By Paul Holland
Killian Brennan has been an outstanding player in the League of Ireland for almost 14 years playing for Dublin City, Derry City, Bohemians, Shamrock Rovers, St. Pat’s and his hometown club of Drogheda United. The 33 year old has enjoyed a glittering career, winning three League titles, three FAI Cup medals and five League Cup medals and numerous awards in his career. The skilful midfielder lined out for Ireland at U-16, U-17 , U-19 and U-23s levels and won the FAI Players’ Player of the Year in 2013.
You are just back from injury after being out with a broken collar bone since the first game of the season against Galway. What was it like to return last week and come on as a sub against Sligo?
“It was nice to get back on the pitch after missing nine weeks. It was disappointing not to pick up the three points against Sligo, especially as we’d been playing so well on the night. We just didn’t get over the line in the end.”
What did it feel like to get such a warm reception when you came on as a sub last week?
“I’ve played in United Park many times but it was the first time I got a round of applause, as I was previously playing with other teams! Hopefully I will give them something to shout about when I get back to full fitness.”
Did you find it hard to watch so many games when you were out for so long?
“I wouldn’t be one to enjoy watching games as I’d always be on edge as a spectator. I’d always want to be out playing there myself. There’s nothing like being out on the pitch but injuries are just a part of the game you have to deal with.”
We have just finished the first series of 11 games. How do you think we have done so far?
“Overall we’ve done quite well in the first series of games, picking up a tally of 13 points. I think we would have taken that amount if we were given that at the start of the season. We left points behind against Sligo and also against Bohs but we have what we have now! Hopefully we can get back on track tonight against Galway, even though they are in flying form after beating Dundalk and Sligo in the last week.”
During your career, you’ve won all the top honours in Ireland and you’ve played in Europe at the highest level. What would stand out for you as the memorable moments in your career?
“There’s not really one in particular that stands out. I really enjoyed the runs in Europe with Derry and Bohs. I loved the whole experience of playing against better opposition in better stadia etc. However I thoroughly enjoyed my football in winning the League with Pat’s in 2013, coming back to my best, especially after having a bad season the year before with Shamrock Rovers. Then winning the FAI Cup in 2014, when Pat’s won it for the first time in 50 odd years! Liam Buckley’s style of football definitely suited me, plus we had some excellent players back then. Those two years at Pat’s would be the most memorable and enjoyable overall for me.”
How did it come about that you signed for Drogheda this season?
“I would know Dermot McKenna quite well and when he put it to me, I agreed to meet Pete. I had always wanted to play for my hometown club so it certainly wasn’t for the money! I got on great with Pete and know Giller from my early days with Dublin City!”
When Drogheda were flying high in 2007, you met Paul Doolin and you were very close to signing for us back then?
“Yes my contract was up with Derry. I spoke to Paul a few times, but like most players, I kept my options open, speaking also to Cork, Pat’s and Bohs. I think I made a good decision in going to Bohs as I won a League and FAI Cup medal there. I was lucky that I signed for clubs that were always challenging for honours.”
You always seemed to play well against Drogheda despite the abuse from the fans. I remember you scored two goals on your debut for Bohs against us! A free kick and a penalty in a 2-1 win.
“I was always driven all the more when I was booed by the Drogs fans. I have a thick skin so it would never have bothered me! I’d always take the positives out of those situations and would feel they wouldn’t be booing a poor player and take it as a compliment!”
Your dad Eddie, was a very talented player with Boyne Rovers, Northside Blues etc. It’s an amazing achievement to have four brothers playing League of Ireland football.
“Yes we were always out kicking ball on the street in Marley’s Lane and always went to our Dad’s games. There were very little computers for kids those days. I went everywhere with a football. Hopefully we can get Ryan back from Bray so that the four of us are playing with the Drogs! The four of us have never played on the same team.”
Is there any sign of the next generation of Brennans to come yet?
“Well my son Mason and Gavin’s son Bobby have a great interest so far so hopefully when they see us playing, they will follow us!”
What do you think of the standard in the league at the moment?
“I think the standard has dipped a bit to be honest. I know Dundalk have been fantastic to win the league three years in a row but since 2013 I feel the league is lacking something.
It’s still unbelievable that a decision to relegate three teams has been made. Yes we were gobsmacked when we heard it first but we are still very positive about our chances of staying up. We are taking things one game at a time and just focusing on the Galway game tonight. That said, I think we are capable of putting a good run together in the FAI Cup.”