FORMER Albury defender Tadhg Kennelly has helped lure fellow Irishman and former AFL player Setanta O’hAilpin to Tigerland.
In a stunning coup for the Ovens and Murray heavyweight, O’hAilpin will be joined by his brother, Aisake, as Albury attempts to break Yarrawonga’s stranglehold on the competition.
It is believed rival club North Albury was well into negotiations with the pair before Kennelly intervened.
“Tadhg was pretty much the main motivating factor,” Setanta, 30, said last night.
“He was rapt with the club in his time at the Tigers and said the people reminded him of back home.
“Tadhg has been such a mentor and good friend to myself and Aisake that we listened to his advice and are just looking forward to playing.”
The 199-centimetre O’hAilpin has attracted interest from clubs throughout country Victoria since being delisted by Greater Western Sydney at the end of this season.
He played eight matches for the Giants, as well as 80 for Carlton after his debut in 2005.
Aisake, 28, also spent several years on the Blues’ rookie list and played with Essendon District Football League club Hillside this season.
He previously had stints with Maribyrnong Park and Montmorency.
The O’hAilpin brothers loom as ideal key forward replacements for Josh Dicketts, who has joined Hume league club Howlong, and veteran full-forward Matt Fowler, who is weighing up his future.
Highly rated Central District midfielder Brayden O’Hara has also joined the Tigers, alongside Holbrook youngster Jim Grills.
“I haven’t played with my brother since back home,” Setanta said.
“Aisake was on the list with me at Carlton for four years but we never got the opportunity to play together and it’s been a burning passion of mine.
“I can’t wait.”
Setanta will travel from Sydney to play while Aisake will commute from Melbourne.
Albury coach Chris Hyde said the O’hAilpin brothers would bring key position strength and leadership to the club.
“We’re really excited to have Setanta and Aisake join us,” Hyde said.