Austin Gilgronis signed Mark O’Keeffe for the 2022 Major League Rugby season. The 27-year-old Irish wing/center is 6’1″ and 220 lbs.
Mark played 892 minutes in 13 matches, starting 11, and scored 7 tries for Rugby ATL in 2021. He then played with Old Blue during the Fall American Rugby Premiership season.
Mark played 206 minutes in 4 matches, starting 3, for Rugby United New York during the pandemic shortened 2020 season. After the season he returned to Lansdowne FC and then played in the World Tens Series for the Miami Sun.
Mark made his Roosters (#20) debut in the 4th week of the 2019 season against NOLA Gold. He played 956 minutes in 14 matches, starting 13, at Inside-center, outside-center, and wing. He carried the ball 93 times for 959 meters, led the team with 11 broken tackles, and made 94 of his own. He also scored 4 tries. In the off-season, Mark played with Old Blue during Fall 2019 in the American Rugby Premiership.
Mark studied at University College Dublin and played for the team. He also played the last four years for Lansdowne FC, which competes in the Division 1A of the Ulster Bank All-Ireland League, home of the top 50 clubs in the nation. He contributed to the team winning the league title in 2018. One of his best rugby memories was scoring two tries for the 1st XV in his debut.
Before playing for Lansdowne, Mark played with Leinster’s Under-19s side and Connacht’s Under-20s team. He was also part of Saint Michael’s First XV that won the Leinster Senior Cup in 2012.
“O’Keeffe has proven himself one of Ireland’s most exciting young players to watch for the future having been a lethal try scorer, always in the conversation for leading the team and league tally.”
DJCoil Rugby Interview
Mark O’Keeffe, Rugby United New York, discusses playing for Lansdowne vs. RUNY, rugby in the U.S., and his coming to NY as a professional player on April 14, 2019, at MCU Park.
Austin Gilgronis Comments
AG Rugby is thrilled to announce the signing of 2021 MLR First XV center Mark O’Keeffe. O’Keeffe is coming off a breakout season and looks to add more firepower to the AG backline.
Sam Harris knew he had to acquire the speedy Irish-born center for 2022, “Mark O’Keeffe had an amazing match against us last season when RugbyATL came to Austin, and after that – I knew we had to have him. He has tremendous speed and line-running ability and we feel he’s only just begun to crack his potential.”
After two seasons on the wing with Rugby United New York, O’Keeffe signed on with RugbyATL and made the position change to outside center. It proved to be a savvy move as he racked up impressive attacking stats; week after week, sitting amongst the league’s best in meters carried. O’Keefe’s production helped RugbyATL to the top of the Eastern Conference; edging out his old team RUNY along the way. While RugbyATL fell short in the championship match against the LA Giltinis, it only fueled Mark O’Keeffe’s hunger to lift the MLR shield, a task he believes is attainable with his new team in Austin.
Mark O’Keeffe is in a really good headspace ahead of the 2022 season. “Every season in this league has been different – now I have a chip on my shoulder and something to prove, I want to hit the ground running. I’m a bit learn and quicker and I have the experience now of playing in big matches – playing in the coliseum. I feel like a real veteran in this league and certainly, with a young, hungry team like the AGs I think I fit right in.”
O’Keeffe has put up impressive numbers in the AG’s Sports Performance testing this off-season and looks to be primed for another big season.
Welcome to the AG Family, Mark O’Keeffe!