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Brennan primed to make his mark in clash with Cavan

 

Up for it: Rory Brennan relishes a key role for Tyrone tomorrow
Up for it: Rory Brennan relishes a key role for Tyrone tomorrow
John Campbell

By John Campbell

In much the same way that Tyrone have had to exercise patience in their bid to reclaim the Sam Maguire Cup - eleven years have elapsed since they last won the All-Ireland title - Rory Brennan has been forced to play a waiting game in his bid to become a regular in the side this term.

Indeed, when his brother Lee along with Ronan O'Neill and Mark Bradley left the Red Hands squad earlier this year, it was thought that Rory might become an automatic selection in Mickey Harte's set-up.

But instead his acquaintanceship with the bench, which became something of a way of life for him last year, was to be extended. His patience in 2018 - he replaced Michael McKernan in the Super 8s win over Donegal and was subsequently drafted in for Ronan McNamee in the All-Ireland semi-final against Monaghan - was eventually rewarded with a place in the All-Ireland final against Dublin.

It has been much the same this term, although he started the Ulster Championship match against Antrim before reverting to the bench for the next match against Donegal and the qualifier against Longford.

But a commanding display in last weekend's win against Kildare would seem to have assured Brennan of at least some degree of game-time against Cavan tomorrow.

In keeping firm tabs on Kildare danger man Neil Flynn before moving on to curb David Hyland, Brennan underlined his man-marking skills to such an extent that he could step even more into the spotlight.

Manager Harte is keeping his cards close to his chest in relation to his strategy against a Cavan side that fell to Donegal in the Ulster final but it is safe to assume that Brennan could be summoned to impose his rigid skills on the Breffni county's frontline runners.

"You have to adapt and you have to respond to the way in which the team which is put before you plays," points out Harte.

"You have to be able to adjust. You have got to know your opposition and you have to devise a way in which you can play against them to the best of your ability.

"There is a lot of effort put into studying and analysing games and the outcome of this type of detailed work can be reflected in the composition of the team for any given game. It's not a fixed pattern. We have to be able to meet the demands of situations."

Brennan's experience, tenacity and work ethic could certainly bolster Tyrone against a Cavan side that will need to raise their game if they are to come out on top.

In their Ulster defeat to Donegal they scored a highly commendable 2-16 - a score that would certainly suffice to win most Championship matches - but they conceded 1-24 which in essence is a score surrendered every three minutes.

And Breffni boss Mickey Graham will have noted that Tyrone skipper Mattie Donnelly, playmaker Peter Harte and target man Cathal McShane were imperious against Kildare, pocketing fifteen points between them in laying the foundations for a hugely satisfying victory.

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