Contributed by: Troy Thompson Friday, January 14 2022 @ 11:25 am ACDT
Collingwood defender Mark Keane and the club have mutually agreed to part ways leaving the club with no Irish men's players this season.
The 21-year-old will remain in Ireland after leaving the AFL program early and returning home in August last year. Keane returned briefly for pre-season training in November but did not return for training on January 10.
Keane joined Collingwood in 2018 as a Category B rookie. He made his AFL debut in round 9 against Fremantle in 2020 and went on to play five senior games.
Keane was contracted until the end of 2022. As a Category B rookie, he is unable to be replaced in the squad.
Keane thanked Collingwood for his AFL opportunity.
“Although a tough call, I know remaining in Ireland and being with my family is the right decision for me at this time,” Keane said.
“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.”
Collingwood GM of Football, Graham Wright, wished Keane well in his departure.
“We thank Mark for his contribution to the program over the past three years,” 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.”
Meanwhile Irish women Aishling Sheridan and Sarah Rowe have started the AFLW season strongly for the club returning to Australia fit and firing in Round 1 completed this past weekend.