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John Martin column – tribute to Eddie Brennan

Kilkenny's Eddie Brennan with Brian Cody

EDDIE Brennan used to hide his hurl on the way in the school gate because he didn’t want the other lads to think he had hurling on his mind every waking minute.

At St Kieran’s, Brennan wasn’t the golden boy of his age group, he only made the college’s senior team in his final year, and didn’t register on the ones to watch scale at the country’s most foremost hurling nursery.

Not that there’s any shame in being kept on the bench at the Kilkenny city seat of learning, but future All-stars and MacCarthy Cup winners generally step up to their school’s senior side well before Year 6.

St Kieran’s must seem a long way off now for Brennan who announced his retirement last week. It is another small step towards the break-up of Brian Cody’s 2003 dynasty, alongside the ageing of Henry Shefflin, the withdrawal of Cha Fitzpatrick and retirement of Martin Comerford.

It may not have received the column inches it deserved in last Sunday’s broadsheets, but Brennan’s retirement will have more of an impact on Kilkenny as than of the above in 2012. (Note to retiring county players: Never announce your retirement on a Friday night like Eddie did as the Sunday broadsheet feature writers are already packed up for the week.)

At 33-years-old and 12 years on the Kilkenny senior hurling panel, Brennan has hung up his intercounty hurl. He is one of the few sportsmen to retire at the top of his game, and is also going out on a high, his last appearance in the black and amber being the 2011 All Ireland final, a game that was defined by his surging run that led to the game’s first goal.

To read this story in full, buy the current issue of Gaelic Life – on sale January 19 – online, or in your local newsagent


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