Mark Keane after the Pies' loss to Gold Coast in round seven, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

COLLINGWOOD defender Mark Keane will remain in Ireland and end his AFL career.

Keane was granted permission to return to his homeland in August last year and, although he returned briefly for pre-season training in November, has opted to retire from the game after five senior appearances.

The 21-year-old spent three seasons on the club’s list as a Category B rookie, playing a career-high four times in 2021.

Mark Keane at Collingwood training on June 3, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

He still had one year remaining on his contract with the Pies, but has returned to Ireland where he has been tipped to join the Cork senior hurling panel for the upcoming season.

As a Category B rookie, Collingwood is unable to replace Keane’s spot on its playing list for the 2022 campaign.

"We thank Mark for his contribution to the program over the past three years," Pies football boss Graham Wright said on Friday.

"Unfortunately, Mark has suffered from homesickness his entire time at Collingwood. He went home early in August prior to the season finishing and returned after training had started in November.

"Mark didn’t return for training in the New Year and we decided, along with Mark, that the rigours of AFL football combined with being away from home are too much for him at this time.

"We wish Mark all the best with his future endeavours and hope being home in Ireland is exactly what he needs."