GAA Football

Lee Brennan has to play against Derry insists former Tyrone star Owen Mulligan

Trillick's Lee Brennan didn't get much game-time for Tyrone during the National League
Neil Loughran

FORMER Tyrone forward Owen Mulligan believes Lee Brennan should feature against Derry on Sunday – even though the Trillick forward barely featured during the National League.

Brennan has been on the fringes of the Red Hand squad, but hit the headlines last month when he scored 3-14 in his club’s victory over Strabane.

Tyrone have been criticised for not getting enough of a scoring return from their forward players, and come into Sunday’s game on the back of three consecutive League defeats.

But, according to Mulligan, Brennan could be the man to help reverse those fortunes at Celtic Park.

“Tyrone don’t lack fire power - we’ve lacked a clinical free taker that can step up and score nine times out of 10, but we might have one in Lee Brennan,” said the three time All-Ireland winner in his Paddy Power blog.

“The lad is class. There’s massive talk about him and he’s racking up scores so he must be brimming with confidence, but he barely got a sniff in the League. Surely he has to feature in some sort of capacity in the Championship? It would be crazy not to give him a run out.

“He’s an excellent free-taker, takes them from the ground, and if we’d had him on the pitch against Mayo last year, we’d have probably won.

“There’s a reason we lose those games. Lads keep missing scores, so we end up having multiple free-takers in a lot of games, which is never a good thing.

“Brennan needs to be given a chance. He’s scoring freely and I always remember Mickey Harte saying that if you’re standing out in club games, you have a great chance of starting.

“I just don’t get it.”

As the days count down to Sunday’s cross-Sperrin derby, Mulligan – who is currently based in London – claims Tyrone and Derry are no longer rivals, such has been the Oak Leafers’ decline.

He said: “When I started my Tyrone career there were few bigger games than against our neighbours Derry.

“I’m from near the border and went to school in Derry, so whenever the sides met, I’d get involved in plenty of craic with both sets of fans. The rivalry was so intense, but it no longer exists, as the Oak Leafers have fallen so far behind our lads.

“There’s a lot of politics in Derry football. You hear about it the whole time with clubs rowing and lads not wanting to play for the county. That’s not right and I don’t see how a team can compete when they’re carrying that kind of baggage.

“Back in my day, the likes of Enda Muldoon, Paddy Bradley and Sean Marty Lockhart would’ve died for the jersey. You definitely can’t say the same about the current crop.

“It was an annihilation last year and Derry looked as though they were about to apologise for being there. Crazy!

“They also looked massively, massively out of shape in that contest compared to our lads who are pure athletes. I can only see one result on Sunday and that’s a Tyrone win.”

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