John O'Keeffe (Gaelic footballer)

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For other people named John O'Keeffe, see John O'Keeffe (disambiguation).
John O'Keeffe
Personal information
Irish name Seán Ó Caoimh
Sport Gaelic football
Position Full-back
Born (1951-04-15) 15 April 1951 (age 66)
Tralee, County Kerry
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Occupation Secondary school teacher
Years Club
1960s-1980s Austin Stack's
Club titles
Kerry titles 5
Munster titles 1
All-Ireland Titles 3
Years County Apps (scores)
1969-1984 Kerry 49 (0-07)
Inter-county titles
Munster titles 12
All-Irelands 7
All Stars 5

John O'Keeffe (born 15 April 1951 in Tralee, County Kerry) is a former Irish Gaelic footballer. He played with the local Austin Stacks Gaelic sports club and was a member of the Kerry senior inter-county team from 1969 until 1984. He was a highly talented midfielder, and one of the most stylish and accomplished full-backs in Gaelic football history. He later became the Irish international rules team manager.[1]

Career highlights[edit]

O'Keeffe won seven All-Ireland Senior Football Championship medals and 12 Munster Championship medals. Other honours he won include seven National Football League medals and eight Railway Cup medals between Munster and the Combined Universities. He also won a Munster Junior Championship medal in 1969.

He is among the leading recipients of GAA All Stars Awards, with five awards from 1973, 1975, 1976, 1978, and 1979. He was also named the Texaco Footballer of the Year in 1975.

O'Keeffe retired reluctantly on medical advice after the 1984 Munster Final with a serious hip complaint, having played relatively few games in the previous 18 months. He had hip replacement surgery some 20 years later. His last game for Kerry was in the full back position against Tipperary in the 1984 Munster SFC[clarify] semi-final. O'Keeffe has always maintained that probably his most dangerous opponent was Dublin's Jimmy Keaveney, with whom he enjoyed several battles. His performance against Offaly's Matt Connor in the 1982 All-Ireland final was all the more remarkable considering he had little or no training preparation owing to injury. O'Keeffe is consistently named as full back in various GAA players/managers best ever team selections, particularly in the years leading up to the GAA's Centenary and beyond.

He was captain of the Austin Stacks team that won the 1976 County Senior Football Championship, he also won medals in 1973, 1974, 1979 and 1986 (following a brief comeback), as well as a Munster Club Championship in 1976 and an All-Ireland in 1977. He also won a County Minor Hurling Championship with the club in 1967.

He was part of the St. Brendan's Killarney side that won the school's first Hogan Cup title in 1969.

With the UCD GAA team, he won a Dublin County Championship in 1974, and the Leinster Club Championships and All-Ireland Club Championships in 1973-74 and 1974-75. He also won Sigerson Cup medals in 1973, 1974, and 1975.

He taught history, S.P.H.E.[clarify], and P.E.[clarify] at Tralee Christian Brothers School before retiring after 40 years in 2011.


  1. ^ "O'Keeffe delays naming starting XV for first test". RTÉ.ie. 14 June 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
Preceded by
Tony Hanahoe
(St. Vincent's)
All-Ireland Senior Club Football Final
winning captain

Succeeded by
Richie Bell
(Thomond College)
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Paudie O'Donoghue
Kerry Senior Football Captain
Succeeded by
Mickey 'Ned' O'Sullivan
Preceded by
Mickey 'Ned' O'Sullivan
Kerry Senior Football Captain
Succeeded by
Ger O'Keeffe
Preceded by
Limerick Senior Football Manager
Succeeded by
Dave Quirke
Preceded by
John Maughan
Clare Senior Football Manager
Succeeded by
Tommy Curtin
Preceded by
Brian McEniff
Ireland International Rules Team Manager
Succeeded by
Pete McGrath
Preceded by
Jimmy Keaveney
Texaco Footballer of the Year
Succeeded by
Kevin Heffernan