Captain of Clare’s Division 3 League winning side, All- Ireland SFC quarter-final appearance, All Star nominee, county and Munster hurling medals with Ballyea: 2016, it’s fair to say, life has been kind to Gary Brennan.
“It has been a different year to what I am used of,” admitted Brennan in the wake of Sunday’s 1-21 to 2-10 win over Glen Rovers.
“For nine years, we were ploughing away [with Clare]. One year we got out of Division 4, but to get out of Division 3, win the Division 3 final and get to an All-Ireland quarter-final was great progress, considering where we had been.
“It still rankles with me the way we lost that quarter-final to Kerry. Whatever about being beaten, the way we were defeated really, really hurt. It was nice to get back and try and have a go with the club. Luckily enough, this has worked out well for us.
“Even though I’m known as a footballer and football has always been my first game, I am from hurling country and it is great to be representing the local area and winning things.”
Mind you, he wasn’t the only footballer in the Ballyea full-forward line, with corner-forward pair Damien Burke and Pearse Lillis also part of the Colm Collins’ Clare squad.
“Take the half-forward line of Niall Deasy, Pat Joe Connolly and Cathal Doohan. None of them were on the Clare football panel this year, but any of them could have been,” says Brennan.
He added: “To win something with your county is outstanding. But when you win with your club, there is just something different about it. This is a bit like a dream. Very, very special feeling. One we will treasure for a long time to come, I am sure.”
Next year’s All-Ireland Club semi-final will coincide with the early rounds of Clare’s Division 2 League campaign. Brennan has indicated he wants to juggle both.
“I’ll have to sit down and have a chat with the lads but obviously, I’d be hoping to try and keep a hand in both camps.
“It’s a very, very important National League for us, going up to Division 2 next year, and I’d be hoping to be involved.”
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