The Ryan Brennan Interview

Ryan Brennan is the youngest of three brothers to play in the League of Ireland. Eldest brother Killian plays for Bohemians while Seán (ex-Drogheda) lines out for Monaghan United.

Their dad Eddie was also an outstanding player with Boyne Rovers and Northside Blues. The Drogheda native has had a hectic schedule in April, starting his first game for the Drogs in the 2-2 draw with Sligo Rovers and in the same week making his international debut for Ireland’s U-19s against Poland in Tolka Park.

Who has been the biggest influence in your career so far?
Everyone in the family has been very supportive the whole way. My mam and dad have been brilliant and go to most of the games, while Killian and Seán give me great advice. My other brother Gavin plays for Drogheda Town and my sister Sarah is also mad into football.

Your dad was a brilliant right winger in his day
I only remember him playing the once when he scored a cracker for Northside Blues in the old Lourdes Stadium but my mam (Annette) wasn’t too bad either! She played a lot of football as a kid in Ballsgrove!

You played the whole way up with Drogheda Boys
That’s right. I started at six and played with them until I was 16 before moving on to the youths at Drogheda United in 2007. I played my first game for the club in the Milk Cup that year.

Did you play much on the street growing up?
All of us played on the street in Marley’s Court. It was football, all day every day!

What managers were the biggest influence on you at Drogheda Boys?
I had a lot of good coaches there but I’d single out Lennie Healy and Bunner Murphy as being the best. We won two leagues in the DDSL in Dublin in the three years with them (U-13s to U-16s).

You’ve made fantastic progress with the ‘A’ team (Reserves)
I’d put that down to the coaching of Darius Kierans. He has a great belief in young players and gets me to do things I never thought I’d be able to do. Another player breaking through to the first team this week was Colm Smyth (from Trim) who had a great debut against UCD on Monday night. Alan Matthews and the whole squad have been very good to me. I’m just delighted to be given the chance to prove myself at a higher level.

You had a great game against Sligo on your home debut
I was happy with my overall performance and got great encouragement from the local fans. I got plenty of the ball and should have scored in the first 10 minutes. I got called in when Brendan McGill pulled up in the warm up.

Which position do you prefer to play in?
I prefer centre-mid and if I’m up-front I’m happiest on the right side but I’d play anywhere!

You played really well with Ireland against Poland setting up two goals, one of which you could have scored yourself!
Yes I was pleased the way things worked out. I got to come on in both games playing the second half of the first game and coming on for the last 15 minutes in the second. Hopefully I’m in with a chance of another call-up for the next games in May (v England , Ukraine & Bosnia) but there is serious competition for places. I’ll have to keep playing well to have any chance!

Where did you go to school in Drogheda?
I went to St. Paul’s Rathmullen and St. Oliver’s Community College. Tony O’Callaghan and Paul O’Neill were excellent coaches at Ollie’s. We had a good team with a lot of good players.

It can’t be easy being so disciplined through the teenage years with so many distractions nowadays?
I like to think that I have a good attitude overall and I try to be positive, keep my head down and work hard.

You’re on the FAI’s FÁS Football Course in Cabra with ex- Drogs manager Harry McCue. How’s it going for you?
Yeah it’s going great and has made a huge difference to my overall fitness. It’s a great qualification to fall back on as it includes all the FAI’s coaching courses like the Kickstart 1 & 2, The Youth Cert, Gym Instructor/Fitness Training etc. Chris Kerr and William Woods are two others from the club doing the course.

What kind of interests do you have outside of football?
I like a game of snooker and play an odd game of pitch and putt but I’m not the Georgie at it!

Where would you like to see yourself in two years time?
It’s always been my ambition to play in England. I’d love to give it a go over there.