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Clare footballers travel 500km inside 24 hours to represent club and county

Gary Brennan and Pearse Lillis have had a busier weekend than most.

Source: INPHO

A FEW CLARE and Ballyea players won’t have had too many weekends busier than this one.

Gary Brennan and Pearse Lillis played key roles as Ballyea sealed a maiden All-Ireland club hurling final appearance on St Patrick’s Day with a narrow two-point win over St Thomas in Semple Stadium on Saturday night.

That game began at 5pm and by 2pm on Sunday both men were in Celtic Park, Derry as Clare opened their Division 2 league campaign against the Oak Leafers.

Brennan, incredibly, played two full-games, while Lillis played the full 70 minutes against St Thomas and was an unused substitute for the clash against Derry.

Brennan’s brother Shane also made the mammoth journey to line out at wing-forward for the Clare senior footballers after being an unused substitute on the Ballyea team.

The players were driven up to Derry from Thurles by Clare boss Colm Collins’s brother Gerry.

Gary Brennan is tackled by Shane Cooney Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

If that wasn’t enough GAA activity for one weekend, Brennan was also part of the St Flannan’s management team for Saturday’s Corn Uí Mhuirí semi-final loss to St Brendan’s (Killlarney), a game that began in Rathkeale at 12pm.

Brennan, who’ll be back in Ennis on Monday morning teaching in St Flannan’s school, downplayed his remarkable achievement after the 0-11 to 1-8 draw with Derry.

“I really wasn’t involved as I would have wanted to be on Saturday – I felt I wasn’t up to the pitch and the intensity of the game,” Brennan told RTÉ Sport.

“I felt good coming in today, there were no excuses, and it doesn’t feel so great now – it feels like a loss, actually. We had gotten ourselves into a good winning position and let it slip again.

“A lot of teams have come to Derry and gotten nothing so we’re going back down the road with a point so we’ll take that and get ready for Down next weekend.

“Derry at home were always going to fight to the very end and we knew that, but our shape went and we didn’t attack them as we would have wanted. I think 1-2 was all we got in the second half, three scores, and we would have hoped to do better than that.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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