Collingwood’s Mark Keane became an instant hero in Ireland, winning a Gaelic soccer final with the final kick of the game on his debut.
The 20-year-old, who made his AFL debut in Round 9 against Fremantle last season, returned home six weeks ago.
After Keane obtained the Magpies’ permission, he was named to play for Cork in the semifinals against Kerry in Cork. His team was an outsider.
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Kerry is the most successful team in the history of the sport and has won the All-Ireland title 37 times.Swans Premiership player Tadhg Kennelly returned home mid-career and won the All-Ireland 2009 with them, while ex-St Kilda and Swans player Tommy Walsh are currently on the team.
Cork hadn’t beaten Kerry in eight years.
With Cork 0-13 down to 0-12 in the final seconds of extra time, it all seemed to be over before Keane took possession of the ball right in front of goal and got him past the keeper.
“It’s funny how things work, but I suppose we brought him in without hesitation, but Mark has a keen interest in Cork football. He played underage all the way and even when he was gone he was interested in the team and kept in touch with us and the minute he was back he wanted to play, “said Cork coach Ronan McCarthy after the Game.
“We brought him in and I knew he would be an addition to us and the way it worked today was great. The first is that the player wants to play, that’s the first, and the second is that we got our deal right with Collingwood.
“We asked their permission for him to play and they gave it to us and we are very grateful for that, but at the end of the day Mark has a great interest in Cork football.
“I think he’s back about six weeks but obviously he had to self-isolate when he got back. He’s back about six weeks. He’s back almost as long as we’ve been back, but obviously he couldn’t train with us for the first few weeks.
“I suppose the gate at the end even shows, and I think it was Tommy Walsh who was inside under him too. It is a great target for long balls. He’s a good passerby. He’s a great target man, great physical presence, and has just increased the quality and depth of the group. ”
So remarkable was the result that the Irish media drew comparisons to a famous 1983 game in which Cork also angered Kerry.
One outlet said it was “childhood dreams”.
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