Ger Brennan says a comment by a Mayo player during a 2013 league game was one which kept him motivated that season.
Brennan is deeply religious. A taunt about his faith was one he could not disregard. The centre-back won his second All-Ireland in 2013 as Dublin beat Mayo in the final.
'I was never going to lose to Mayo that day'
"In 2013 in the league, I got put off against Mayo just before half-time," Brennan told Joe Brolly and Dion Fanning's Free State podcast.
"A certain player came up and gave me a clap on the back. He said, 'Well done, Ger, go off now and say a few prayers'.
"He is still playing. I won't tell you his name because it's not fair on him. When we beat them in the 2013 final, I made a beeline for him. I went up, shook his hand and says 'Hard luck, I'll say a few prayers for you tonight'.
"I kept that in my locker. I was delighted with that. I knew I was never going to lose to Mayo that day because I said I couldn't lose to that person, no matter what would happen.
"That comment when I was going off in the league game, I held that the whole time."
Brennan studied Theology in Maynooth and once considered going into the priesthood.
"I had too much of an eye on me at the time! That wasn't going to reconcile with the [priesthood]," he joked.
"I'd be very drawn to the liturgy of the hours which is what puts structure on an ordained person, whether in a convent or working in a diocese or working in a order.
"It's your morning prayer, your lauds, your vespers, your night compline. I have a little book of prayer from the Benedictines in Glenstal Abbey. I would have gone down there on a couple of occasions for a couple of retreats. You enter into the daily life of the monastery, which is pretty cool.
"I'm never going to impose my faith on anyone else but it just makes perfect sense to me that there is something greater going on in the world. Trying to tune out the bad noise that exists in the world to allow yourself become one or enter into a relationship with the divine, I've always felt that connection."
Brennan admits that early in his career he was quite "mouthy" on the pitch. Around 2011, he says that he began to change his approach.
"In the latter stages of my career, I rarely said anything," he said.
"I figured the silence was probably more scary than the actual mouthing. Hit lads hard with your body and dominate them as best you can."
On today’s brand new ‘Free State’, Ger Brennan and Philly McMahon on hate, courage and finding something bigger than you.
It’s an incredible conversation with Joe & Dion. We hope you enjoy.
🎧 now on all podcast platforms pic.twitter.com/Z2jqTQzihC
— Free State with Joe Brolly & Dion Fanning (@freestateirl) July 25, 2023