A return to UCC to sit his Masters, succumbing to Billy Morgan’s persistent nature, collecting a Sigerson Cup winners medal against the odds and a two month stint in Boston kicking ball — all in all, it’s been a hectic 12 months for Brian Shanahan.
The 26-year old Carbery Rangers full-back is chasing the perfect conclusion in Sunday’s Cork SFC decider against Ballincollig, in no doubt he has been steeled by the road travelled this past year.
Shanahan returns to the summer of 2013, the afternoon his acceptance letter from UCC arrived through the letterbox — the opening lines of this current chapter.
“I went back and initially my sole focus was to do the Masters and get out of there. I wasn’t long back in college when Billy [Morgan] was on my case. I was giving myself a couple of weeks to get back into the swing of college life, but Billy kept pestering me. You can’t really say no to Billy Morgan.”
Shanahan slotted in at left half-back, a key figure on the final weekend in Belfast where 13-man UCC turned over Maynooth before trumping favourites UUJ in a thrilling decider.
“In hindsight, I’m glad I went back. Billy had given me a chance before and I find him an excellent manager, an excellent man-manager.
“Going down to 13 men in the semi-final was a defining moment. We kept battling and got the necessary scores. In the final we threw everything at UUJ and had some real leaders on the field. It was a great start to the year and perfect preparation for the club scene. It gave me great confidence.”
Rangers walloped Aghada in their championship opener on May 11. The momentum, however, from a long spring was set to be stumped by the ensuing 18-week reprieve in local action.
Shanahan packed his bags and headed for the US.
“I played with Christopher’s, played six games in total. The games were 13-a-side, good quality football and fast paced. It definitely kept me in tune. I returned home with a few weeks to go to the Castlehaven game and found I still had that sharpness.”
The fourth round clash against their neighbours ended in stalemate. Seven days later the three-in-a-row chasing champions were vanquished.
“The first day we had the belief we could match them, the second day we had the belief we could beat them.
“We struck gold in the first 10 minutes after half-time in the replay. Everyone was saying is that Carbery’s county final played, ‘surely now ye must be favourites for the county title’?
“Again this week all anyone wants to talk about is football. We made a promise as players to try and avoid all the hype.
“This is our chance. We can’t let it pass us by.”
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