No Italian move U-turn for Ian Keatley

No Italian move U turn for Ian Keatley
Ian Keatley of London Irish kicks the conversion during the Greene King Championship match between Richmond v London Irish on April 19th 2019 at The Athletic Ground, Richmond, London, England. (Photo by Gareth Davies/PPAUK)

By Damian Dolan

Ian Keatley will not be part of London Irish’s assault on the Premiership next season, as the former Munster and Ireland fly half confirmed that he’s “fully committed” to moving to Pro14 outfit Benetton Treviso in the summer.

Keatley joined the Exiles in January as injury cover for Stephen Myler and Brophy Clews, but ended up playing a leading role in guiding the club to promotion.

He scored a try with his first touch on his debut against Coventry in February at the Madejski Stadium, and went on to score 67 points in seven Championship appearances.

“They [Treviso] signed me back in November and I’ll honour that. I’m looking forward to moving there,” Keatley told the Irish World.

“But I’m going to enjoy my next few weeks with the Irish boys and we still have another trophy to win [Championship Cup].”

No Italian move U turn for Ian Keatley
London Irish players celebrate after winning against Richmond to secure promotion to the Premiership during the Greene King Championship match between Richmond v London Irish on April 19th 2019 at The Athletic Ground, Richmond, London, England. (Photo by Gareth Davies/PPAUK)

He added: “It’s been great; we’ve achieved our goal and I’m delighted for the lads that they’ll be playing top [flight] rugby next year.”

Keatley, 31, scored 1,247 points in 180 appearances for Munster during his eight years at the province, as well as making nine appearances for Ireland.

But he became was surplus to requirements at the Limerick club behind Joey Carbery and Tyler Bleyendaal.

“I wasn’t just coming in to make up the numbers [at London Irish] – I wanted to make a difference and hopefully I did that,” said Keatley.

 

“I fully committed to this club when I first signed. I knew I was only going to be here for a short time and [then] move on. The coaches knew that.”

Although Keatley won’t be part of the Exiles’ Premiership campaign next season, he believes that the club can survive in the league.

“I think they can stay up, but a lot of work needs to go in,” he said.

“Hopefully we’ve put in the ground work. We’ll constantly need to improve because Leicester are down at the bottom – it’s a tough league.”


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