*Gary Brennan. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

ONE OF CLARE’s greatest footballers is now part of the backroom team with the county’s senior hurlers.

Gary Brennan was among the new additions to Brian Lohan’s backroom team this year with the St Flannan’s College Irish and PE teacher part of the set-up during the 2023 Allianz National Hurling League.

Brennan who holds a masters degree in performance coaching from Setanta College is operating as a performance coach with the senior hurlers.

As one of the county’s top sportsmen, Gary who lined out for Ireland twice in the International Rules series is held in very high esteem by the entire panel. It is understood that his is a minor role but the former Clare captain has impressed in all of his dealings with members of the county squad.

Though noted as a footballer, Brennan has been one of the top club hurlers in the county over the past decade. He has played a very influential role in Ballyea securing four Clare SHC titles since 2016 and memorably scored an excellent goal in their comeback against Thurles Sarsfields in a season where they were crowned Munster club champions.

In the years prior to his inter-county retirement at the end of the 2020 season, the 2016 All Star nominee had been understood to have been approached by different Clare senior hurling managers to swap codes.

While Brennan may be the most high-profile addition to the backroom team, there are other new faces behind the scenes with Lohan’s set-up.

The Hanley brothers, Colm and Eoghan are now involved in the video analysis and statistics side of the house. The Drumline natives were in charge of the Clare camogie team crowned All-Ireland Junior Champions in 2008 and have previously managed senior hurling teams in Wolfe Tones and Ahane.

Eoghan who is a teacher in Gort Community School and is the National Coordinator of the GAA/PDST Future Leaders Programme, a role to which he was seconded for two years. He has also begun working with the UCD School of Education as a lecturer and supervisor on their PME Programme. He also worked in France with French Ligue 2 football team En Avant de Guingamp.

An English and History teacher in Coláiste Chiaráin, Croom, Colm qualified as a golf teaching professional in 2014. He has completed a Master’s Educational Leadership and Management and during his time at St Caimin’s Community School led the school during a golden period for camogie success which included winning Senior A provincial titles.

Whitegate senior hurler, Colm Madden is another of the new faces with a matchday role in the stats team. An English and History teacher in Gort Community school, he is also the Connacht Coordinator of the GAA/PDST Future Leaders Programme and is currently completing a PhD in history.

Niall Woods who was part of the All-Ireland winning U21 hurling panels a decade ago is also among those with a matchday role. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native served as sub goalkeeper on the victorious U21 sides managed by Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor in 2012 and 2013, having previously won Munster minor medals in 2010 and 2011.

Ex Clare hurler, Daithí O’Connell is no longer part of Lohan’s stats team but his Wolfe Tones clubmate Dermot O’Donnell who has been involved since the Shannon man was appointed manager remains a key figure alongside performance analyst Shane Lorigan.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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