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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 31 March, 2020

Heavy workload pushing GAA stars to brink says Dublin's Ger Brennan

The defender says the constant grind of the game would only be a sacrifice to him if he was not enjoying his football.

Ger Brennan says top GAA stars are professionals in every way bar getting paid.
Ger Brennan says top GAA stars are professionals in every way bar getting paid.
Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

DUBLIN DEFENDER GER BRENNAN is gearing up for a Croke Park semi final with Kerry and, although the challenges keep coming, declares he is ready for battle.

Brennan may find himself marking Kerry talisman Colm Cooper in the All-Ireland clash on Sunday but has cautioned against setting a plan for one forward when The Kingdom boast a plethora of attacking talents.

“[Kerry] have such a strong forward-line and they’re all such skillful players that I’d say they might mix it around,” he said. “They may inter-change which they’ve done before as well, so we’ll just prepare for every eventuality as best as possible. But we won’t get overly caught up with them either.”

Brennan told about the evolution of the modern, which now sees players switch positions and on-field responsibilities with ease. As a defender, the Dubliner explains, he must be equally adaptable.

As he discusses the other changes in modern GAA, Brennan happens upon the word ‘resources’ when talking about players.

He expanded on the theme: “The workload involved in senior inter-county hurling and football has really come on over the last 10, 15 years. We’re professional in every way bar getting paid. I think most players would agree with that.

It has changed since I’ve started. The depth of analysis, the focus on athletic development, and so on, has really grown. I remember playing under Pillar [former Dublin boss Paul Caffrey] and there was certainly weights and analysis but it’s just come up a few notches since. You might say it’s gone from Ordinary Level to Higher Level. I don’t know where it goes from here. I don’t think it can go any further from here.”

Down-time for top GAA players is now a matter of weeks, rather than months, and Brennan admits the relentless nature of the game can lead to ‘mental lows’. He faced challenges to break into the Dublin side when Caffrey was in charge but believes all of his sacrifices have been worthwhile. Four Leinster titles, an All-Ireland winners’ medal and the knowledge he is a senior member of the Dublin squad back up Brennan’s position.

“I think it’s to do with your mindset,” added the St Vincent’s clubman. “If you’re enjoying it, it’s not a sacrifice at all. It’s something that gives meaning to your life.”

- Additional reporting by Fintan O’Toole

Dear Dublin fans, please get to Sunday’s match on time. Love, the GAA

Will there ever be a better score in a match between Dublin and Kerry?

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About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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