Waterford dealt big blow as Stephen O'Keeffe steps away for 2021 season
Getting in before the 2021 deadline with another crushing blow.
Stephen O'Keeffe - one of the country's leading goalkeepers - is opting out of the Waterford senior hurling panel for 2021, it was confirmed by the county today.
The Ballygunner clubman, who pulled off a stunning double save (see below) in this year's All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final defeat to Limerick, will not be part of The Déise challenge for Liam MacCarthy and the Allianz League next year.
The first save was good, the second something special from Stephen O'Keeffe.pic.twitter.com/aut4XaTCSL
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) December 13, 2020
A short statement confirming the news was released by Waterford GAA on their social media channels this afternoon. It read:
'Stephen O Keeffe has informed the Waterford management team he is taking some time out and will be unavailable for the 2021 season. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Stephen who has given fantastic service to Waterford Hurling over the last 10 years.'
O'Keeffe has been part of a prodigious Ballygunner senior panel since 2009 and won eight county titles and one Munster title with the club. He made his senior Waterford debut in 2011, when he served as back-up to Clinton Hennessy, before coming to the fore a year later.
O'Keeffe has been described as 'the Manuel Neuer of hurling' due to his ability to sweep up for his defence and distribute the ball, and find teammates, so well around the park.
He won a league title with Waterford in 2015 and claimed an All Star award in 2017 when he helped his county reach the All-Ireland final, which they lost, against Galway. He is expected to push Limerick goalkeeper Nickie Quaid close when the 2020 All Stars are announced, next month.