TADHG KENNELLY says that Ciarán Kilkenny made such an impression in his brief stint in Australia that his club captain believed he would have played AFL in his debut season.
Kennelly, at whose trials last February Kilkenny rose to prominence amongst the attending AFL clubs, admits "there was some negative press about Ciarán's decision" in Oz but praised the player for making such a "brave" call so early in his career.
"I spoke to Luke Hodge, the Hawthorn captain, and he was convinced Ciarán would have played first- team AFL this season, his first," said Kennelly, who serves an ambassadorial role for the AFL. "Not many have ever done that.
"They felt he had that potential and were obviously very impressed with what he did in his six weeks there. I have no doubt he would have made it.
"It was brave in the first place to go out and brave to make a decision like it (to come back). Ciarán sensed it wasn't for him and he made a quick decision. He didn't go on against his will. Unless you are with these guys around the clock, you will never really know.
"In some ways, you expect it. It's a big thing to uproot and travel to the other side of the world," he said. "Not everyone is equipped to do it. It takes a certain character and a certain mindset and the best footballers don't always have that. It takes something else."
Kilkenny's decision, coming - as it did - after the season had started, meant Hawthorn were unable to sign an international rookie replacement and though it drew negative comment, Kennelly reckons the Castleknock man's path will be well-worn over the coming years.
"There was some negative press about Ciarán's decision initially over here - the fact that he was denying another international rookie a place and that Hawthorn can't sign anyone else now," he admitted.
"But I respect his decision. I addressed all the players who came to us last February and told them that this was very likely to happen, that the chances of them actually making a career out of it in the long term aren't high, that it probably won't happen even if they come over."
LEIGHTON GLYNN will miss most of Wicklow's forthcoming NFL Division 3 campaign after a complication surfaced from the broken ankle he suffered last year.
"I would say it's at least six weeks to two months away," said Wicklow manager Harry Murphy. "It's just the injury he has is slow to heal."
"He got a plate in and the scar didn't heal. He went back to play a bit of hurling at the end of the year and he might have gone back a bit early.
"The wound opened and it struggled to close. So he would be a good bit away. But Leighton will get back, hopefully."