Kennelly: ó hAilpín's character has made him a hit Down Under
SYDNEY Swans star Tadhg Kennelly has attributed Setanta ó hAilpín's impressive start to season 2010 to his strong character and determination to succeed in the Australian Football League.
The All-Ireland winning Kerryman has also revealed that meditation plays a key role in his own schedule as an elite sportsman.
Last weekend ó hAilpín kicked five goals in Carlton's loss to Collingwood. After the departure of Brendan Fevola from the Blues, the Corkman is been touted as the player most capable of filling the void left at the Melbourne-based club.
"Setanta is a person that's going to keep going and going," Kennelly said. "If someone says he can't do it, he will. He's got a really strong mentality and is really competitive."
The former Rebel hurler's goal blitz took his season tally to 16, already surpassing his best ever season in 2007 when he kicked 13, and that's just with six rounds of the season gone. Season 2009 saw him boot 12 goals.
Since joining the Blues the 27-year-old was tried in numerous positions including full-back and ruck-man. Last year his career suffered a major blow when he was suspended for his part in a melee with a team-mate during an intra-club game.
Kennelly said his compatriot is finally finding his niche position on the field and recovering from injury has been key to his career revival. "He's had a tough few years being in and out of the team," said Kennelly. "They played him down back, they played him in the ruck ... they didn't really know what to do with him and it affected him.
"He had shin splints and a nerve injury that they only operated on last year that he had for two years, but they thought there was nothing wrong so it's only now that he's showing his real potential."
As for his own trials and tribulations over the past year, Kennelly admitted he's glad that for now life has become a lot simpler.
"It was just another normal year in my life," he laughs. "I don't think I'll ever get a normal year, in a way. Everything feels really simple now. I've gone back to the basics, which is great because I can play with a clear mind. If you can play with a clear mind, you can really express yourself.
"In the past I had a lot of weight on my shoulders and a lot of stuff that I would be thinking about when I was training and playing games. I was always thinking 'will I go, will I stay?'"
The Listowel man revealed that he has used meditation in order to maintain a healthy mind.
"I started doing it immediately after my dad passed away. I just started feeling him everywhere and I started tapping into the spiritual side of things and I have done ever since. I do it every day, maybe twice a day when I'm feeling stressed.
"It's not like I'm sitting there chanting. It's more about getting peace of mind and knowing that I can have 'me' time in a busy schedule and a busy life."
He credits the practice with helping him to get through the turbulent times he's endured.
"It's difficult at first to get into the routine of doing it, but once you get into a routine the benefits are great," he says.
"I spend about half an hour to 40 minutes doing it in the morning, depending how deep I get. It's a part of my life that I really enjoy. It's been really beneficial to me."