Final Countdown: Barry John Keane – The Man To Make An Impact

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Barry John Keane in action against Mayo in the All-Ireland Semi-Final Replay at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick in August. Photo by Dermot Crean

Player Profile – By Gavin O’Connor

BARRY John Keane’s ability to make an instant impact on games when introduced is quickly earning him a ‘super-sub’ reputation.

It’s one he wouldn’t welcome because, like every member of the panel, they want to be in the action right from the start.

It may come as a surprise to some that in his four years in the senior green and gold colours, Barry John Keane has yet to start a championship match.

“Barry John has got an incredible attitude. There is no one on the Kerry team that works harder than him. He has worked very hard on his game this year and it shows,” said Kerins O’Rahilly’s manager, Barry O’Shea.

The 24 year old forward didn’t pick it off the floor. His grandfather was the late, great John Dowling who captained Kerry to All-Ireland success in 1955 and his father David Keane was no slouch in the footballing department either.

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His first game for Kerry came in 2010 in a league match away to Dublin. In his next game in that year’s league campaign, he came off the bench and kicked three scores against Cork in a game Kerry lost in Pairc Ui Rinn.


Barry John Keane launches a shot on goal in the Kerins O’Rahilly’s V Feale Rangers Kerry County Championship tie back in June. Photo by Dermot Crean

The first major impact Barry John made was in the 2010 Munster Final replay in Pairc Ui Chaoimh, when he kicked two scores in extra time that helped Kerry to the slenderest of victories over the old foe.

He was brought on in each one of Kerry’s championship games in his debut year, a season which ended with a surprise exit to Down at the quarter-final stages.

If early signs were promising for his Kerry prospects, these trailed off in the next couple of years when he saw less game time, but he did, however, make an appearance in the 2011 All-Ireland defeat against Dublin.

Barry John took a break from the inter-county game for last year’s championship. He decided like many of his club-mates have done before and since. to spend the summer working and playing his football in US.

But the new season rolled around, he was back playing football with Kerry.

The 2014 season started  with an opening game in Croke Park against Dublin. Barry John started Kerry’s first four games in the league at right corner forward, kicking 11 points in a run of winless games that saw Kerry facing relegation from the top division.

In two of the last three league games, Barry John came on for Paul Geaney and when Kerry got their championship season under way against Clare in Ennis, Geaney was favoured in the corner forward position.

Despite this, Barry John came on and chipped in with a point from play which helped Kerry ease past Clare in an at times nervy encounter.


Barry John Keane in the All-Ireland Quarter-Final match against Galway at Croke Park in August. Photo by Dermot Crean

In the Munster final he again saw game-time in a match where Kerry coasted to victory. Barry John, made his biggest impression so far this year in the quarter final game against Galway when he came on and kicked three points from play from four shots at goal.

It’s worth noting the professional outlook he takes on shot selection; if he misses a couple, he doesn’t shy away from shooting again. Every moment is of itself, what happened before is inconsequential.

Over the two epic battles against Mayo, Barry John made his biggest impression in the second game although in the first he showed he had high fielding in his game when caught a ball that eventually led to that free for Bryan Sheehan to almost clinch it at the death.

His most important moments of the year were winning a couple of frees at the end of normal time in the Gaelic Grounds. Showing yet again, he is a great weapon to bring off the bench and if Kerry are to win on Sunday, how he plays could have a huge say in Sam’s destination for the year.



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