Keaney ends 20-year stint traversing the codes in sky blue

by Stephen Findlater
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BALLYBODEN St Enda’s Conal Keaney will step back from intercounty GAA after 20 years, traversing both football and hurling codes to immaculate effect, winning Leinster championships in both.

In hurling, he was a central character in Dublin hurling’s most recent greatest days such as the NHL Division 1 final success of 2011 and, two years later, when Dublin lifted the Bob O’Keeffe Cup as Leinster champions.

That incredible victory saw Dublin end a 52-year wait to be crowned Leinster champions before losing narrowly in the All-Ireland SHC semi-final against Cork.

The Dubs, under the management of Anthony Daly, had beaten Galway in the provincial decider with a devastating display to prevail 2-25 to 2-13 having beaten both Kilkenny and Wexford in replays earlier in their successful Leinster campaign.

“He was a great player, and if there was one thing that was the catalyst for us kicking on from 2010 it was him coming over,” said the Dublin manager of that time, Anthony Daly. “It was massive. It seemed to fill the rest of the boys with fierce belief as well.”

Keaney started his inter-county senior career in his Leaving Cert year with the hurlers in 2001 and represented the county in both codes at minor, Under-21 and senior level.

In 2003 he was part of the Dublin team that defeated Kilkenny in a memorable Walsh Cup final in Parnell Park.

During his senior football days he was part of five Dublin Leinster SFC winning panels as well as landing an All-Ireland Under-21 Championship in 2003.

He joined the senior panel in 2005 and scored 1-4 in his first senior championship match against Longford en route to provincial final success against Laois in which he also scored the first point.

In the 2006 Leinster victory, he landed 16 points in three games as the title was retained and a third title followed in 2007 with Laois the opponent for a third successive year. He landed six points in the 2008 final win over Wexford before and then landed another three points in 2009’s final against Kildare.  

Following the 2010 season, he reverted back to the county’s hurlers. He also won three Railway Cup titles, two with the Leinster hurlers and one with the Leinster footballers.

His club career with Ballyboden St Enda’s has also yielded huge success, claiming an All-Ireland senior football title in 2016 alongside two Leinster senior football titles, seven Dublin senior hurling championship titles and three Dublin senior football titles.

PHOTO – Conal Keaney in action for Dublin in 2011. Picture: Stephen Findlater

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