Thursday 21 November 2019

Brennan and Connolly set sights on more silverware in Dublin blue

Ger Brennan lifts the Andy Merrigan Cup as the St Vincent's captain completes a clean sweep of silverware
Ger Brennan lifts the Andy Merrigan Cup as the St Vincent's captain completes a clean sweep of silverware
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

In the aftermath of Monday's All-Ireland club football final, St Vincent's captain Ger Brennan joked that after picking up yet another piece of silverware, he'd like to win an O'Byrne Cup soon.

Beside him his manager Tommy Conroy hailed the commitment of his players for delivering a title that had been almost 18 months coming.

"What's asked of amateur players is incredible and the way they stood up to that was great," he said as their campaign finally came to a close.

Instead of discussing his own personal haul, Brennan preferred to pay tribute to his team-mates at both club and county level. The last 12 months have yielded incredible success for Brennan and his St Vincent's team-mate Diarmuid Connolly as they added the All-Ireland club title to the other five titles they currently hold for club and county.

The duo are league, Leinster and All-Ireland champions with Dublin and county, provincial and All-Ireland kingpins with St Vincent's with each trophy won "on the field".


It's not unprecedented. The Ballyhale Shamrocks contingent on the Kilkenny panel had similar claims in March 2007 and again three years later but it is nonetheless remarkable.

And it has seen the pair become unaccustomed to losing. Across league and championship for Dublin in 2013, the duo tasted defeat just once when Tyrone beat the Dubs in the league as they were near ever-presents in the side. Brennan missed the league game with Kildare through suspension and Connolly sat out the Mayo clash with ankle trouble.

But both men were on hand to play the full 70 minutes when Jim Gavin's side exacted revenge on the Red Hand to secure league honours.

The success kept coming and they would go on to start every match in their six-game championship run that ended with September success against Mayo – the day that Brennan chose to land his only score of the year for the Dubs when chipping in with a point.

Intertwined through that run was the club championship that saw them win 11 games in a row, stretching from the first round of the Dublin championship against Cuala in early May to their St Patrick's Day win over Castlebar.

On several occasions, they might have stumbled. The Marino men were five points down with time almost up in their drawn county final against Ballymun Kickhams before staging a dramatic recovery, with Connolly landing a superb extra-time point to force a replay.

Connolly turned from hero to villain in the replay, picking up a red card late in the game for a clash with Philly McMahon. However, his team-mates bailed him out, taking the lead for the first time in the game with just 30 seconds to go.

Just four days later, they were in action against Westmeath champions St Loman's and this time it was Brennan who had his blushes spared as Conroy's side advanced despite his dismissal after just four minutes.

Meath kingpins Summerhill were next on the list but with neither Brennan nor Connolly available through suspension, St Vincent's found a way through.

It was the only game that both men wouldn't start for club and county in their remarkable run that concluded last weekend.

In all, they both played in 23 of the 26 games to land six pieces of silverware in 13 months. And with the pair expected back in Dublin colours soon, winning yet more trophies is a real possibility.


Numbers games

6 - The number of titles Brennan and Connolly currently hold. They are reigning league, Leinster and All-Ireland champions with Dublin, while at club level, they are county, provincial and national champions.

46 - The combined number of games Brennan and Connolly played in (23 each) to secure the six trophies.

1 - The number of games that both players failed to making the starting 15 during their remarkable run. Both Connolly and Brennan missed the Leinster club SFC semi-final win over Summerhill, but one or both of them featured in every one of the other 25 games.

Irish Independent

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