Goal hero Mark Keane's perfect send-off for Ballygiblin as Aussie Rules calls

Victory over Dromtarriffe at Páirc Uí Rinn means Keane returns to Australia on a high
Goal hero Mark Keane's perfect send-off for Ballygiblin as Aussie Rules calls

Mark Keane blasts in a goal for Ballygiblin against Dromtarriffe. Picture: Larry Cummins

THE scenes at Páirc Uí Rinn following Ballygiblin’s JAHC final win over Dromtarriffe 2-18 to 0-18 were incredible as players and fans wept openly on their historic day.

This was a terrific team performance but for Mark Keane, this was especially memorable as he departs back to Australia on Monday.

Keane, a Rebel hero for his goal against Kerry in the 2020 Munster football semi-final, is a quality hurler too and his strike with seven minutes remaining gave his side the impetus to win this memorable final.

“This win is incredible and when I arrived home from Australia the lads were getting ready for the championship and I knew the players were there to make an impact going forward,” said Keane.

The season has been a tough one but winning tight games stood to them in this final according to Keane.

“We hadn’t some of the football lads for some games so winning didn’t come easily and I think we have come from behind in every championship game."

Keane looked emotional getting as he gets ready to return to Australia.

“This is a good send-off heading back Down Under and we will enjoy tonight as you can see what it means to the majority of our small parish.” 

 Joy at the final whistle for Ballygiblin at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Larry Cummins
Joy at the final whistle for Ballygiblin at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Larry Cummins

Keane suggested that he would like one day to represent Cork hurling at senior level.

I would like one day to come back and play with Cork whether it's next year or the year after as I am seriously considering switching codes as I just love the sport.” 

Based with Collingwood in Melbourne Keane believes winning a county will lift the whole community.

“For such a small club to win a county is something dreams are made of and just look around and to see what it means to the players is something that me so proud to be part of.

“To reach the Junior A county final for the first time in our history and win it is a great achievement and there will be one hell of a celebration in the parish tonight.” 

Looking back on the goal that proved crucial for his team Keane smiled when describing how he came to change position in the closing minutes.

“One of the lads said to me get up there and try do something for us as I had played in the forward line for the first three games and the rest is history.” 

 Ballygiblin full-back Fionn Herlihy celebrates after their win. Picture: Larry Cummins
Ballygiblin full-back Fionn Herlihy celebrates after their win. Picture: Larry Cummins

The expression of delight on the face of coach Ronan Dwane said it all.

“This team are an incredible bunch as every game has gone down to the wire and we always found a way to win which is testament to the character in our squad,” said Dwane.

The message from Dwane was simple as he knew his side had the artillery to upset the hot favourites.

“When you have been involved in so many tight games it stands to you in a final of this nature and it was simple stay in the game and go into overdrive when it was there to be won,” added Dwane.

On a final note Dwane paid tribute to the departing Mark Keane.

“To be honest Mark is an incredible athlete and I have no doubt this man could play at the highest level of hurling as he’s got it all.”

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