Conal Keaney has retired from intercounty hurling. In a tweet on Monday morning the Dublin dual player announced the decision.
“Thanks for a great 20 years @dublingaa it was a great journey but the time has come.”
Keaney, who is 38, had been plagued by injury in recent years, made his debut for the hurlers in the 2001 championship as a replacement in the defeat by Laois before going on to win an All-Ireland under-21 football medal in the 2003 final against Tyrone, which was Dublin’s first title at the grade.
He exclusively focused on football thereafter and won five Leinster titles in the late 2000s, playing generally in the full forward line. He took the decision to switch back to hurling after, having played in that year’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat by Cork.
The move paid immediate dividends as Anthony Daly managed the county to a first league title in 72 years and the same season the footballers began their domination of the championship. Keaney was also integral to the Leinster championship winning campaign of 2013, which culminated in a narrow All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Cork.
He retired for the first time in 2016 but was persuaded to return to the intercounty fold when Pat Gilroy took over for the 2018 season and Keaney enjoyed two good seasons as Dublin qualified from Leinster in 2019 but injury dogged him and he bowed to the inevitable.
Speaking to Hill 16 Army’s ‘Blue is the Colour’ podcast last December, Keaney spoke about this thoughts on retirement.
“They don’t need an auld lad around saying anything, these young lads are really talented and really confident and so they should be. For me, I wouldn’t be hanging in there to be a part of it. I’ll only play if I feel I have something to give and if I’m good enough to play. I’m not there to make up the numbers or anything like that.”