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No secret formula to success, says Cargin boss Brennan

By Declan Bogue

The first thing John Brennan wants to do is dismiss the very notion of a 'John Brennan factor' when it comes to his astonishing record in Championship football.

Currently in his second successful spell with Erin's Own Cargin, the former Derry manager is aiming to clinch the side's first back-to-back title defence since he was last in charge in 1999 and 2000, when they face St Gall's in the Antrim decider at Corrigan Park (throw-in 3pm).

"The 'John Brennan factor'?" he returned the question.

"I don't know. People talk about it, and I just say I don't think about it. It's not like I am big-headed or whatever, it's not like that at all.

"Ultimately, I find it hard to relate to that. People say, 'you should write a book' and all that sort of thing. I think a lot of it is common sense. You learn from your mistakes over the years."

Any mistakes he has made have been few and far between. He turned 79 last August, but he is still as relevant as ever.

He has won titles in three different counties with five different clubs. But wherever he has been, there has always been a connection with each club.

His own club, Lavey, (who he won a Derry Championship with in the early '90s) and Cargin, share the same name of 'Erin's Own', having both been founded by Mayo man Liam O'Connor. He worked alongside men from the Slaughtneil club and brought them their first Derry title in 2004.

His late wife was from Creggan, just beside Carrickmore, and he brought 'Carmen' to the promised land in Tyrone.

Now, he is in his second spell at Cargin. He came back during a time when St Gall's won 13 of the previous 14 Antrim Championships. But he was under no doubt about what could be achieved.

"Of course I felt there were more (Championships in this team). In Cargin, it's all about belief," he stated.

"Cargin aren't the same now as they were as when I was there in 1999 and 2000. St John's and St Paul's would have been the big teams that time, Cargin would have felt the Belfast men were too smart and too good.

"They were pessimistic and they didn't believe in their own players.

"That's why I say if you get the boys right mentally, that means a hell of a lot."

Earlier this week there was some speculation that Cargin's stalwart defenders Kevin O'Boyle and Tony Scullion may miss the final through injury, but Brennan is hopeful.

He added: "You are not going to go through the full season without picking up a few niggles. They are not at 100%, but they are at 90%, at least."

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