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'Maybe I'm too old, I don't know' - Conal Keaney drops a strong retirement hint

The 33-year-old will make a call on his Dublin hurling future early next year.

Keaney helped Ballyboden St Enda's to their first Leinster SFC club title last weekend.
Keaney helped Ballyboden St Enda's to their first Leinster SFC club title last weekend.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

TALISMAN DUBLIN HURLER Conal Keaney has dropped a strong retirement hint by admitting he may be ‘too old’ to continue at the top level.

The 33-year old said he’ll mull over his Sky Blues future until the new year at least as he weighs up his options.

He’ll be in club action until mid-February at least with new AIB Leinster club football champions Ballyboden St Enda’s.

Ex-Dublin footballer Keaney played a key role in Sunday’s provincial final win with four points and a typically Trojan display.

The powerful forward’s aim now is to replicate the All-Ireland success of St Vincent’s in 2014 after keeping the Leinster title in Dublin for a fourth consecutive season.

But as far as Dubs hurling is concerned, the 2011 Allianz league and 2013 Leinster title winner said it’s a decision he’s struggling to nail down.

“I don’t really know what’s happening with Dublin, to be fair,” said Keaney. “I haven’t talked to Ger (Cunningham), I’ve just been concentrating on this. Maybe I’m too old to play any more, I don’t know.

“It’s always on your mind, you’re always trying to look at yourself because there’s always a season ahead or something coming down the line but, you know, I do have to really look at it.

“I’m 33 now and is it the right thing for me or is it the right thing for Dublin for me to keep going? I don’t know. It’s just as well we won so the decision won’t be for a while.”

Keaney admitted he almost missed out on the club football odyssey with ‘Boden who overcame Portlaoise to claim a maiden provincial title.

He hadn’t planned to play football and only decided to fully commit once the club’s hurlers exited the championship earlier than hoped.

Asked when he decided to play club football, Keaney said: “Probably about the Wednesday night before we played Kilmacud in the championship.

“Obviously our focus was big on the hurling this year. We wanted to really put a stamp on it this year and when we were beaten in the hurling, we just regrouped and said, ‘what else are we going to do?’

“So we said, ‘let’s just go and play football’, the whole lot of us. That’s what we did and we really knuckled down.”

Ballyboden will play London’s Tir Chonaill Gaels or Munster champions Clonmel Commercials in an All-Ireland semi-final on February 13.

It’s another feather in the cap of highly rated manager Andy McEntee who guided Meath’s minors to the 2012 All-Ireland final.

Ultra experienced Keaney praised: “Andy is a seriously top, top manager. He’s probably one of the best managers I think I’ve ever had. He just understands players so well.

“He pushes you when you need to be pushed and pats you on the back when you need to be patted on the back.”

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Paul Keane

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