Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Michael Scully

Boynesider Ryan Brennan enjoys the 'fuel and fire' of taking on Dundalk

As a dyed in the wool Drogheda man, Ryan Brennan says that facing Dundalk "gives you fuel in your belly".

He made his Drogheda debut as an 18-year-old against their bitter county Louth rivals in March 2010.

Nine months later he came close to joining the Lilywhites when his former underage coach at Drogheda, Darius Kierans, was at Oriel Park.

READ MORE: Danny Mandriou move to Lincoln confirmed as Dara McGuinness joins Stoke

"I did most of the pre-season with them," recalled Brennan. "I could have signed for Dundalk, gone back to Drogheda or gone to Monaghan.

"It wasn't because I was a Drogheda lad that I didn't go to Dundalk.

"My brother (Sean) was at Monaghan, that's what pushed me over the line. Luckily enough the club had a special year, winning promotion."

Despite what happened next for Dundalk under Stephen Kenny - that is, multiple League and Cup successes and qualification for the Europa League group stages - Brennan has no regrets as he speaks ahead of tonight's derby at Head In The Game Park (7.45pm).

"A lot of people said that Darius was a saviour for keeping them up," he reflected.

"Then they were having those European nights within a couple of years, especially in the Stephen Kenny era they came on leaps and bounds.

"But I've no regrets about not going there. To be honest, Dundalk have been a treasure to LOI football with their success in Europe."

Brennan is in his third spell with his home-town team, having re-joined the Boynesiders at the start of the season. Tonight's game is another encounter with the enemy to savour.

"We all know the stick that the Dundalk fans have given me and my brothers (Sean and Killian) over the years," he smiled.

"That's all part of the rivalry here, it's all taken in good spirit. It's always good to have that rivalry, it adds fuel and fire to the anticipation around the town in the days before the game, 100%.

"But I don't go out any differently against Dundalk. Yeah, they give you fuel in your belly when they're singing songs about you, but really it's all banter."

Dundalk are unbeaten in 10 games in a run that includes a 4-1 victory over Drogheda in April.

Kevin Doherty's Boynesiders, meanwhile, had a five-game unbeaten run that included a win over table-toppers Shamrock Rovers halted by St Pat's 3-0 triumph last week, but they are 10 points clear of the relegation play-off spot at present.

"Everything's good," stressed Brennan, whose return was disrupted by injury at the start of the year.

"It wasn't our night against Pat's but the fans will get behind us for this big game and we're looking to stop Dundalk's massive run that they're on.

"We have a strong group here, we're a decent side and know what we're about. It's about sticking to our game plan.

"Kev had to do a rebuilding job when he took over after losing a few key players but he brought good players in.

"We've a really young squad with some older lads like myself chipping in, there are five of us over 30.

"We're starting to gel a bit now after dealing with injuries and suspensions.

"We're looking up the table, seeing if we can climb onto the coat-tails of those above us and I think we can achieve that."


Get the latest sports headlines straight to your inbox by signing up for free email alerts

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.