Life as Mark O’Keeffe
Mark O’Keeffe is adamant that Sweetgreen is the best salad bar in New York, shouts with excitement when he sees a puppy (sometimes scaring the owner) and loves nothing more than a great pint of Guinness.
RUNY’s preseason starts in a month and Mark has been keeping busy. “I’ve been constantly hitting the gym with Will and Alex,” he shared. “We’ve been eating and working out, and that’s about it. Oh, and drinking chocolate milk.” He also played rugby with local club, Old Blue, along with several other RUNY athletes.
Off field, O’Keeffe spent time with his girlfriend this summer and visited family in Boston. He’s a big fan of movies and has traveled to theaters all over New York. His top picks for 2019 are The Joker, Lion King and Avengers End Game.
The 2019 Season was a strong entrance for RUNY into the MLR. O’Keeffe thinks the team did well but could’ve won the Championships. But this year, RUNY has added new highly skilled players to the squad and combined with the powerful roster from last season could achieve great success in the 2020 MLR Season. “We can definitely win it, 100%.”
One of O’Keeffe’s most memorable matches last season was Utah Away. “It was snowing, and I haven’t played in the snow much. Everyone was buzzin’ and I got Player of the Week, so it was good craic.” RUNY’s Playoff match against San Diego was one of O’Keeffe’s top 5 most energetic matches he’s played thus far. “The atmosphere was electric,” he recalled. “It was pretty mental, pretty crazy.”
Playing on a professional rugby team in New York is much more than O’Keeffe’s job. Besides the great location and amazing opportunities to grow as a professional athlete, the team itself is a tight-knit group of guys who all love what they do. “We’re more like a family than a team,” said O’Keeffe. “Last season, everyone got along with everyone; we had such good nights out. We had good ethos at training, the gym, at physio and at practices.”
RUNY’s new Head Coach Greg McWilliams is a familiar face to many members of the squad, including Mark. McWilliams coached O’Keeffe while he attended St Michael’s College in Dublin. “He was a very professional coach, teacher and a great friend of mine,” he shared. “He built strong relationships with his players, friends and students.” With McWilliams on board, O’Keeffe knows he will help bring RUNY to the next level. “What he’s done recently with the Eagles and coming off of a World Cup, it’s great to have his level of experience on the team.”
As Mark looks towards the 2020 MLR Season, the RUNY Wing wants to improve on his passing. “Last year I could’ve been faster as Wing,” he shared. He also wants to be the Top Try Scorer in the League, which Dylan Fawsitt earned last year. Let’s hope O’Keeffe can keep the title for RUNY.
Now to the fun part, Lightning Round Q&A!
What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
Haagen-Dazs Cookies & Cream
What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve ever done?
For my 21st birthday, I went to a 48-hour techno rave in an abandoned airplane hangar in Paris with 2 of my mates.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 5 things would you bring and who would you want to be stranded with?
The funniest person to be stranded on the island with would be Paddy Ryan. My five things would be a couch, telly, Firefox, a bodega and Malik (my bodega guy) and a cocker spaniel. Yeah that’s good craic.
If you had a warning label, what would it say?
Warning: doesn’t think before he speaks.
What is something that’s too overhyped?
Twitter – too much reading and not enough pictures.
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
I’m Going to Jackson (Duet) by Johnnie Cash and June Carter
Connor called you out in his Player Profile Story claiming he’s funnier than you. Do you have anything to say in response to that?
English lads have no craic.
How do you feel being RUNY’s newest model-on-the-rise?
I couldn’t have done it without the inspiration of Matt Wirken and Ben Foden.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Penne alla Vodka
What’s your favorite Halloween costume from when you were a kid?
Most memorable was I dressed up as a Punk Rock Skater when I was really young. It turned out I loved the clothes so much I was a punk rock skater for the next 3 years.
New to the RUNY Squad, JP Aguirre sat down with Eugenio Astesiano
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