Michael Keohane – Co Cork

Mike Keohane received a liver transplant in 2007. He resides in beautiful West Cork, five miles west of Clonakilty near the lovely seaside town of Rosscarbery with his wife Dee.

Mike will be competing in this year’s World Transplant Games in the 40-49 year age category in the following events:

  • Darts Singles
  • Darts Triples
  • Track & Field – Shot Putt
  • Track & Field – 5km Racewalk
  • Track & Field – Discus

Mike joined Team Ireland in 2010 and since then has competed at National, European and World levels, in countries including Croatia, Poland, and Helsinki. He specialises in the 5 Km Race Walk, the Shot Putt, Discus and Javelin but has also competed and won medals in Badminton and Darts.

Mike started competing with Team Ireland in 2010 in time for the European Championships which were held in Dublin that year. These were very special as they were the first Games since Mike’s Liver transplant in December 2007. Here he won medals in Shot Putt (Bronze)  Badminton (Silver in Doubles & Singles) and Bronze in Darts. Team Ireland travelled to Croatia in 2012 and here Mike won 5 medals there (Gold in 5k Race walk, Gold in Discus, Bronze in Shot Putt, Bronze in Badminton and Bronze in Darts). In the European Championships held in Krakow, Poland in 2014, he won 3 medals (Silver Darts, Bronze in 5k race walk, Bronze in Discus).  Team Ireland travelled to Helsinki, Finland in 2016 Championships and Mike won Gold (Discus), Silver (5k Race-walk) and Bronze (Badminton). In February 2017, both Mike and his fellow Corkman Charlie Ryan received the Lord Mayor’s Recognition Award for their sporting success in Finland.

Mike has also competed in the British Transplant Games with the Dublin Adults team. These were held in Sheffield in 2013 and here Mike won Gold in the Discus, Silver in the 5k Race-walk, Bronze in Shot Putt. The British Transplant Games were on in Bolton in 2014 and this year Mike took Gold in the 5k Race-walk, Bronze in Discus and Shot Putt. In the 2015 UK Championships in Newcastle, he won Gold (5k Race-walk), Silver (Discus) and Silver (Shot Putt).  In 2016, at the UK Games in Liverpool, he retained his 5k Race-walk title for the 3rd year in a row, and won another Gold in the Discus and a Silver medal in the Shot Putt.  Mike has also competed in the Javelin and Archery.

The World Transplant Championships took placed in Malaga in 2017 and Mike won his first world medal in the Darts triples event. He then went on to win Silver in the 5k Race Walk which he completed in a time of 28.31 and followed that by a third medal – Silver – in the Discus throw. Mike then went on to represent Ireland in the UK Championships held in Scotland that year. Here, he won Gold in the 5k Race-walk for the fourth year in a row, Silver in the Shot Put and Silver in the Discus and also took bronze in the Javelin.  This success culminated in him receiving the West Cork Sports Star of the month and was a fitting tribute for the tenth anniversary of his Liver Transplant in 2007.

In 2018, the European Championships were held in Sardinia. Mike continued his successes taking bronze in both  the 5K Race-walk and Shot Put and then went on to win Silver in the Discus. Following this success, Mike travelled the 41st British Transplant Championships in Birmingham in August 2018.  Having won the Race-walk  for the fifth year in a row, he retains the title of 5K UK Race-walk Champion.   He also took Gold in the Discus and Silver in the Shot putt. Next in his vision are the World Games in Newcastle and aiming to hold his title in the British Championships for the 6th year in a row.

Mike trains 5 days a week, race-walking, circuit training and in his throwing events. Mike continues to honour his donor each and every day of his new life. His sporting success is a huge personal achievement whilst at the same time it showcases the success of organ donation and transplantation whilst offering inspiration to those who are newly transplanted or newly diagnosed with organ failure.

Both Mike and Dee agree that being part of Team Ireland has been a life-enhancing experience – the sense of family and goodwill in the team is inspirational and they have made lifelong friends. Team Manager Colin White and Team Captain Harry Ward coordinate the Games experience so capably and along with IKA CEO Mark Murphy, team Doctor, PR guru Sarah May & Gwen – they all make Team Ireland the strong unit that it is today.  

Transplant Sport actively promotes the importance of more people telling their family and friends they wish to donate, so that families do not refuse to give consent because of a lack of knowledge. It demonstrates powerfully that organ donation works and each athlete is deeply grateful for the gift of life – none more so than Mike who says:

I am so thankful for these opportunities that I would never have had without the donor and the donor’s family and ten years on from my transplant, I am fitter and healthier than I have ever been – I am deeply grateful for the precious gift of life”.                                                                     

Like all of his colleagues in Team Ireland, Mike Keohane’s story is an inspirational one – of facing adversity head on and valuing the most precious gift of all – life.