Friday 21 July 2017

Kelly: Sky's the limit for Brennan - in any sport

Tony Kelly. Photo: Sportsfile
Tony Kelly. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Gary Brennan is such a talented athlete he could have succeeded in any sport, his club colleague Tony Kelly has suggested in the wake of Ballyea's thrilling Munster club semi-final victory over Thurles Sarsfields after extra-time.

Kelly himself was the instigator of a magnificent comeback as the Clare champions came from seven points with eight minutes remaining to force extra-time, from where they reached their first Munster final.

But Brennan's power and athleticism was crucial too as he scored the equalising goal and created two more to serve notice of what a hurler he could be if the small ball was his priority.

Brennan has dismissed suggestions that he was approached by Davy Fitzgerald in the past to join the hurlers but the All-Star football nominated midfielder could comfortably make the leap, Kelly feels.

"He's an absolutely fantastic athlete. If he turned his hand to soccer, if he put his mind to anything he's going to be good at it," said Kelly.

"Everyone knows how good a footballer he is but he is a fantastic hurler too. That's him being a part-time hurler. That's not him being a full-out hurler either.

Fantastic

"The sky is the limit for him with any sport he wants to do. He's a fantastic athlete.

"He could be good at anything, given the attitude he has, he will work at it. It's just a credit to the man how he can be so athletic, good and nifty."

Kelly's turn of pace and accuracy helped him to six points from play and a further point from a free after he was fouled himself during a stunning 20-minute spell at the end of normal time and into the first period of extra-time.

But the performance was built, he said, on the team's collective heart.

"We came in after full-time everyone was smiling in the dressing-room heading into extra time. 'What's going on, how are we still in this position?'," he said.

"We're never dead. That's our motto. It's a great saying 'if you can't run with your legs, run with your heart' and I thought we did that there in the second half. It was a performance full of heart."

Kelly says Ballyea, winners of the Clare senior title for the first time only seven days earlier, were conscious that they were representing their county and that helped to stir them into recovery.

"It's fantastic. We said at half-time, not alone were we representing Ballyea but we were representing Clare," he said.

"Maybe there was a lot made of last week, a week's turnaround that we celebrated too much. But we sat down during the week and we said we don't want to disgrace Clare either. This could be a building block for Clare going forward."

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