Keane, J. J. (1870–1956), athlete, Gaelic footballer, and sports administrator, was born in Anglesboro, Co. Limerick. Having moved to Dublin by the 1890s, he won two all-Ireland senior football finals with Dublin teams, represented by his club, Geraldines (1898, 1899). Also an athlete, he won the 120 yards hurdles at the Irish championships, under GAA auspices, in 1900. A member of the central council of the GAA at various times from the 1890s to the 1920s, he opposed Michael Deering unsuccessfully for presidency of the association in 1899, and belonged to a group that was influential in reviving the GAA after 1901. In 1900 he undertook much of the work of the secretary, Frank Dineen (qv), due to the latter's illness, but it was as president of the athletic council of the GAA that Keane was most prominent. A dispute in the early 1910s between the GAA and athletes from Munster, which briefly threatened the association's control of athletics, was considered to be largely Keane's fault due to his autocratic management. Arrested in 1918 when British authorities discovered 40,000 rounds of ammunition at his business premises (but subsequently acquitted), Keane tried to avoid a split in the GAA during the Irish revolution; remaining neutral during the civil war, he was appointed to a subcommittee of the GAA in 1922 that tried unsuccessfully to avert hostilities. After the establishment of the Irish Free State, Keane was the central figure in the GAA's relinquishing of athletics control and the establishment of the National Athletics and Cycling Association (NACA), of which he became the first president. Keane was also chairman of the GAA's Dublin schools league and a member of the organising committee that revived the ancient Tailteann games for a brief period in 1920s. His association with the GAA waned during the 1920s as he became more involved with athletics. His greatest achievement came in 1924 when Ireland was recognised by the International Olympic Committee, allowing it to compete in that year's Olympic games. The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) was formed in 1924, with Keane as president. In 1936 he was a central figure in the dispute between the OCI (which, under his nationalistic influence, only recognised sporting bodies covering all thirty-two counties), and the International Amateur Athletics Federation, which insisted that they must restrict their activities to the twenty-six counties of the Irish Free State. As a result, Ireland did not send a team to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
He was the owner of Charles Dood & Co. in Smithfield Market, Dublin. He died 1 April 1956 in Dublin, leaving an estate valued at £47,371.