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Brennan out to help Trillick make strides on Ulster stage

 

Leading man: Trillick’s Rory Brennan is pursued by Errigal Ciaran rival Ciaran Quinn during Sunday’s Tyrone final
Leading man: Trillick’s Rory Brennan is pursued by Errigal Ciaran rival Ciaran Quinn during Sunday’s Tyrone final
Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

Early last October, the Trillick team gathered in a huddle after suffering a shock loss to Ardboe in the Championship.

If their 2015 O'Neill Cup triumph came somewhat out of the blue, then they had no excuses now.

The squad had matured and it was another chance blown. So rather than hit the fast food and the sofa, they made a vow to go back to collective training and resumed their gym work that week in preparation for 2019.

It all paid off in spectacular fashion on Sunday when they landed their eighth Tyrone Championship. And despite the two-point margin over Errigal Ciaran in the end, practically no final over the previous decade had been captured with such authority.

Thinking back to that vow, man of the match Rory Brennan explained: "That's the kind of group (we have). Everyone wants to learn and everyone wants to better themselves and we went away from that Ardboe game last year heartbroken.

"We needed to get back into the gym, back onto the field and put those wrongs right and there's no better time to start back into the grind.

"We didn't want to miss out on another chance this year so we knew we had to work towards this year."

There has been little transition from the team of 2015 to now, and the club have made hay with a promising crop of minors who came through in 2012. But it doesn't come by itself, with senior players taking a huge interest and helping out in Friday night youth sessions.

"It's just the culture of Trillick," stated 25-year-old software engineer Brennan.

"There was a good tradition back in the '80s and I suppose we had a gap there when we didn't compete. But it is testament to men who have put the hard work in at under-age level and we are reaping the rewards now."

If there is a tradition that Trillick will want to change, it is the record of Tyrone sides in Ulster senior club football.

Since it was first formally organised by the Ulster Council in 1968, only one Tyrone club have won the prize, that being Errigal Ciaran back in 1993 and 2002.

"It's one of those things, Tyrone football is so hard to get out of," reasoned Brennan.

"You are playing week in, week out and I suppose the dominance of the Tyrone county set-up, it has been a long run. A quick turnaround into Ulster football and maybe the bodies are not as fresh as in other Ulster counties coming through."

When he talks about that route, few teams could have jumped the fences Trillick had to. They met Dromore, Clonoe, Coalisland and then Errigal Ciaran, all blue-chip clubs who have won a county Championship in the last decade.

"I suppose you have half a dozen teams there every year that are going to compete, that have a chance to win a county title. It's just the nature of Tyrone club football, you can't call from one game to the next," said Brennan.

"The likes of Dromore, Clonoe and Coalisland as well, they have been beating at the door and have won county titles over the last five or six years.

"It wasn't the easiest route to take but it probably stood to us in the end, those hard-fought games suited us the best.

"That experience of 2015 definitely stood to us and the last couple of years when games were tight, we missed out by a point here and there.

"We just knew that we had to work on closing out the games when we had our spell of dominance."

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