Wednesday 13 December 2017

History-maker Brosnan calls time on his Kingdom days

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Versatility was Eoin Brosnan's greatest strength as a footballer, and nothing reflected that quality more than positions he played in his appearances in six All-Ireland finals between 2002 and 2011.

He was one of the few players to start All-Ireland senior finals in defence, midfield and attack.

Brosnan, who confirmed his retirement yesterday, the day after his club Dr Crokes took their third successive Munster club crown, completed that near-unique distinction when he lined out at half-back against Dublin in the 2011 All-Ireland final, having deputised for the injured Darragh O Se at midfield in the 2004 final against Mayo.

Before that he had started his first All-Ireland final in 2002 against Armagh at centre-forward and was at left half-forward for the '07 and '08 finals.

It made him an invaluable asset to the four Kerry managers he played under and it was why Jack O'Connor went after him in early 2011 to coax him out of retirement after he had quit during the 2009 season.

Brosnan's retirement had been expected after a season in which he was captain for the second time but battled a stream of injuries and struggled to regain his place.

He was renowned as one of the most powerful ball carriers in the game. One of his most memorable goals came in the 2002 qualifier against Kildare in Thurles when he charged almost 60 metres to finish superbly.

He lost his place for the 2006 All-Ireland final as management opted to recall captain Declan O'Sullivan for the Mayo game. Brosnan still made a contribution, however, scoring 1-1 off the bench.

He quit Kerry in 2009 but his form for Dr Crokes remained strong and his switch to defence revitalised him. His performance in the 2012 All-Ireland club semi-final defeat against Crossmaglen Rangers was one of his finest.

"From 2006 to 2008 I just wasn't enjoying my football as a forward. I don't know was it the role I was playing, I just didn't feel the natural forward's instinct was there any more. As a result it became a slog and when it becomes that it was better to step away from it," he recalled of his original retirement decision.

He answered O'Connor's call to come back on condition he would be utilised as a defender only.

His exit due to injury in the second half of the 2011 All-Ireland final against Dublin was another contributing factor to Kerry's capitulation.

He is the second Kerry player to confirm his retirement since the All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Dublin, following Tomas O Se.

Irish Independent

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