Gary Brennan brushed off praise for the commitment that saw him play two games and travel more than 500k in less than 24 hours.

First on Saturday evening Brennan was part of the Ballyea side that beat St Thomas in the All-Ireland Club Senior Hurling Championship semi-final on Thurles.

That game threw in at 5.0pm and then at 2.0pm on Sunday he was in Celtic Park, Derry, for Clare’s opening Allianz Football League Division 2 game against the Oak Leaf County.

He started and finished both games - that’s more than 130 minutes of competitive action. And he’ll be back in work teaching in St Flannan’s Ennis on Monday morning.

Derry didn’t have any of their Slaughtneil players, as they prepare for their All-Ireland club hurling and football semi-final double date. Brennan played football as Clare were so keen to get life in Division two off to a winning start.

And they nearly did, leading deep into injury time only for James Kielt to score late and earn Derry a 0-11 to 1-8 draw.

“I really wasn’t involved as I would have wanted to be on Saturday – I felt I wasn’t up to the pitch and the intensity of the game,” said Brennan modestly, speaking to RTÉ Sport.

“I felt good coming in today, there were no excuses, and it doesn’t feel so great now – it feels like a loss, actually. We had gotten ourselves into a good winning position and let it slip again.

“A lot of teams have come to Derry and gotten nothing so we’re going back down the road with a point so we’ll take that and get ready for Down next weekend.

“Derry at home were always going to fight to the very end and we knew that, but our shape went and we didn’t attack them as we would have wanted. I think 1-2 was all we got in the second half, three scores, and we would have hoped to do better than that.”

Gary Brennan (l) in action for Ballyea against St Thomas on Saturday night

Clare take on Down, who lost heavily to Fermanagh on Saturday night, next weekend in Ennis and it remains to be seen whether Brennan is available for that one.

With Ballyea’s All-Ireland final against either Slaughtneil or Cuala of Dublin he could be forgiven for taking a break from inter-county action until after St Patrick’s Day.

But with a player as committed as 27-year-old Brennan, it would be no surprise to see him playing against the Mourne County at Cusack Park.

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