Declan Brennan battling back through Emyvale's rise
TO many, it might have seemed an unusual move. Declan Brennan had managed at the top level with Clontibret, DCU and Jordanstown and had been in Colm Coyle's backroom team with Monaghan.
In establishing elite academies at two universities, it appeared that Brennan was a man who operated strictly at the highest level and the cutting edge of Gaelic games.
So naturally, it came as a surprise to many when he agreed to managed Emyvale in the Monaghan junior ranks this season. Behind the facade though, Brennan had revealed his long-standing problems with depression last December. A spell in the lower leagues closer to home would both serve as a rehabilitation and prove re-energising.
"I was asked and at that particular time I felt it was appropriate to take a step back and I had worked at senior for a long time at that stage. I just wanted to try my hand at somewhere else," he revealed at the Press launch for the Ulster club finals.
He continued, "In training, they are very enthusiastic and to be honest, it's no different winning a cup at any level. You get the same buzz, it's the same no matter where you are, no matter if you are standing down in Croke Park or the Aviva Stadium."
After winning Monaghan Championships with his home club Clontibret, Brennan arrived in Emyvale to find a club gently shedding some of the players who had starred in their 2009 Ulster club campaign, but they had to set out their own goals, he claims.
"We were concentrating on trying to get up to Intermediate and win the Championship. Once that happened, the next thing is you have the Ulster club, you take it game by game after that, it goes on every two weeks and players don't really get a chance to stop."
Despite the hectic nature, he feels that being on a winning run is as addictive as ever.
"I am actually enjoying it very well," he said.
"From my point of view, when you see both hands going up on the two sides of the cup it is the same thing and over the years, yes, Clontibret is my own club, but I have really enjoyed working with these boys."
With four teams within a dozen miles of each other featuring in the Ulster Junior and Intermediate finals on Saturday night, Brennan feels the Ulster Council have made a wise move in staging a double-header.
Given that Emyvale is only a bicycle ride away from opponents Killeeshil in the curtain-raiser though, doing some research on the opposition could be counter-productive.
He asks, "What is there to find out? For both teams it's about turning up on the day and playing the best you can."