Fast Eddie bows out at the top
Kilkenny manager Brian Cody and Eddie Brennan celebrate last September’s All-Ireland final win against Tipperary. Photo: Ray McManus /Sportsfile.
By Sam Matthews
Kilkenny hurling star Eddie Brennan this week announced his retirement from hurling, after more than a decade of playing at the highest level.
Over the years, the 33-year-old Graigue–Ballycallan man amassed a sizeable haul of awards, including eight All-Ireland medals, five National Hurling League medals, ten Leinster Senior Hurling and four All-Star awards.
Having made his championship debut in 2000, Brennan’s electric pace earned him the nickname ‘Fast Eddie’. He quickly made the left corner forward spot his own, with a number of highly memorable showings over the years – including a Man of the Match performance against Limerick in the 2007 All-Ireland final.
There was speculation in 2010 that he might retire at 32 years of age, when Kilkenny failed in their five-in-a-row attempt. While deployed as an impact sub for much of last year, he won back his starting place in the team that deposed Tipperary in last September’s epic All-Ireland final victory.
In the end, his presence during that match proved invaluable, with the beleaguered Tipp defence unable to cope with his pace. Brennan’s electric run through midfield in the 49th minute, putting Richie Hogan through on goal, was a decisive point in the game.
The first player into the post-match press conference, he scampered in barefoot and grinning from ear to ear.
“Come here, Eddie. I’ll pick you again,” was how Brian Cody greeted him, offering him a chair.
Unfortunately, that will never happen now. But that final championship appearance meant a lot to him.
“Down the years, until I saw my name on that teamsheet, I couldn’t relax,” he recalled.
“But you cherish that. You don’t lose sight of the privilege that it is to start.”
His privilege, and ours also.