Jamie Brennan's three steps to Ulster glory

Jamie Brennan's three steps to Ulster glory

"It's a three step process and two of them is done now so we're back in an Ulster final; it's hard to beat."

That was the initial reaction of Donegal goalscorer Jamie Brennan as he left Kingspan Breffni Park on Saturday evening after meeting up with some of his Realt Na Mara clubmates.

There is something special about the new kid on the block in the Donegal forward line yet he remains really grounded and seems to take everything in his stride.

His development has been nothing short of phenomenal over the last couple of years. He spent a couple of difficult seasons under Rory Gallagher when he was left to forage alone up front. Sometimes he found the going tough, but he has worked really hard at his game and is now one of the top forwards in the country, with pace, power and no little skill.

Every time he gets the ball now expectation rises for Donegal supporters and his return of 1-3 on Saturday evening does not reflect the overall contribution he made all over the field.

And yet while he scored a very good goal, he was more inclined to talk about the one that got away - his effort coming back off a post with Niall Morgan beaten.

"I should have scored the second one, to be honest, but that happens. But overall I thought it was a great team performance. Michael (Murphy) was excellent and the bench made a big impact today.

"Shaun (Patton) was top class today, so he was. I think he would have been 90 or 95% kick-out rate, so reallty good," said Brennan, underlining the way he was thinking. It was all about the team rather than dwelling on his own individual contribution.

When I mentioned that his old comrade from minor days, Stephen McMenamin, had a good day at the office and also came forward to show the front boys how to fist a point, Brennan quipped:

""He's finding his feet alright. I would say he closed his eyes for that one," said Brennan.

"I'm only joking. He's a good lad, well able to take a point if he has to."

After scoring his early goal, Brennan chipped in with three great long range points (to go with the four he scored against Fermanagh). But there was much more to the Bundoran man's game as he chased and harried and was back making interceptions in his own defence.

And in doing so he shipped a number of heavy knocks which probably was the reason he was brought ashore in the final quarter with Donegal well in command.

"Ah yeah, but you expect that. You know Tyrone were going to bring an edge and it was just a matter of us trying to match that and bring a wee bit more ourselves and luckily we were on the right side of it today.

"We haven't been in the last couple of years, so that's just a bonus. But look, it was all about getting into an Ulster final and that's what the focus is on next week."

Asked if there was hurt from the defeat by Tyrone last year and that was used by Donegal, he agreed it was a factor.

"It probably did but the way the Super 8s are going too, you could meet anybody again. Hopefully we can just get to the Super 8s."

He is happy to be back in an Ulster final and feels there is plenty for Donegal to work on.

"We would be fairly happy. I think it was a very good team performance and we'll take that and try and improve. I thought we were a bit sloppy or we weren't as clinical as we could have been, you know. Going forward we didn't have the best conversion rate. We have plenty to work on," said Brennan.

With the return of Patrick McBrearty and with young Oisin Gallen also pushing for a place, Donegal are in a good place as regards quality forwards at present. And Jamie Brennan is certainly playing his part with 1-7 from play in the first two games.

Hopefully, he will complete his three step process on Sunday week in St Tiernach's Park, Clones against Cavan.