Tyrone’s Lee Brennan tipped as one of top 16 to follow in 2016
The annual “Top 16 Footballers to watch in 2016” in the Irish Independent from Colm Keys has once again stirred up thoughts as to what might lie ahead for counties in the season ahead.
Twelve months ago Dungannon’s Padraig McNulty made the list, in a season in which Tyrone GAA experienced considerable progress throughout the campaign. That run of form from the O’Neill County saw a solid number of displays in the National league, despite culminating with a drop to Division Two, before a brilliant run through the qualifiers led to an All Ireland semi final spot against the Kingdom. #tyrone #tyronelife #tyronegaa
In the end Tyrone suffered an agonising defeat against the “then” reigning All Ireland champions, but it was a display etched with the very bright future of a new re-emerging Tyrone force. Coupled with an All Ireland Under 21 championship success earlier in 2015, and the call-up of many of that All Ireland winning side to the senior ranks at the end of 2015, and many are tipping Tyrone again to make a bold showing in the year ahead.
For now back to the “Top 16 Footballers to watch in 2016” feature in the Indo and it is Tyrone’s high class forward from the Trillick club, Lee Brennan, who has caught the eye of the writer. Brennan was superb in the County’s All Ireland under 21 run and again for Trillick as they bridged an immense gap to get back to the pinnacle of club football in Tyrone last October.
He has since turned in eye-catching displays for Tyrone in the O’Fiach Cup and McKenna Cup, the latter which continues this evening and a tie against Antrim in Healy Park, Omagh. First of all this is what Keys had to say about the Tyrone sharpshooter…
Lee Brennan (Tyrone) – Plenty of talented Tyrone underage forwards have failed to deliver on their potential but Brennan’s improvement through last year’s U-21 championship was noticeable, a campaign he didn’t start in but finished with 0-19. Sure to make his mark with Mickey Harte this year.
Brennan is unquestionably a player who many believe will shine in the Tyrone colours in what is hoped could be a big year. Last weekend’s victory against Derry in Owenbeg, which saw almost 5,000 spectators in attendance, was the first of three big ties between the counties in 2016 and this particular one from a Tyrone perspective was laced with character, following a comeback from nine points down. #tyrone #tyronelife #tyronegaa
Indeed it was Brennan’s club colleague, Richie Donnelly, who made the greatest impact with a man of the match display, while a host of other young guns continue to impress. Mickey Harte has again made wholesale changes for the last of the round-robin games in the McKenna Cup as Tyrone take on Antrim tonight in Omagh, with a semi final place in the competition virtually assured as the five-in-a-row bid continues.
Lee Brennan is named in the full forward line with Padraig McNuly in the full forward role and Omagh’s Ronan O’Neill on the left. Overall it is difficult not to be feeling optimistic at present in Tyrone and, while it remains early days for sure, there is a general feeling that another quality group of players are emerging alongside many of the established names. A big challenge in Division Two of the league will tell much of what is to come possibly, with five Ulster Counties set to compete in that grade.
There are many names being pinpointed to put in a big year in the county jersey for the Tyrone seniors and there are a few more we feel will certainly be ready to step up to the mark in a big way. #tyrone #tyronelife #tyronegaa
In addition to Lee Brennan in the Tyrone attack, three other Tyrone young guns could well deliver big campaigns in the Tyrone ranks. Carrickmore’s Johnny Munroe has been impressing and the son of former county star, Raymond, is a highly versatile player who could figure strongly. That versatility has been shown with a place in both the full forward line and full back line already in 2016 while last year’s Tyrone Under 21 captain, Kieran McGeary is a hugely industrious player who is also being tipped to make the step-up successfully. McGeary’s hard-working displays in the under 21 ranks in 2015 had a huge impact in the destination of the All Ireland title in that grade and he is a player who looks ready made to fit into the Mickey Harte style of play. #tyrone #tyronelife #tyronegaa
Coalisland’s Padraig Hampsey is another who could establish himself very well indeed in the Tyrone rearguard. A high quality full-back in the under 21 squad he has already shown he could do a very solid job there for the O’Neill County in 2016.
Killyclogher’s Mark Bradley and Trillick’s Rory Brennan already made their mark in the senior team last term and again we can expect to see a lot more from the gifted duo in 2016. #tyrone #tyronelife #tyronegaa
Mickey Harte has delivered a maiden All Ireland win for Tyrone in 2003 and had two further Sam Maguire Cup success in 2005 and 2008. It may be early days and while we can certainly continue to enjoy the progress in both the McKenna Cup and upcoming National League campaign, a new ray of hope is without doubt falling very much over the Red Hand County at present…
CLICK HERE to read the full article “16 Footballers to follow in 2016” on Irish Independent
Tyrone team to face Antrim in Healy Park, Omagh, in the Dr. McKenna Cup on Wednesday 13th January 2016:
1 – Niall Morgan – Éadan na dTorc
2 – Aidan McCrory – Aireagal Chiaráin
3 – Cathal McCarron – An Droim Mhór
4 – Hugh Pat McGeary – Cabhán a’Chaortainn
5 – Barry Tierney – An Omaigh
6 – Justin McMahon – An Omaigh
7 – Peter Harte – Aireagal Chiaráin
8 – Harry Og Conlon – Éadan na dTorc
9 – Conor Clarke – An Omaigh
10 – Mattie Donnelly – Trí Leac
11 – Mark Bradley – Coill an Chlochair
12 – Cathal McShane – E R Uí Néill
13 – Lee Brennan – Trí Leac
14 – Padraig McNulty – Dún Geanainn
15 – Ronan O’Neill – An Omaigh
16 – Michael O’Neill – Cluain Eo
17 – Sean Cavanagh – An Mhaigh
18 – Richard Donnelly – Trí Leac
19 – Pádraig Hampsey – Oileán a’Ghuail
20 – Connor McAliskey – Cluain Eo
21 – Darren McCurry – Éadan na dTorc
22 – Kieran McGeary – Cabhán a’Chaortainn
23 – David Mulgrew – Ard Bó
24 – Jonathan Monroe – An Charraig Mhór
25 – Niall Sludden – An Droim Mhór
26 – Patrick Quinn – Dún Geanainn