Brosnan keeping eye on the ball

Gaelic football is where his sporting interest lies and where his playing reputation has been established.

Yet Eoin Brosnan has kept an eye on hurling over the years, availing of rare summer Sundays off from Kerry and Dr Crokes to tip up the N22 from his Killarney home to take in a provincial championship game in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Tomorrow he gets the chance to share a stage with a Munster hurling tie as the Kerry footballers’ joust with Tipperary serves as the curtain-raiser to the main show between the Premier hurlers and Limerick.

“Over the years when I had a Sunday off I used to head off up to Páirc Uí Chaoimh to watch Munster championship hurling games. There is something special about them. So to play on the same day as one is great.

“Maybe when I was U6 or U8, I played the odd time. A few of the Kerry lads, when we are on different training camps, some of them would bring a hurley and have a puck around, socially more than anything. I saw Paul Galvin recently with a hurley out in front of a hotel when we were away and he’s pretty handy all right.”

Brosnan will be firmly focused on football tomorrow following his reincarnation as an inter-county defender. Donie Buckley, recently departed as Kerry coach, was a great assistance to Brosnan in adjusting from attack to defence.

“Going back over the years I was predominantly known as an attacking player but the last number of years when I moved back into the defence — first with the club and then with the county — then there were always going to be new things to learn. It wasn’t something that you pick up totally naturally, your position and your awareness.

“I remember just a couple of things that Donie used to do, he’d get certain video segments and say watch these. He’d test you where you are doing well in some things and not so well in others, and get you to identify them yourself.

“Once you identified them it was in your consciousness and you knew what you were doing well and not doing well. 2011 was the first time that I came across Donie and I found him to be fantastic. Some of the individual work he did with people, as well as collectively, was appreciated. It certainly improved me as a player.”

Buckley is not the only figure in the Kerry squad to have exited the stage recently with Tom O’Sullivan no longer around to police corner-forwards.

“Any fella who has been around a long time becomes a part of the furniture and there is no doubt that he will be missed,” said Brosnan. “He was a popular guy. He had this laid-back way about him meaning you always had a bit of concern but when the whistle went at the start of a game there was no better man for the 70 minutes. Since last year Tom and Tommy Griffin have both departed but as everyone saw during the league there were a lot of new players tried out who have been fantastic.”

Brosnan has an edge on experiences and miles accumulated on the clock in comparison to his younger team-mates. But his sojourn from the game for a couple of seasons has been vital in leaving him refreshed.

“I’m certainly enjoying my football. I feel good physically. That’s the first thing. If you don’t feel good physically then you have no chance. And with the club going well I am enjoying my football, that’s why I wanted to hit the ground running.

“If you are not enjoying your football then there is no point being involved. Once it becomes a chore it’s just not enjoyable. Being away from it that time you watch from the outside and you say, ‘Could I do something here, could I do this bit better?’. You see it as a challenge.”

Tomorrow represents the first 2012 championship challenge for Kerry. Brosnan makes the case for their opponents Tipperary.

“Their pedigree, at underage level, is better than Kerry’s in the last few years. We treat every game professionally and we are treating Sunday the same way.

“They didn’t have a great league but Kerry’s experience with them means that we will give them all the respect they deserve. Two years ago I remember watching the game up in Thurles and it was only in the last 10 minutes did Kerry pull away from then.

“Coming out of Croke Park last month against Mayo that the team was disappointed because that was one chance of silverware gone. We have two left.

“The one on the horizon at the moment is the provincial championship and we certainly want to go, if at all possible, the direct route.”


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