GAA Feature

Serial SFC winners with Mattock, but the Brennan brothers are 'Hunterstown through and through'

Mark, David and Robbie recently made the move to finish their playing career with their father's club

Caoimhín Reilly


Caoimhín Reilly


Serial SFC winners with Mattock, but the Brennan brothers are 'Hunterstown through and through'

Robert, Keith, Mark, Darren and David Brennan after Mattock Rangers' SFC victory over Cooley Kickhams in 2009. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)

Having played their part in Mattock Rangers' golden years, winning four Joe Wards, the Brennan brothers, David, Robert and Mark, recently declared for Hunterstown Rovers.

Mark, centre-forward on the Louth team to reach the 2010 Leinster final, ended his retirement of sorts to take to the field in the Sheelan Cup, making his debut against Ardee, St. Mary's - a match in which David was introduced off the bench, while Robert has shown that his goal-scoring instincts remain having bagged a few goals in subsequent outings.

Their younger brother, Keith, made the move some years back. But with Robert having captained Mattock to Cardinal O'Donnell success as recently as 2015, the elder siblings' move could be construed as somewhat more difficult. Not so, according to Mark.

“My Dad was a Hunterstown man so we would have followed them growing up,” he told The Dundalk Democrat.

“Every Sunday, we'd have got into the car and followed after them. Even though we would have been playing underage with Collon, we wouldn't have known that much about them at senior level. We never really followed Collon at senior level until David started to play at 21 or that. We were always Hunterstown, we were Hunterstown through and through.

“After my Dad passed away, we moved down towards Hunterstown, but because we were at school in Collon, we kept playing there. But we always said that when we got older and before we finished that we would move down and give it one year (with Rovers), even if it was just junior football. If we could be a help to the club and play a year or whatever, it would be good seeing as we followed them and as it was such a big part of my father's life. It's been a big part of my family's life.

“As it happened, I'd already given up football. Robert and David were still playing so for me it was just a case of getting back because I'd done nothing for a couple of years whereas the two boys had just finished with Collon,” he added.

The move was something that they had envisaged making at an earlier point in their lives, though Mattock's success halted the plan.

“In hindsight, we would have thought that we'd give it one good year when everyone was young and fit, but it's just the way that it was with Collon, the success went on for a long time and we felt that we couldn't leave when we were at our peak.

“If the move didn't happen, it wouldn't have been a big regret, but it was something that we said we would do before we finished.

“Then we have the added bonus this year that if we do make the team or get a run out that we'll be playing with Ryan (Burns), the nephew.”

Though they're not in line to face Mattock this year as yet, it remains a possibility that they could clash in the knockout rounds of the Intermediate Championship. But the significance of this was something that Mark played down. He insists that there is no ill-feeling between themselves and the club with whom they enjoyed so much success.

“There'd be no bother, but it would be interesting alright if it was the Intermediate Championship final,” he quipped.

Rovers have competed strongly on the intermediate front in recent years, reaching the latter end of the championship without taking the final steps. With the Brennans' experience, Mark admits that a Seamus Flood success in 2018 would be an ideal ending.

However, he regards the fact that they're finally getting the opportunity to wear the Hunterstown colours as “great” in itself.