Setanta Ó hAilpín
||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2008)|
|Setanta Ó hAilpín|
|Full name||Setanta Ó hAilpín|
|Date of birth||18 March 1983|
|Place of birth||Sydney|
|Original team||Na Piarsaigh (Cork GAA)|
|Draft||2011 National Draft: No. 79 (Greater Western Sydney)|
|Height/Weight||199cm / 103 kg|
Greater Western Sydney
|International team honours|
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 2013 season.
Setanta Ó hAilpín (born 18 March 1983) is a Fijian-Irish sportsman. He was a hurler with the Cork senior team before becoming a professional Australian Rules footballer. He is of mixed Irish and Rotuman background. His brothers Seán Óg, Teu and Aisake are also noted sportsmen.
Early life and Gaelic games
Ó hAilpín was born in Australia to an Irish father and a mother from the Fijian dependency of Rotuma. The family moved to Cork in Ireland in 1988 and Ó hAilpín played both hurling and Gaelic football for Na Piarsaigh, eventually concentrating on hurling. In 2000 he was selected for the Cork minor team. He studied at Waterford Institute of Technology and starred on its Fitzgibbon Cup-winning side in March 2003.
He joined his elder brother, Seán Óg, on the Cork team for the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship 2003, which lost the final to Kilkenny in September. His contribution to the campaign earned him an All-Star award and the Young Hurler of the Year award.
In December 2003 Ó hAilpín announced his move to Australia to play Australian rules football for the Carlton Football Club in Melbourne. This was considered surprising, as AFL recruiters in Ireland primarily targeted Gaelic footballers and Ó hAilpín had concentrated on hurling. Younger brother Aisake followed Setanta to Carlton, while elder brother Seán Óg continued with the Cork hurlers.
Ó hAilpín returned to Ireland in 2004 to play for the Irish team in the 2004 International Rules Series against Australia. During his trip, he also turned out alongside his brothers for Na Piarsaigh as they won the Cork Senior Hurling Championship.
Originally placed on the rookie list, strong performances for Carlton's VFL-affiliate, the Northern Bullants, saw Setanta elevated to the primary list in place of Anthony Franchina during 2004; however, injury stunted his progress during that season. He made his AFL debut during 2005, but had limited game time, scoring a goal with his only kick – a set shot at the very end of the game.
Ó hAilpín was placed on Carlton's senior list in 2006. After playing largely in the forward line for the first years of his development, he was shifted to half-back in early 2006. He gained regular senior selection late in the season, going on to play in the final ten games of the season.
Ó hAilpín began the 2007 season playing at full-back, playing the first six games there. An injury to Cameron Cloke then saw Ó hAilpín replacing him as a back-up ruckman. He has also been rotated forward from the ruck position, making him versatile. In June 2007, Setanta exchanged punches with teammate Cain Ackland in a training match. The event drew some media attention, however the club at the time brushed the incident off.
Ó hAilpín became a crowd favourite among Carlton fans. His nickname, "Carlos", is derived from the similarity between "Setanta" and "Santana", the surname of the Mexican-American guitarist Carlos Santana. "Setanta" was the birth-name of Cúchulainn, hero of the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology.
On 6 February 2009, Ó hAilpín was suspended indefinitely by the Carlton Football Club for his involvement in a violent altercation with teammate Cameron Cloke in an internal trial match. His actions were scrutinised by the AFL's match review panel on 9 February and he faced being forced into anger management counselling. On 9 February 2009, Ó hAilpín was suspended for four weeks by the AFL tribunal after being charged with a level four offence for striking Cloke and a level two offence for kicking him. He came close to returning to Ireland.
Ó hAilpín was back in the side in Round 5 for the Blues' game with the Western Bulldogs. In Carlton's Round 11 clash with Brisbane at The Gabba, Ó hAilpín played his 50th AFL game, the third Irishman to achieve the milestone. He kicked a goal and set up Brendan Fevola for one as the Blues won by six points. Ó hAilpín played one of his best games against the unbeaten Saints on Round 12 clash. He kicked a vital final quarter goal and set-up another to Brendan Fevola. Ó hAilpín's match performances only got better and, for the first time ever, he kicked four goals in a game against Fremantle in which the Blues came from behind at three quarter time to score an important win.
Before the game that would have seen Ó hAilpín play his first AFL final, he was dropped by the Carlton selection committee before the elimination final against Brisbane.
Following the departure of Fevola in the 2009/10 offseason, Ó hAilpín became the regular full forward/half forward in the Carlton line-up. He began to average over two goals per game, and on 2 May 2010 he kicked a career high five goals, becoming the first Irish player to do so.
During the AFL Trade Week at the end of 2010, Ó hAilpín was linked with a move to the Western Bulldogs after apparently being unhappy at being dropped from the Blues' side midway through the season and never getting back in. He played eight matches in 2011, including two finals, but was delisted at the end of the season; Carlton indicated that it would have preferred to have kept him on the list, but was forced to delist one more of its out-of-contract players due to league requirements that clubs make three changes to their primary list each season.
Greater Western Sydney
In the following offseason, Ó hAilpín was recruited to the inaugural AFL playing list of the Greater Western Sydney Football Club, the club using its fifth round selection in the 2011 AFL National Draft (No. 79 overall) to recruit him. He played his first match for Greater Western Sydney in Round 6, 2012, against his former team Carlton, kicking two goals before rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in the third quarter of the game. He scored five goals on his comeback from this injury in Round 4 of the 2013 season against Melbourne. Ó hAilpín was delisted by the Giants at the end of the 2013 season after playing seven games for the club. In December 2013 he was appointed by NSW/ACT, the governing body of Australian Rules in New South Wales, as the "Multicultural Program Coordinator" for Western Sydney.
- Keys, Colm (28 November 2003). "Rebel ace Setanta not for Rules code". Irish Independent. Retrieved 23 February 2008.
- Ralph, Jon (7 February 2009). "Double blow for angry Blue Setanta o'hAilpin". Herald Sun.
- "O'hAilpin Suspended by Carlton". CarltonFC.com.au. 6 February 2009. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- Ralph, Jon (6 February 2009). "Double blow for angry Blue Setanta o'hAilpin". AdelaideNow. Retrieved 7 February 2009.
- RTÉ "Setanta came close to leaving Oz", 16 October 2009 16:05
- "Changes to Carlton's list". Carlton Football Club. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- "GWS – 2011 national draft". Herald Sun. 24 November 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
- Timms, Daryl (7 May 2012). "Setanta O'hAilpin suffers season-ending knee injury against Carlton". Herald Sun. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
- Video: Setanta O hAilpin’s return to the AFL after injury went pretty well
- O'hAilpin, Thornton among five Giants delisted
- Brett Kohlhagen (26 November 2013). "Albury Tigets snap up Irish star Setanta O'hAilpin". The Border Mail. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
- Setanta Ó hAilpín's profile on the official website of the Greater Western Sydney Football Club
- Setanta Ó hAilpín's statistics from AFL Tables
- Setanta Ó hAilpín profile in Blueseum
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