Title triumph makes it 10 cups for Killian
THE honours just keep on rolling for Drogheda native Killian Brennan who on Friday night last collected his 10th major medal in League of Ireland football.
He was central to St Patrick's Athletic's title triumph this year and the 29-year-old from Rathmullen is now one of the most decorated men in domestic soccer. During a career which has seen him start out at Dublin City and go on to play for Derry City, Bohemians, Shamrock Rovers and now St Pat's, Killian has won three League titles, two FAI Cups, four League Cup and a Setanta Cup.
Even during an unhappy season with Shamrock Rovers last year he won a Leinster Senior Cup, and last week his name appeared on the PFAI Team of the Year for the second time - pictured right at the announcement - and he is one of four nominees for PFAI Player of the Year. But the League trophy was the one he really wanted.
'It's nice to be recognised by your peers when other players vote for you, and I'm not particularly surprised,' Killian responded. 'I thought I had a good season and scored some crucial goals, but I think the team award means more to me. The main achievement was winning the league and everything else is a bonus.
'Satisfaction-wise, it feels really good. It was not a great season last year [with Shamrock Rovers] which I put down as a bit of a blip. I've had nearly 11 seasons in the league and I would put that down as the most disappointing one.'
At one stage it seemed that Drogheda's great rivals Dundalk might cause a sensation by winning the league 12 months after nearly being relegated, while Sligo were long-time contenders too, but Pats kept churning out the victories and the writing was on the wall for the main challengers when St Pat's defeated Dundalk in a crucial game last month.
'Dundalk went on a bit of a run - eight wins in a row I think - and we were after drawing a couple of games which tightened it up [title race]. We had a better side than Dundalk, but there's no use saying that - we had to prove it and that's what we did.'
Killian agreed that most of the decisions he's made about his career to date have turned out to be the right ones, even though he now acknowledges that his dreams of one day playing first-team football in England have now evaporated.
'It is about making good judgments - taking time to sit down and think about where I'm going to go, and what the manager has told me. You have to think about where you want to play football - whether you have a family and whether you want to move house - and I have been blessed in making the right decisions.
'The ship has gone in terms of going to England. I'm 29 and enjoying my football and this is where it's going to be. I feel there's a lot more miles in the tank and more medals in me. Fingers crossed I stay in-jury-free like this year.'
As always, Killian has been keeping a close eye on the fortunes of his three fellow League of Ireland brothers, and he's been disappointed to see Shelbourne relegated despite the good form of his younger sibling Sean. But all attention will turn to Aviva Stadium on November 3rd when Gavin and Ryan's Drogheda United face Sligo in the FAI Cup Final.
'Drogheda should go out there full of confidence,' Killian insisted. 'They've lost the two other cup finals this season, but that shouldn't be playing on their minds. Sligo are a decent outfit, but Drogheda can beat anyone on their day and I hope they bring the Cup home so that we have both trophies in the house!'
LIke many people, however, Killian has been baffled by the Drogheda board's decision not to renew manager Mick Cooke's contract and he feels that it spells bad news for the Boynesiders in the longer term.
'From an outside point of view, you think 'what else could the man have done?'
'I don't know what's going on behind the scenes - obviously there's something going on and someone has stepped on someone's toes.
'They had a budget for the First Division in his first year, and this year he's taken them to three cup finals - only to be told to pack his bags! It's mind-boggling, and the loser has to be Drogheda because I don't see anyone else being more successful than Mick who is a fantastic football man.'