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Neeson out to keep Brewster Park record intact

By Declan Bogue

Published 14/05/2016

Star player: Brian Neeson with two young fans
Star player: Brian Neeson with two young fans

All eyes will be on the impact that Antrim attacker Brian 'Bam' Neeson will make tomorrow in the Ulster Championship against Fermanagh.

Two years ago, the little-heralded St John's man announced himself with a man-of-the-match display, roasting three separate markers and running up a tally of 1-6, 1-5 coming from open play.

He is also preserving an unbeaten record on the Brewster Park pitch, having triumphed there 10 years previously, as he explains.

"I don't have any bad memories on it, I played a couple of minor games in it around 2006 as well. That was a horrible day, one of the lads went off with hypothermia as well that day.

"I enjoy down there. It is a nice pitch and hopefully we will get a good day for it."

He has warned Fermanagh though, that they would be "foolish" to concentrate solely on marking him, pointing to the quality sprinkled throughout the Saffrons line-up.

Last year, Neeson took a sabbatical from county football as he was building up his client base as a personal trainer.

Operating out of Flex Fitness in Ardoyne, Neeson is self-employed as 'B-Fit with Brian Neeson'.

With the business established, and with some careful scheduling to work around his soccer commitments as the Carrick Rangers goalkeeper, he has been able to squeeze in Gaelic football after a word from his former club manager, Gearoid Adams.

"I bumped into Gearoid and the guys one night just after he got the job," he revealed.

"He asked me to come along and I explained the situation and tried to work it.

"I knew Russ (Frank Fitzsimons) from around the clubs and he was there the year we beat Fermanagh. He is a real players' manager. Back then he would come over, have a chat and see how you are feeling.

"It's the same now. I think they have a good balance. Russ is very into his players and Gearoid is very into his coaching and drills. I think they gel together."

He outlined his typical week with sporting commitments, stating, "I wanted to come back as well, it was just finding the time. Now, I still find it very hard but if I start something I like to finish it."

The 26-year-old continued: "I am out of the house every night. Monday at Gaelic, soccer Tuesday, Gaelic Wednesday, soccer Thursday, Gaelic Friday, soccer match on a Saturday, National league Sunday.

"That continued right to the end of the league."

He is due to get married next year, but ends with a joke: "I mightn't be getting married if I keep this up!"

Belfast Telegraph

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