Bryan Keane Retires from International Competition

Bryan Keane Athlone Finish 2009 HR (1)

Keane Retires

One of Ireland’s most successful triathletes, Bryan Keane has announced his retirement from international competition.

The 36-year-old’s departure from the international scene brings to a close a triathlon career that has seen him compete in some of the biggest races in the world, including multiple ITU World Championships events and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Bryan Keane recorded a total of 23 top ten placings at elite ITU triathlon events and has multiple Irish national titles to his name across aquathlon, sprint, standard and middle distance triathlon events. 

Most memorably, Keane won with a storming running performance in front of a home crowd when TriAthlone staged an ITU European Cup race in 2009.

2009 Athlone Podium

Olympics Highlight

Bryan Keane said competing for Ireland at the Rio Olympics was a definite highlight of his career and gave him a sense of redemption after missing out on the London Olympics through injury.

“It’s a real honour to represent your country and to represent Triathlon Ireland at multiple world championships and at the Olympic Games. Every time I raced, it was an amazing and something I never took for granted,” said Keane.

“I dreamt as a kid to go to a Games and I made it there. I went in to compete and not make up the numbers. I didn't have the performance I wanted on the day but I went there with the shape to deliver the performance.”

Bryan Keane Ishigaki Podium


In 2010 Keane recorded the highest ever finish position by an Irish male in a triathlon World Championship when he claimed 7th place at the ITU Elite Sprint World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The win came during a remarkable year for Keane - within a two week period he had finished 2nd at a World Cup event in Holten and before he returned home to comfortably retain his national middle distance title at the Lost Sheep Triathlon in Kerry.

But disaster was to strike Keane within a month when he was knocked from his bike by a car during an off-season training spin near his parents home in Cork. 

He broke his kneecap in two from the crash - an injury that derailed his qualification campaign for the London 2012 Olympics.

“The crash was a low point. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to come back from it. I never thought it would be two years to get back and that I’d have to learn to run again. It was a difficult time but you suck it up and your get on with it and in fairness I had a fantastic support team behind me who helped me get back.”


No ‘What-ifs’

Looking back now on the years he missed, Keane says that while it definitely set back his career, he has learned not to think about the ‘what-ifs’.

“I don’t think you can regret anything, the accident took away two years of my career and cost me a place in London. I would have loved to have been a double-Olympian but I learned from it, you can’t dwell on it too much.”

“I think I got to the same level again but it took a long time. It’s something that’s always there but you play the cards that you’re dealt and you have to get on with it and not bitch and moan.”

“You dream as a kid to achieve something, then that’s taken away from you but I got a second chance to go after it again. It would have been very easy to say, that’s gone, in a typical Irish way of saying ‘I could have been great’ but I didn’t want to be saying that, I wanted to actually get back and prove myself, which I did.” 

Bryan Keane 160716-hamburg-elite-hr-msj-051


Keane said he started considering retirement around Christmas 2016.

“I had intended to complete one more year but there were a few different circumstances coming together. Paul Donovan (Keane’s long term swim coach in the National Aquatic Centre) was finishing up in Swim Ireland so I was going to need a new swim coach. Also I got married in October and you can’t be on the road for eight months of the year, it’s not fair.”

“I had enough of battering myself and pushing myself. Triathlon has been fantastic, it’s allowed me to travel the world and see so much but there comes a point when I just didn’t want to do it anymore. In the last 11 years I could count the number of sessions that I missed on two hands, now it doesn’t matter, I had been in bubble and it’s nice to step out the bubble.”

Not Leaving Triathlon

While he retiring from the international scene, Keane said he will still stay involved in triathlon domestically, though probably not as a competitor.

“I don’t think I’ll do any races for a while but maybe if I end up having kids doing the sport I will get involved, if the old race suit still fits me!”

“I would definitely like to stay involved to some degree with mentoring the younger elite athletes. I’ve been doing talks around the country for triathlon clubs and it’s great to see that most of the clubs I go in to now have youth and junior sections. The sport is still growing and the next generation of high performance athletes are really promising.”


"Fantastic Role Model"

The CEO of Triathlon Ireland, Chris Kitchen has said Keane’s retirement will be a ‘huge loss’ to elite triathlon in this country.

“Bryan has been a fantastic role model as an elite triathlete, keeping focussed, never giving up and bouncing back stronger from major setbacks and disappointment, culminating in him achieving his long standing goal of qualifying for and flying the flag for Ireland at the Olympics.”

“He joins a very select few who have that accolade and it is of course something that can never be taken away. In all that time Bryan has behaved like a true professional and gentleman. He has never forgotten his responsibilities to sponsors, TI or his roots; happily doing a photoshoot or visiting a local club to give a talk.”

“For any young up and coming athlete it would do no harm to look at Bryan and take onboard some of his grit determination and level headedness to set goals and then go out to achieve them,” said Mr Kitchen.

del_6463 - Mooloolaba


As he departs the international stage, Bryan Keane wants to acknowledge the help of his coaches and support team who helped him compete over the past decade.

“There are so many people who helped me along the way like my coaches Chris Jones, Tommie Evans; Mary Dawson and Petra McFadden of the High Performance team in Triathlon Ireland. My physios Deirdre Burrell and Sarah Jane McDonnell, my Strength and Conditioning coach Martina McCarthy.”

“I’d also like to thank Sport Ireland and the Institute for Sport, the Olympic Council for the solidarity funding that helped me get to the Olympics and of course all of my sponsors who stood by me over the years.”