Mark Keane in action for Collingwood.
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Mark Keane: 'Although a tough call, I know remaining in Ireland is the right decision for me'
The Cork star has departed AFL club Collingwood.

MARK KEANE HAS shed some light on “the right decision” to depart his AFL club, Collingwood, and remain in Ireland.

The42 reported the news this afternoon, with confirmation landing from Collingwood tonight.

“Although a tough call, I know remaining in Ireland and being with my family is the right decision for me at this time,” Cork star Keane said in a statement released by the Australian outfit after a mutual agreement to part ways.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Pies, and I thank the club for giving me the opportunity to play AFL football.

“The club has greatly supported me for the duration of my stay in Australia and I will always appreciate that.”

The 21-year-old joined Collingwood in 2018 as a Category B rookie, and went on to establish himself as a promising defender.

Keane returned from Australia to play for his club Ballygiblin in the Munster club junior hurling final last Sunday, and was due to return to Australia for pre-season but instead, opted to stay. He had one year left on his current contract.

“We thank Mark for his contribution to the program over the past three years,” Collingwood’s General Manager of football, Graham Wright, said.

“Unfortunately, Mark has suffered from homesickness his entire time at Collingwood. He went home early in August prior to the season finishing and returned after training had started in November.

“Mark didn’t return for training in the New Year and we decided, along with Mark, that the rigours of AFL football combined with being away from home are too much for him at this time.

“We wish Mark all the best with his future endeavours and hope being home in Ireland is exactly what he needs.”

kevin-flahive-celebrates-after-the-game-with-mark-keane Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Celebrating the famous 2020 win over Kerry. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

Keane famously returned to these shores during the 2020 AFL off-season, scoring an extra-time goal to secure a Munster semi-final win for the Rebels and eliminate Kerry from the championship at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

He has also played club football with Mitchelstown through the years, with his Ballygiblin hurling side due to play in the All-Ireland club semi-final in two weeks against Fullen Gaels.

It’s widely reported that he will commit to the Cork hurlers this year.

As a Category B rookie, Keane cannot be replaced in the Collingwood squad, having made his debut against Fremantle in 2020, and played five senior games.

- Additional reporting by Maurice Brosnan.

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

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