Cork GAA footballer Mark Keane will return home to Ireland temporarily after his Australian Football League club Collingwood granted him permission to depart early before the end of the current season.
The 21-year-old, who joined Collingwood as a rookie in 2018, had approached the club to seek a green light to return home before the end of the current campaign which still has three rounds to go.
The move means he is potentially available for Mitchelstown's delayed 2020 Cork Intermediate 'A' Football Championship final against Rockchapel on 21 August.
He is contracted to Collingwood for the 2022 season and is due to return to Australia before Christmas for the start of their next pre-season.
"Collingwood ticked off on Mark Keane heading back to Ireland last week three rounds before the end of its season," the AFL club said on their official website.
"The defender, whose long-term girlfriend still lives in Ireland, approached the club recently about the possibility of returning home before the end of the home and away season.
"The Magpies approved the move, with Keane to be back in Australia before Christmas for Collingwood's pre-season campaign."
A finger injury which required surgery kept Keane out of the first two months of the 2021 AFL season, with the player subsequently making four appearances upon his return.
'It's 1983 all over again!!' - Kerry are out of the championship. Here's that extraordinary late goal from Mark Keane which won the game for @OfficialCorkGAA - watch the highlights on @TheSundayGame #rtegaa pic.twitter.com/IoRBaWfxDD— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) November 8, 2020
In 2020, Keane made a brief return from Australia and lined out for Cork in the Munster SFC where he was part of the Rebels' first championship victory over Kerry since 2012, scoring a dramatic late goal.