Cork native Joe Keane is a true blue Dub

As a Cork native, one might expect this Sunday’s All-Ireland ladies SFC final to be less stressful viewing for Dublin county chairman Joe Keane than watching previous deciders during his tenure.

Cork native Joe Keane is a true blue Dub

Now in his fourth year in the role, Keane has overseen three final losses to his home county, with Dublin’s aggregate-losing margin just four points.

Mayo will stand between the Jackies and a second Brendan Martin Cup this weekend, but the Dubs chairman insists he has never had to wrestle with split loyalties on All-Ireland final day, no matter the opposition.

“Not really,” says Keane. “I mean, I’ve been involved in football and GAA in Dublin since I came here many years ago, so you put your lot in with someone and give it 100%. Birthright doesn’t come into it, I’m with Dublin and that’s the end of it and I’m in ladies football [here] 100%.”

“Born and bred near Mallow in north Cork, the parish of Buttevant”, Keane is living in Dublin nearly 30 years since moving for work. “I live out in the village of Naul, so I’ve been involved with them [Clann Mhuire] since I’ve been living out in that parish about 29 years ago.

“I’m here longer than I was down home really, if I can call Cork home,” laughs the Dublin Airport customs official.

The fact that his adopted county came out the wrong side each time had a devastating impact.

“I am well used to final build-ups but I’m used to what happens after them as well,” says Keane ahead of Sunday’s decider.

“I’d know and have gone to school with some of the players that are in the current Cork team… You wish them the best of luck, but the truth is I was heartbroken when Dublin lost those finals.”

The chairman hopes to see Mick Bohan’s side finally tick that box and claim the capital’s second All-Ireland after their maiden 2010 success.

While three in a row for Jim Gavin’s team has revived some vague notions about splitting the county’s men, the Girls in Blue have not managed the same national haul, but Keane is keen to leave a successful legacy, ideally highlighted by an All-Ireland senior win and buttressed by a strong underage structure.

“I think we’ve taken time to turn towards the development side of it and that’s really been put in place,” he says.

“I suppose in years to come, I’d like to think that someone might look back and say my tenure had at least one senior All-Ireland win and that’ll be next weekend, and that the development of the quality of players would be similar to what the men’s side of the house did.

“I think in the next couple of years you’re going to see real quality players coming through to back up the quality players that are already there.”

In keeping with his mission, Keane hopes the capital’s supporters turn out in force this Sunday to trump the record crowd of 34,445 that turned out for last year’s ladies final.

“In terms of support, I’d love to see the Hill full to support them,” he says.

“That there’d be enough tickets sold with Dublin supporters to come into Hill 16.

“I’d love to see the women of Dublin turn to a Hill with full support, but that’s up to the people of Dublin.

“And I’d love to see more women supporting them because it’s a fantastic game.”

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