Keogh hails Dublin hurling “father-figure” Keaney

by Stephen Findlater

THOMAS Davis man Davy Keogh is looking to cement his place in Dublin plans in 2021 after a rapid-fire return to action last weekend. 

And while Dublin lost their National Hurling Division 1B opened 1-20 to 0-18 to Kilkenny, Davy Keogh says there are plenty of positives to take from the performance. 

It came after just two weeks of collective training for Mattie Kenny’s side. As such, some of the key connections went awry while a bit of “finesse” will come in time but they were well in the hunt against the Cats going into the final quarter level at 0-16 each. 

“The likes of the shooting and the touch is almost expected to be a small bit off with only two weeks training,” Keogh reflected on day one of the league.  

“We applied ourselves massively which we can take from the game. With Laois next, 100% only a win will do and we need to start going out to win every single game, building game on game.” 

From a personal perspective, he is now in his third season with the panel. The first he viewed as an “introductory” campaign while last year he made his breakthrough into the team before Covid hit and things became stop-start. 

As such, Keogh is keen to push on in 2021 and while he was buoyed by his start in the forwards last weekend, he knows things can change quickly. 

“To start any game, to be considered in the 15 any day, is a great achievement. With only two weeks to prepare, it is very hard for any management to pick a team. It’s not like there were club games to pick lads. No one has had anything for five months so it was obviously a tough pick for them. I was happy enough with how it went and now it is about driving on. 

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“This is a year for me to really build, cement a place down. There’s plenty of forwards in there, fighting for places and training is very competitive. There is no space for staying still and not progressing. It’s all a work in progress.” 

One potential rival for a spot up top no longer around this year is Conal Keaney, someone Keogh described as like a father-figure to the team. 

The 22-year-old Keogh – an Old Bawn native – was only in his infancy when Keaney made his senior county debut in 2001. 

And he said he was a massive influence on the county hurlers when their careers overlapped. 

“He only lives about five or six minutes away from me and I do bump into him here and there. He is a good skin and looked after the younger lads, made sure we were involved – guys like him and Paul Ryan were good with me in my first year in, two lads who got everyone involved. 

“20 years is a long time! Even last year, he was 37 or 38 and he was just in unbelievable condition. It was phenomenal and you have to take your hat off to him. He has been a serious servant. 

“He was an absolute kingpin for the past few years, a leader; the minute he stepped onto the pitch, his presence was there and he was unbelievable. There are plenty of lads to step into his shoes, big boots to fill but there are plenty of lads ready to step up to the plate.” 

It is the nature of Covid times that the Ballyboden St Enda’s man did not get a chance yet to formally say his goodbyes to the team in person before announcing his retirement. 

“To not have those last goodbyes must have been tough,” Keogh adds. “You have lads writing the odd paragraph about motivation in the Whatsapp group and then you see ‘Conal Keaney has left’. It’s a strange feeling. I am sure he would have loved to do it after a training or met up with the lads and said it to us. But, at a time like this, you have to do what you have to do.” 

Picture caption: Dublin hurler Davy Keogh is pictured at Parnell Park to support the roll-out of ‘AIG BoxClever’ insurance for young drivers across Ireland. BoxClever is an innovative proposition that promotes and rewards safe driving that can help secure lower car insurance premiums.  www.aig.ie/box.

Click on link to read more in this weeks Digital Edition – Dublin Gazette – Digital Edition – May 13, 2021 %

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