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Unloved Brennan just had to leave the Tyrone panel

Kicking heels: Lee Brennan has fallen out of favour at Tyrone
Kicking heels: Lee Brennan has fallen out of favour at Tyrone
Declan Bogue

By Declan Bogue

Lee Brennan's departure from the Tyrone panel last week raised a number of considerations. When you delve deeper, it goes to the heart of the conundrum that many players on county squads experience.

In April, Brennan played five league games with his club, Trillick. County champions in 2015, they have a very strong sense of what their club is and are intensely loyal.

But then April passed and Brennan was left in the nether world of constant training for his county and no games for months on end.

For the National League, he got to play the second game against Mayo, but it was that defeat that forced Red Hands manager Mickey Harte to rethink his attack.

While many pundits who rarely attend Tyrone games believe he has changed their attacking philosophy, he simply switched around a few bodies. Those who are now playing further upfield - Cathal McShane, Matthew Donnelly and occasionally Peter Harte - are physically imposing and, as such, the ball sticks.

In recent times, Tyrone have tried Mark Bradley, Brennan and Ronan O'Neill in the inside line. Against more physical opponents, it hasn't been successful and being turned over had the double effect of turning those smaller attackers into smaller defenders.

After Harte settled on the new-look attack, Brennan didn't get another look in. Dropping off the panel was the only thing left for him to do unless he wanted to be trapped in a vortex of just existing as training ground fodder.

There is a necessity for some developing players to remain on a panel and bide their time. For example, Ben McDonnell couldn't make matchday panels last year but started in midfield against Derry.

Defender Michael Cassidy is another who has waited a considerable amount of time to claim a starter's jersey.

But attackers are different. They have a need to feel that they are not just wanted, but desperately wanted.

Confidence is an integral part of their game and crucial to the entire mental make-up of a forward who might be expected to pull off the unexpected.

But when you can't see any role for yourself, then why remain?

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