pats in the 2009 All-Ireland winning team.

The two discarded players had both formed part of the 34-man practice squad, but Tohill has defended their absence by saying the two players had more pressing duties with their clubs.

Donaghy’s club, Austin Stacks of Tralee, face Dr Crokes of Killarney in the Kerry senior county final this coming Sunday, while O’Sullivan – who captained the Kerry side to All-Ireland success in both 2006 and 2007 – is involved in the junior final with Dromid Pearses.

Tohill also dismissed any suggestions that the Kerry players had deliberately withdrawn their services in protest at a perceived anti-Kerry bias in his comments as a panellist on the Sunday Game.

It was reported earlier in the summer that the Kerry squad was considering an en masse boycott of the tests after Tohill criticised Paul Galvin’s ‘fish-hook’ attack on Cork’s Eoin Cadogan.

Galvin had been omitted from Tohill’s plans, he said, because he had been suspended for most of the year as a result of the incident. ”We felt we wouldn’t be asking Paul. To be fair to him we didn’t want to waste his time and we thought the right thing was to let it go for this season.”

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Gavan Reilly

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