Clare senior football captain, Gary Brennan, will become just the fourth man from the county to represent Ireland in the International Rules series, when he lines out against Australia in Croke Park on Saturday week.
The Clondegad clubman, who teaches at St Flannan’s College in Ennis, has been selected on Joe Kernan’s 23-man panel for the one-off test.
Kilkee’s Noel Roche was the first Clare man to represent Ireland in the series in the 1980s, while Martin Daly (1998) and Odran O’Dwyer (2003) have also represented the country.
Speaking to The Clare Champion on Wednesday, Gary Brennan said he has been helped by many people in his development as a footballer.
“I’m delighted but I’m very conscious I wouldn’t be in this position only for my family, all of my football and hurling club mates and my county team mates.
“This comes from training all year with the county, playing at a particular standard and being fortunate enough to go back to two clubs who are training and playing at a high standard as well.
“I owe a lot to the guys around me and to all my coaches from underage, all the way up along. I’m very grateful to all of them,” he acknowledged.
“I’ve been to Dublin for the last six weekends, playing a trial game on the Friday night and training on the Saturday morning. When we went out of the club championship, I would have been disappointed with my performances in those games.
“As soon as we went out of the club, I turned my attention to this and luckily enough it has ended up with me getting a chance. I feel I owe something to my club mates after those games, so it’s nice to do something to try and put that right,” the soon to be international footballer added.
Noel Roche played in four series in 1984, 1986, 1987 and 1990. The 1992 Munster championship winner told The Clare Champion that he was delighted but not surprised to hear that Gary Brennan had been selected to play.
“It would seem to me that with his physique and athleticism he has everything that you would look for in the International Rules. I don’t see it as any surprise that he has made it,” Roche said, adding that the Bernard Brogan-captained panel is particularly strong.
“There seems to be a big spread of players from all over the country. Some years you mightn’t have too much interest in it but all the top players seem to be available this year,” Roche noted.
Clarecastle’s Pat Kelly and Tulla’s David McInerney have been named on the Irish panel for the Shinty International, which will take place before the International Rules game at Croke Park.