Sunday 21 July 2019

Brennan bows out and leaves legacy few could match

Killian Brennan: Stellar career. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Killian Brennan: Stellar career. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

John Fallon

Back in 2013 at the start of what turned into a memorable title-winning season for St Patrick's Athletic, manager Liam Buckley supplied a one-line answer to a question on his reasoning behind recruiting Killian Brennan.

"He's the player that has tormented the teams I've managed most," he retorted.

Brennan's initial impact in the League of Ireland, following his return from an apprenticeship at Peterborough United, was as a marauding winger for Derry City and Bohemians. Still, he was no one-trick pony, well capable of playing a deeper and more centralised role Buckley that had in mind for him at Inchicore.

It was fitting that Brennan's career ended with a second stint at the Saints, where the fans took the Drogheda native to their hearts. His previous two leagues titles were won in consecutive years at Bohemians, the first in 2008 accompanied by the FAI Cup. Bohs had the best players and manager in the country during that spell, yet St Pat's didn't when Buckley finally got his man.

His presence helped them finish top of the pile for the first time in 14 years, acknowledged by being voted Player of the Year by his peers and football writers for the FAI award.

Influence Buckley was the latest influence on the career of a player not short of talent but sometimes possessing a short fuse. Twice Stephen Kenny had him under his wing, firstly at Derry City when he realised Roddy Collins was making a blunder by releasing the 20-year-old from Dublin City.

As many with a point to prove did at the Brandywell, Brennan blossomed, winning the FAI and League Cup and featuring in the UEFA Cup against Paris Saint-Germain. He would later have a briefer, less successful reunion with Kenny at Shamrock Rovers.

Pat Fenlon, at Bohs, also knew how to hone the craft of the Co Louth man. Between his free-kicks, delicious deliveries and back-post headers, ghosting in undetected from the flank, the passing of time has looked upon his four years at Dalymount Park favourably.

The same applies to his League of Ireland career. "I'll very much miss the buzz of a Friday night," he said on his swansong yesterday. Nowhere near as much as he'll be missed.

Irish Independent

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