Lee Keegan's Croke Park win banishes Mayo demons
The Footballer of the Year won the All-Ireland Intermediate Club Final last weekend10:54 Monday 20 February 2017, 10:54 20 Feb 2017
For Mayo footballers, they dream of winning an All-Ireland title in September.
An All-Ireland triumph in February may not be at the top of their agendas, but for Footballer of the Year Lee Keegan, winning the All-Ireland Intermediate Club Final may be the best moment of his career.
Keegan's Westport defeated Meath's St. Colmcille's 2-12 to 3-08, as the 27-year-old banished some of the demons of previous All-Ireland Final visits to GAA HQ.
"There's been a lot of long years of hurt and pain. It felt like that way again today, that we were going to lose it at the end," Keegan revealed after the match, during AIB's live streaming of the match.
"We put a lot of work in today and if that ball had went over the bar, I'm not sure how much would've been left in the tank after the semi-final. Finally we just got one lucky break."
"I think we were fully deserving winners today", Keegan added. "We tried our best to lose it at times. The scenes here now, I'm just over the moon. It makes up for all those hard years of long slogs, hurt, pain, and losing All-Irelands here in Croke Park."
"Finally, a Mayo team has come to Croke Park and won an All-Ireland. What more can you ask for?"
With his brother Phil by his side, Keegan called the win a "fairytale" for the Mayo club.
"Today just shows what it's all about. The support we have here today, the man beside me - I have my brother in the squad - it's a fairytale to be honest. It's a dream come true."
Keegan was a promising rugby player as a teenager, and was part of Connacht's academy, before deciding to focus on gaelic football. He added that winning with his club mates reinvigorated his love for the club game.
"I've openly said that I was never the biggest club man when I was younger but I've grown into and this year has just been an absolutely amazing experience. It's just been the best journey of my life and it's something that I'm going to treasure for the rest of my days."
"All-Irelands are hard won and, if you only win one, you have to enjoy that success, and believe me we will enjoy it."
Whatever happens with Mayo's footballers this summer, 2017 will have been a memorable one for the Footballer of the Year.
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