Keane – Croke Park with your club is “even better”

Ballygiblin and Cork hurler, Mark Keane and Martin O'Neill of Mooncoin, Kilkenny, pictured ahead of one of #TheToughest showdowns of the year, which sees which sees the two sides go head-to-head in the AIB GAA Hurling All-Ireland Junior Club Championship final this Saturday, February 5th at 3pm - one of four AIB GAA Club Championship finals which will be decided at Croke Park this weekend. All four games will be streamed online on Spórt TG4 YouTube ( (Picture: Sportsfile)

– “I’d never forget it if I missed it!” –

Mark Keane, Cork hurler (but much more importantly, Ballygiblin player), says that he’d never forget it if he missed this weekend’s club championship final against Mooncoin. The young inter-county star admits that he didn’t think the first time he’d be in Croke Park would be with Ballygiblin, but to Dublin they’re headed regardless on Saturday.

“It’s everyone’s dream to be in Croke Park with the club. It’s definitely great to be there with your county, but to be there with your club is even better.”


Speaking on Thursday, Mark Keane, Ballygiblin and Cork player, says that leaving the AFL in Australia was a tough decision, but that with supportive management from Down Under, he made the decision to come home.

“It would always be a tough decision to leave the AFL, but the management were very supportive with my transition back to home. I always wanted to come home and play for Cork in either hurling or football, and it felt like the right time to come back.”

Being a natural athlete, he had the choice between football and hurling, but says that his mind is made up – for this season at least. Settling on choosing hurling over football for this season, after this weekend he’ll be ‘fully with Cork’ and hopes to make his debut against Offaly.

“I would have played both hurling and football if I could, but it was the right time to give hurling a go”.

Mark admits that he hadn’t played hurling for the first year and a half when he moved to Australia, but picked up a hurley in Melbourne eventually, and had a puck around with his housemate Cian McBride. On home ground, he’s glad to get stuck in, and the fact that Ballygiblin were doing so well when he came home helped his decision to stay.


In terms of training, Mark reports that there isn’t a whole pile of a difference between training in Cork and in Australia, except in Oz you get more time to recover! The support locally in advance of this weekend’s match is, as everyone will be aware, at fever-pitch, but possibly not quite at the level it was for the Munster semi-final. 

“It’s unbelievable, it’s only a small country club and it’s been just unbelievable. From the top down – Liam O’Doherty and Brian Molan have been unreal. They’re just great characters and you want to play and win for them any day of the week.”

Suffice to say, if Mark and co. bring home the All-Ireland trophy this weekend, John Mandeville might be the only one left still standing!