Clare football boss Colm Collins says he’s delighted that Gary Brennan has decided to do a U-turn on a momentous decision he made late last year.
By Paddy Hickey
Towards the end of November, the midfield ace generated shock waves in the football world when he announced that he didn’t wish to line out for the Banner County in the 2020 campaign.
And naturally enough this unexpected move generated widespread fears that Brennan, who has been part of the Clare senior set-up since the tender age of 17, might never kick a ball again in inter-county action.
Indeed, as recently as late August, when asked if there was any possibility of the player having a change of heart, Collins admitted that he was completely in the dark about the 2016 All Star nominee’s future intentions.
“It’s up to Gary Brennan to make up his mind and if he still doesn’t want to play for Clare this year, we’ll just have to get on with it,” the Clare boss said at the time.
And when contacted on the same day, Brennan, who was first drafted into the Clare set-up by the then team boss, the legendary Kerry ace Paidi O Se, said he would prefer not to make any comment regarding his inter-county career.
But to the immense relief of Collins and his back-room team, the Clondegad clubman has decided to make himself for Clare’s forthcoming league games against Fermanagh and Armagh, both at Collins Park, on this coming Sunday and Saturday week, and the Munster Championship quarter-final against Tipperary, at Semple Stadium, on Sunday November 1.
“We went back training in the middle of September and at that time Gary Brennan wasn’t with us,” explained Collins on the situation regarding the 31-year-old..
“But then a few days later I got a phone call from Gary telling me that he wished to be part of the panel again, and obviously we were all delighted to hear that news.
“We had been keeping our fingers crossed that Gary would make himself available to play for us, but, of course, we couldn’t take anything for granted in this regard.
“As is widely known, Gary is a tremendous player and his return to our set-up is a terrific boost for Clare football.
“Since he made contact with us, Gary has been taking part in all of our training sessions, and he kept himself in excellent shape by playing in the county football and hurling championships with Clondegad and Ballyea,” added the Clare manager.
A regular on the Munster Railway Cup team, the St Flannan’s Ennis school teacher has remarkably never missed a championship game for his native county, and fortunately for him has never suffered a major injury.
Additional good news for Collins and his backroom team is the re-availability of utility player Jamie Malone, defender Aaron Fitzgerald and his son, attacker Podge Collins, for the Banner County’s forthcoming ties.
“Jamie Malone took a year off to go travelling but had his plans disrupted by the Corona virus,” explained the team supremo on the experienced ace.
“And Jamie has been back training with us since he finished up ping with his club, Corofin, against Doora-Barefield (winners) in the Clare intermediate football final two weeks ago. “Aaron Fitzgerald tore his cruciate ligament in a club game, but he has made a good recovery from his injury, and is available for our three games coming up.
“And Podge, who was not with us for a few years because of his involvement with the Clare hurling team, is now back with us again.
“Naturally enough, we’re delighted that our panel has been strengthened by the return of the three lads.”