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'It was just a real tense atmosphere. That was the one time, I said, 'God I'd love to be playing''

Kilkenny All-Ireland winning forward Eddie Brennan is this week’s guest on the Warriors podcast.

Fans watch on during the 2013 qualifier clash in Nowlan Park.
Fans watch on during the 2013 qualifier clash in Nowlan Park.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

A KEY MEMBER on one of the greatest hurling sides of all time was our guest this week on Warriors as Kilkenny’s Eddie Brennan was in the spotlight.

The current Laois hurling boss won eight All-Ireland senior medals during his time with the Cats and he talked about his three favourite games from his career in the latest episode of Warriors, the GAA podcast for members of The42.

The four-time All-Star winner picked a couple of epic clashes between Kilkenny and Tipperary as his standout memories.

One of those was as a fan for the 2013 qualifier showdown in Nowlan Park as Brennan adjusted to life in retirement.

“I didn’t miss it up to that point but definitely 2013 when Tipperary came to Nowlan Park on a Saturday night in the middle of a heatwave. I remember coming in with my wife and her father, who are obviously from Tipp, and we went in around Kilkenny and into a local pub beforehand, we had a couple of drinks and just soaked up the atmosphere.

“It was just something I hadn’t experienced in a long, long time, just going to a match, enjoying the build up as a supporter and the bit of banter that was going on in the streets around Kilkenny and then go up to the match. It was just a real tense atmosphere. That was the one time, I said, ‘God I’d love to be playing’.”

He talked about how the rivalry between the counties carried a personal significance.

eddie-brennan-tackled-by-conor-omahony Eddie Brennan in action for Kilkenny against Tipperary's Conor O'Mahony in the 2011 All-Ireland final. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“Where I live anyway, Ballingarry and Killenaule would be our neighbours, so there’s always that bit of banter. I remember ’91, there would have been a bit of craic and sneering going on at the local creamery where a lot of the Ballingarry lads would come down.

“Obviously then, you had the outlaws as we’ll call them are from Tipperary, and even better again down in Portroe. My father-in-law is Liam Sheedy’s first cousin. There was that added layer to it that just created a great old buzz. I’d have to say from my perspective, it was always amicable, it was always healthy, good-natured. Even my time going up and down to Portroe, there was never anything hostile. That’s the way a rivalry should be.”

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Brennan also recalled the 2009 league final in Thurles when Kilkenny won after extra-time, a game that signalled Tipperary were an emerging force.

eddie-brennan-and-padraic-maher Eddie Brennan in action for Kilkenny against Tipperary in the 2009 league final Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

“Definitely, I think they had a lot of guys fresh in off the two minor victories, I think Liam (Sheedy) had been involved with the Tipp minors. Padraic Maher, Brendan Maher, lads like that coming through the ranks, Noel McGrath. They had a lot of talent coming through. That day was a huge test. It was a statement of intent, maybe from Liam’s perspective an endorsement that I have a group of lads here that are going to go places.”

Eddie also talked about how much the 2018 club victory in an intermediate final with Graigue-Ballycallan meant to him and how much he admired Cork’s successful 1990 hurling side growing up, particularly their star attacker John Fitzgibbon.

Listen to the full interview by subscribing here and check out the back catalogue featuring episodes with Declan Browne, Ken McGrath, Briege Corkery, Sean McMahon and Alan Kerins.

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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