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Ulster SFC Final Fermanagh v Donegal: Brennan thrilled Donegal switch has paid off

By Declan Bogue

Just three miles separate Kinlough in Leitrim from Bundoran in Donegal, but when Paul Brennan made his move from the former club to the latter, he set in motion a chain of events that has led to him preparing for his first provincial final tomorrow.

The centre-back has established himself in the Donegal side following Karl Lacey's retirement, and having the 2012 Footballer of the Year in Declan Bonner's management team has been invaluable to his development.

There is a suspicion that Lacey's voice carries serious weight, and Brennan said: "I think he's fantastic for Donegal. He's been there and done it all.

"His in-depth analysis, I've never seen the likes of it before. Massive credit where credit is due."

With Leitrim, Brennan's county career was plumbing the depths in the lower reaches of inter-county football. In his day job, it's something he is used to as an underwater welder.

"It's very busy," he said of his most unusual occupation. "I put in long days but enjoy it. It doesn't tend to work well with the football as we tend to work harder in the summer when it's busy. It's hard to juggle.

"I don't know of too many county footballers doing that. I've been at it for four years."

Despite his expertise in the field, it's not something he makes a hobby of. There are good diving spots around nearby Mullaghmore, he informs us, but he doesn't have time to enjoy them.

Not with the commitment that is county football. Last year was his introduction to the scene, and he was brought in under Rory Gallagher, who of course is now in the opposing Fermanagh dressing room.

"It's only my second year and in the first one I kind of served my apprenticeship," he stated.

"Rory had a different team set-up and maybe I didn't fit the bill. Now, with Declan, I'm in."

Kinlough is on the far side of Lough Melvin, with Fermanagh's Devenish St Mary's club based on the east shore. Brennan knows all about the football tradition in Fermanagh but curiously has only come up against them in Dr McKenna Cup action.

"Fair play to Fermanagh. They set up with a system to beat Monaghan and they executed it. We can't underestimate them," he warned.

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